Tag Archives: Our Father

Praying With the Son

“Praying With the Son”
A reflection on Luke 11:1-4 and Romans 8:14-17
Wednesday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

Luke 11:1-4

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8:14-17

Christ is the “firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29) who, by taking flesh, makes the children of God co-heirs of the kingdom. As Jesus’ entire person and mission are oriented toward the Father, learning to pray “Our Father” and “Abba!” are essential steps toward discovering our identity as children of God. 

Related post: 

Our Father Prayer

Water and Word

Eucharistic Bread and Fish (Roman Catacombs)

First Week of Lent, Tuesday

Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 4:4b; Matthew 6:7-15 

Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11

The living word of God waters the earth and awakens seeds, gives bread to the hungry and manna to the spirit. The word proceeding from the mouth of God is “sharper than any two-edged sword,” able to create and recreate the world (Hebrews 4:12). The Voice that spoke light and life into being with a word sent forth his Word to divinize the earth.

The Word of God uncoiled the serpent with a word:

One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4b

In the midst of temptation, Jesus taught us to turn to our Father:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father provides daily bread for the body, mind, soul and spirit. Nourished by his Word, may we become words in the Word and bread for others by our mercy. 

Another Forty Syllables for the Forty Days of Lent:

Water from Heaven breaks and opens seeds…
Our Father speaks and from his mouth proceeds
Returning Son, crushed wheat of Calvary,
Divine Bread and seed-bearing Energy.

-GMC

Praying to the Father

27th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday (Year II)

Luke 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. 

Praying “Abba, Father!” to the Almighty God in the intimate manner of beloved children was unprecedented in the history of Israel (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). The distant God of Mount Sinai and the Jerusalem Temple sent his Son into the world to show us his face: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus wanted us to walk in familiarity, trust, and confidence with the Father just as he did throughout his earthy life.

Jesus, who is the Head of his Body, the Church, is completely ad Patrem (“toward the Father”). In his deepest mystery, the Father is the source of his only-begotten Son and our source.

In contemplating the Father as the “source,” “principle,” or “origin” of the Son, all concepts of time and space fall away. His being is not from another but from himself.The Son is eternally generated from the Father in an ineffable manner without passion or a co-principle.

Language bumps into a wall on every side as it gropes in the dark for words to describe the Father as an eternal “principle” (Latin Fathers) or “cause” (Greek Fathers) and the Son as eternally begotten or generated. All of our words derive from a world of change and becoming, yet the imperfection of mutability must be denied of God. The Father is the uncaused cause or principle without principle, and yet the Son and the Spirit are mutually eternal and immutable as God.

When we turn to God as Father, we address a divine person who is the source of all persons, being, and the cosmos. “Thy will be done” ultimately returns to the Father through Jesus Christ, a person to person union and communion.

The absolute principle of the universe is neither solitary nor impersonal. Christ’s revelation of the Father is truly unique in unveiling the personal dimension of ultimate reality. 

Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”

Like children, we open our empty hands to receive our daily sustenance from God the Father. Forgiveness is constantly pouring out from the Father of mercy. We align ourselves to his merciful heart when we pray, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Walking in the grace and synergy of the Holy Spirit, may we never swerve from the path of life. 

-GMC

1 St. John of Damascus, The Orthodox Faith, Book I, chapter 8 and St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Prima Pars, question 33, article 1. 

Hail Mary

 

Praying the Hail Mary, we ask Mary the Mother of Jesus to lead us to God.  The prayer’s earliest form  developed  in the middle ages with the simple greeting of the angel Gabriel at Nazareth, from St. Luke’s gospel:


Hail Mary,
full of grace,
the Lord is with you.

You are favored by God, the angel announces to her. She brought Jesus Christ into the world. That message continues through the ages and is reflected in us.  Like her, we are favored by God and called to bring God’s Son into the world.  God’s promise of grace to Mary echoes in God’s promise to us. As  promised  to Mary, God will be with us.

Over time her cousin Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary, also recorded in St. Luke, was added to the prayer:
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Finally by the 15th century, the remainder of the prayer appeared:
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.

The prayer asks Mary, full of the grace of her Son, to intercede for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. She is a model for believers and she knows what it means to believe. She who knew her Son so well, can teach us  the way to him.

On Calvary Jesus entrusted her to us as a mother when he said to his disciple “Behold your mother.” Ever since, she brings Christ into this world. She knew Jesus from the beginning and witnessed his life, death and resurrection. She helps us to know him. She also knows our needs. Aware of  the needs of the newly married couple at Cana in Galilee, she approached Jesus, her Son. She is aware of our needs too.

By the end of the 16th century the practice of saying 150 Hail Marys in series or decades of 10 became popular among many ordinary Christians. Helped by her they remembered  the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. That practice of prayer is known now as the Rosary.

Mary is a model of faith for Christians. When the angel Gabriel came to her, she believed the words he spoke even to the dark test of Calvary. She helps the family of believers on their journey to believe..

The Hail Mary and the Rosary are blessed prayers,  simple and profound. They’re not beyond anyone’s reach; their repetition brings peace to the soul. They draw us into  the joys, sorrows and glory of Jesus, the world Mary knows so well.  We hope to “imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen”

We will be celebrating the Feast of the Assumption of Mary this month..

Morning Thoughts: The Prayer of Milk and Honey


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Then the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders, and brought us to this place, and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

—Deuteronomy 26:8-9


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Last fall we went apple picking. We were a small party, composed of immediate family. It was a beautiful crisp day, just the kind you would order for such an excursion.

On our rounds we passed an old wood wagon, behind it and off a bit in the distance lay the remains of an abandoned stone farmhouse—roofless, hollowed out, its fireplaces and chimneys still the main draw. But is was a tiny hand-painted sign on the wagon right before me that most caught my attention:

“Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water.”

I don’t know if it’s true or not, and I’m not going to spend much time investigating. I like the thought. That’s what matters. So I’m going to keep it, well not keep it, but steward it. Yes, ‘steward’ is a much better word:

Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

(1 Corinthians 4:1)

So often an internet search can do quite the opposite. It can make us into investigators, examiners, maybe even mean-spirited inquisitors. It can turn us into lots of things, other than stewards.

Such an investigative approach also often opens the door to outright skepticism. It may even lead us into intellectual scrupulosity. And all scrupulosity, no matter its form or make up, steals joy. And that we just cannot allow.

On the other hand, we also have to be responsible. We can’t just “believe everything we hear and read”, right?

So what is one to do with such a pickle?

Well, a good steward should look to his master for advice, after all it’s his property we are called to steward on his behalf:

Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

(1 Corinthians 4:2)

So there we have it. We must be stewards of God’s mysteries, and as stewards we must be found trustworthy.

Sounds straight forward enough. Tough to do though.

Perhaps this can help.

Let’s go step by step, at our Savior’s command:

———

First, let us become more aware of the very mystery that is put into our care:

Our Father, who art in heaven…

Let us next adore what we do not understand:

hallowed be thy name;

Let us then accept the great gift of responsibility, handed over to each one of us daily:

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

What happens next seems logical enough, we have to ask for help:

Give us this day our daily bread,

And with that, we address the inevitable—for even if we possess only a morsel of humility—we all know that disobedience on our part is bound to occur:

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

Now, having about all we need to proceed, it’s a very good idea to remind ourselves of an eternal reality: That the master is ultimately in control and oversees us closely—rooting us on to accomplish what he wills for us to achieve, all in his very name:

and lead us not into temptation,

But just in case we fail to avoid the snares and traps hidden in plain and disordered sight—especially from falling into the false belief that the “possessions” placed into our care are actually our own—we plead with great desperation, like Saint Peter and all true disciples who think they’ve become lost, that we don’t completely sink into the waters of darkness when our faith begins to falter:

but deliver us from evil.

And together we say:

Yes. I accept. I believe. I agree.

So be it.

(or in other words:)

AMEN.

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Now, if I can only find some raw milk for breakfast…


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Look down, then, from heaven, your holy abode, and bless your people Israel and the fields you have given us, as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.

—Deuteronomy 26:15


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—Howard Hain

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Sunday at the Mission

At our mission tonight at St. Theresa in Woodside, New York, I’ll continue reflecting on the gift of prayer.

We all have the gift of prayer. We can pray. God gives that gift to saints and sinners alike, though we may tend to think only saints and “good” people can pray. But that gift is given to all, because God is Father of saints and sinner alike. Prayer is a gift of God’s mercy.

Prayer is a gift given to all; it’s meant to be used continually. Like the gift of faith growing  like a mustard seed, the gift of prayer is meant to grow.

We’re reading all this year at Mass from Luke’s Gospel, which is called a gospel of prayer. It’s called that because the evangelist offers many examples and teachings of Jesus on prayer. Now, at this point in the  liturgical year especially, our readings at Mass seem to be devoted to prayer.

Last week, for example, we heard the desperate prayer of the ten lepers: “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” Today we heard the parable about the widow and the unjust judge. Next week, we’ll hear the humble, almost hesitant prayer of the publican: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Later on in Luke’s gospel, when Jesus dies and enters his glory, we’ll hear the cry of the thief: “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” All these readings tell us God gives the gift of prayer to everyone, the sinner, the desperate, everyone.

Yet, prayer tries our patience. Like the poor widow facing the powerful unjust judge, whom we read about this Sunday, we may not see our prayers answered quickly. We can then grow weary praying. In his parable Jesus says our prayers are answered “speedily,” yet we have trouble understanding that word “speedily.” It doesn’t match our timetable or our expectations. We don’t like waiting.

We also can make prayer too small and limit it to things entirely personal. Today, some would reduce prayer and meditation to ways to gain inner balance or to bring your blood pressure down. Prayer is bigger than that. It’s asking for “God’s kingdom to come, God’s will be done.” Prayer is meant to  open us to new horizons, new undertakings, to see the world with the eyes of Christ.

Far from leading us away from the world, we are led in prayer to face a world crippled by violence and strife. Only God can help us. Please Lord, come and assist us.

I’m going to pose some questions to those here at the mission:

What prayers are you attracted to?

Are there any places that lead you to prayer?

Any trying times in your life that you found yourself praying?

Then I’m going to reflect on some of our common prayers, like the Sign of the Cross and the Our Father. After that, we will have Benediction.

 

17th Sunday C: Are Prayers Answered?

Audio version of homily here:

Two wonderful readings in today’s Mass for the 17th Sunday of the Year. (Genesis 18,20-32,Luke 11, 1–13)

The Genesis story says that God came down to stand with Abraham before two notorious cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, that stood near the Dead Sea. Should these places be destroyed? God comes down and looks at these evil cities with Abraham at his side.

Not a pretty picture, the two cities where corruption and evil of every kind have taken hold. We might imagine seeing the same picture in some places we know today.

But Abraham speaks up for them, and how familiarly he speaks to God! “Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”

How simply they talk together. “How about 45 people? How about 30, 20, 10,” Abraham asks? “I would save the city for 10,” God says at the end.

We’re told something about God here. God certainly doesn’t want the world destroyed, even if evil seems so bold and prevalent. God who made heaven and earth stands with us as we look regularly at our world, seeing what we see and even more. God wants to save what God has made.

We’re also told something about how we as human beings should face evil in our society as we listen to Abraham, our father in faith. He stays hopeful about the world he lived in, even at its worse. He wants to save it too. Shouldn’t we follow him?

Notice Luke’s version of the Our Father in the gospel for today. Unlike Matthew, Luke omits the phrase “who art in heaven.” Does the evangelist want us to know that God is not a distant God, far away and unavailable–in heaven? God is the Father standing at our side, looking on the same reality we do. A Father who gives us daily bread and nourishment, who opens the door we think is closed. A constant watchful parent, ever present, never far away.

These readings invite us to pray to God in a familiar way when we face evil in our world. That advice might not be a popular today. Recent surveys of religious belief say that many Americans believe in God, but does that mean they believe in a familiar God, like the God revealed in our two readings today? Or is God simply unknowable, maybe possible, uncertain, or someone for an emergency? Is God someone we can talk to as we face hard days, and does God answer our prayers?

In facing the violence and hard times of today, we often hear calls for prayer, but today you also hear some say: “Forget about prayer, let’s do something about it.”

If we hear our first reading for today, Abraham’s prayer was doing something about it. His prayer came from his concern and love for people and cities dsperately in need. And God was not unconcerned either, if we understand our reading right. God hears.

Prayer is not something we should forget about. It’s the most important step to take when we need to be delivered from evil.