Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time, June 20
May the Lord’s Prayer Become Our Prayer of Praise and Petition, Filled with Sincerity and Childlike Trust, to Our Most Loving of All Fathers.
Today, Jesus invites us into a personal relationship with His Father – the Eternal Father who now becomes our Father, when He says to us, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…’”
For those of us who are parents, when our children are young, we watch over them and nurture them with a parent’s love. We protect them, as best we can, from every harm. And, as they begin to grow, we teach them the difference between right and wrong; we teach them what is moral and just; we teach them to respect each person’s dignity and self-worth, and we try to set them on a path which leads to true happiness and personal holiness.
But, as we know only too well, we live in a world, in a society which de-emphasizes family values. We live in a culture which embraces so much that is unholy, so much that is immoral and unjust! Our children are faced with two opposing philosophies – the one which we give them based upon God’s Truth, and the one which society gives, based upon relativism and selfishness taught and encouraged by the prince of lies, Satan, who only wishes to steal our loved ones away from God!
It is no wonder that parents fear for their children, for the seduction, the draw of secularism is very strong in our society today – a thinking, a philosophy, a way of life which perverts all that our Christian faith holds dear and true!
Its pull on young minds, which are impressionable and still in the process of maturing, is immense. It is like a strong magnet, pulling them in directions which we, as loving parents, do not wish them to go. We fear that God’s Truth, and the ideals which we have taught and instilled in our children, will be corrupted over time through the lies and deceptions which will continuously assault them.
And we find this dilemma in our First Reading today. We see a side of Paul which surprises many people – a humble man who has emptied himself for the salvation of those to whom he has been ministering, a man who not only loves Christ, but is also speaking of his own selfless love for the faithful in the Christian community at Corinth, as a parent would selflessly love and give for his or her children.
“If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me! …I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Paul was speaking, in today’s Scripture Reading, about his concern that God’s Truth, which he had taught them, might be corrupted by the false teachings of other so-called missionaries who were preaching a truth which differed from what Paul was teaching.
Paul presents us with a picture today of being a loving father, who does not wish to see his children be misled. He desires that his children embrace the true message of Jesus Christ which he freely preaches to them, a message which will bring them into a closer and a more personal relationship with the God whom they are coming to know in a much more intimate way – all because Paul has taken the time to care for them, much as a devoted father does for his children.
And how much more does our Heavenly Father wish to care for us? How much more does our Loving Creator wish to keep us from being misled through the lies of relativism and the perversions of Truth which the prince of this world wishes to seduce us?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites His disciples and each of us to call His Father our Father. He gives them and us a clear example of how to talk to God by teaching us the most perfect prayer – a prayer to our Most Intimate and Most Loving Father, to a Father who only wishes to give to His children the very best, to a Father who will not be outdone in His generosity to His children!
It is a prayer which combines heartfelt praises and humble petitions. From our early childhood, we memorized this prayer – a prayer which evokes a personal conversation of love with our Creator.
Jesus gave us this prayer which, in its simplicity, reaches out to whom our Lord called “Abba” a very personal way which Jesus addressed His Father, just as if we were to call our own father Dad or Daddy, a term which reflects respect and love, for it is this form of intimacy – an unbridled respect and love – which Jesus has for His Father.
And in this prayer, our Lord is giving us permission to approach the Creator of all that was, is and ever will be with the same degree of intimacy as Jesus does.
In this closeness which our Lord invites us to have with His Father, how many times do we say the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, by just “buzzing” through its words, not fully contemplating or reflecting upon what we are saying or what the words themselves truly mean?
When we begin to slow down our pace, and when we begin to truly reflect on each phrase of the Our Father, the prayer begins to take on a richness unlike any other prayer in our arsenal of prayers – for remember, it was a prayer given to us by the Divine Son of God Himself!
It is the prayer which we pray at every Mass and in the Liturgy of the Hours – which is the prayer of the Church; it is repeated in the Rosary and included in many chaplets and novenas. When truly prayed from the depths of our hearts, it becomes a song of love from us, His children, to our Eternal and the Most Loving Father of all fathers, for He is truly the God of Love!
When the Eternal Word became flesh and walked amongst us, He gave us many gifts out of the unfathomable Love which He has for His children – one of them being this prayer. And the words of our psalmist today seem to resonate the wonder of this gift, “I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart…”
Just as Paul reached out with love to those whom he was ministering and caring for their needs as a loving and dutiful father, so, too, in a much more profound and intimate way, does our Heavenly Father wish to respond to each of us.
May our hearts always be opened to His Love, and may our prayer of praise and petition to our Most Loving Father be filled with sincerity and a childlike trust in the God who only wishes to give us what He knows is truly best for each of us! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’” (Matthew 6:8b-9)
- “If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me! …I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God, since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:1a, 2)
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
- “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Hebrews 4:16)
- “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
- “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
- “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Prayer for the Day
“God, our Heavenly Father,
in my personal walk of faith with which You have blessed me,
nourish me with Your Word of life
and make me one with You in love and prayer.
“Fill my heart with Your Love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness;
give me new life by Your Holy Sacraments,
especially Reconciliation and Eucharist.
“Father, our Source of life,
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand;
let me walk more readily in Your ways.
Guide me in Your gentle Mercy,
for, left to myself, I cannot hope to do Your will.
“Father of Love, Source of all blessings,
help me to pass from my old life of sin
to the new life of grace, righteousness and joy in Your Love,
in answer to Your invitation to my heart and soul.
“Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom,
for I ask all this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”Anonymous