Posted by: livingscripture | June 21, 2018

Eleventh Thursday of Ordinary Time

 FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Thursday June 21, 2018

     Week Eleven of Ordinary Time 

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

 WORD of the DAY 

In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  “This is how you are to pray:  Our Father in heaven… (Mt 6: 7-10)

 

How shall I live this Word?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus, our one and true Teacher, gives us a masterly lesson on prayer. First of all, in the negative: He teaches us that praying does not consist in wasting many words with God regarding our various needs, “because your Father knows what things you need before you ask Him.” Praying does not consist in the vain attempt to bend God to our unrealistic desires or to try to reassure Him in our regard, because God is not a “father-master”, rather He is a genuine Father who truly loves His children, even before all their needs.

In fact, Jesus was very concerned about the prayer of His disciples. He wanted them to pray always, insistently and that their prayer be authentic, limpid, transparent, humble, and tenacious.

And now let us pause for a moment on the first word of the prayer taught by Jesus to His disciples: “Father”. It is truly unusual and surprising. ‘Father’ is not one of the many names and attributes of God, like the Immense, the Eternal, the Uncreated … but it is His Proper Name by antonomasia. To say Father, Jesus used a term of His mother tongue, the Aramaic (Abba), which should be translated into English with ‘Dad’ and which expresses all the filial intimacy that flows from the contemplation of the Son before the Heavenly Father.

The first word of the Our Father is therefore already a first proclamation that places us at the center of Christian prayer par excellence, because in it is already contained, as seed, in every prayer.

The good news that God is Abba and that we are His children is liberating and there is enormous comfort. It means that at the origin of our being there was neither chance nor destiny, but a free decision of a Father full of a total, personal love, and of absolute gratuitousness. We are therefore neither slaves nor orphans, but we are immensely and forever, only beloved children. And this is a huge comfort!

Today, throughout the day, I will pause to meditate and pray deeply and simply the Our Father of Jesus, this wonderful prayer, “which is the breviary of the whole Gospel” (Tertullian). 

The Voice of Theophilus of Antioch, Ancient Greek Bishop  

If I call Him Father, I say all there is to say about Him.

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