Our Father, Who Art in Heaven

Are there days in your prayer life when you wish to “start over” again?

The disciples had that desire, and they addressed Jesus with the plea: “Lord, teach us to pray.” He taught them the Our Father…As a matter of fact or of revelation, Jesus taught them no other prayer!

St. Paul, on the other, told his readers to “pray always, without ceasing”! How can we do both? Do you find yourself praying both the Our Father and/or your own style of petition as comfort in doing what you are told by two beloved teachers, realizing your own creaturely helplessness?

Then does God take over in this day of our continual wars, crying out peace when there is no peace, fearing age and death, pain and darkness, destitution and loneliness? What do we do, if not get back to deeply believing that we need to know that there is a God, who is our Father?

Yes! Libraries are full of books written on every phrase of the our Father. In Tertullian’s words: “In the Lord’s Prayer, we have a summary of the entire Gospel” and Pope John XXIII assures us that “to know how to pray the Our Father and how to put it into practice is the perfection of the Christian life.”

Today, I picked up The Practice of the Presence of God by a 17th century French mystic, Brother Lawrence, whose “little way” became his practice of the Our Father throughout 30+ years as a lay brother in his Carmelite monastery’s kitchen! He found God among the pots and pans or wherever he was asked to serve! He said in one of his ”Conversations”: “When I see that I am at fault, I admit it…when I do not fail, I acknowledge that it is God’s doing and give thanks to Him.” A simple, focused life, faithful, loving and joyful!

Oh that we might be so imbued with that love of our Father who longs for us more than we long for Him, and in whose presence we, too, might “sing and dance like a lunatic,” as Bro Lawrence joyfully described himself!

Renée Domeier, OSB

Photo: Sister Clare Witzman praying Liturgy of the Hours, taken by Sister Nancy Bauer