PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section One: Prayer in the Christian Life
Chapter 1: The Revelation of Prayer
Article 2, In the Fullness of Time
Jesus prays (cont’d)
§ 2603 The Evangelists have preserved two more explicit prayers offered by Christ during His public ministry. Each begins with thanksgiving. In the first, Jesus confesses the Father, acknowledges, and blesses Him because He has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom from those who think themselves learned and has revealed them to infants, the poor of the Beatitudes (cf. Matthew 11:25-27 and Luke 10:21-23).
His exclamation, “Yes, Father!” expresses the depth of His Heart, His adherence to the Father’s “good pleasure,” echoing His Mother’s Fiat at the time of His conception and prefiguring what He will say to the Father in His agony. The whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of His human Heart to the mystery of the will of the Father (cf. Ephesians 1:9).
§ 2604 The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John (cf. John 11:41-42). Thanksgiving precedes the event: “Father, I thank you for having heard me,” which implies that the Father always hears His petitions. Jesus immediately adds: “I know that you always hear me,” which implies that Jesus, on His part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus’ prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives Himself. The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the “treasure”; in him abides His Son’s Heart; the gift is given “as well” (Mt 6:21, 33).
The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation (cf. Jn 17). A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever-present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what He teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two.
§ 2605 When the hour had come for Him to fulfill the Father’s plan of Love, Jesus allows a glimpse of the boundless depth of His Filial prayer, not only before He freely delivered Himself up (“Abba… not my will, but yours.”) (Lk 22:42), but even in His last words on the Cross, where prayer and the gift of Self are but one: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34); “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43); “Woman, behold your son” – “Behold your mother” (Jn 19:26-27); “I thirst” (Jn 19:28); “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34; cf. Ps 22:2); “It is finished” (Jn 19:30); “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Lk 23:46), until the “loud cry” as he expires, giving up his spirit (cf. Mk 15:37; Jn 19:30b).
Tomorrow – Jesus prays (to be continued)
(Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 2 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviation in today’s posting is noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”