PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section Two: The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”
Article 1, “The Summary of the Whole Gospel” (cont’d)
III. The Prayer of the Church
§ 2767 This indivisible gift of the Lord’s words and of the Holy Spirit who gives life to them in the hearts of believers has been received and lived by the Church from the beginning. The first communities prayed the Lord’s Prayer three times a day (cf. Di 8, 3: SCh 248, 174), in place of the “Eighteen Benedictions” customary in Jewish piety.
§ 2768 According to the Apostolic Tradition, the Lord’s Prayer is essentially rooted in liturgical prayer:
- “[The Lord] teaches us to make prayer in common for all our brethren. For He did not say ‘my Father’ who art in Heaven, but “our” Father, offering petitions for the common Body” (HIM 19, 4: PG 57, 278).
In all the liturgical traditions, the Lord’s Prayer is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office. In the three Sacraments of Christian initiation [Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist], its ecclesial character is especially in evidence:
§ 2769 In Baptism and Confirmation, the handing on (traditio) of the Lord’s Prayer signifies new birth into the Divine life. Since Christian prayer is our speaking to God with the very word of God, those who are “born anew…through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23) learn to invoke their Father by the One Word He always hears.
They can henceforth do so, for the seal of the Holy Spirit’s anointing is indelibly placed on their hearts, ears, lips, indeed their whole filial being. This is why most of the Patristic [Early Church Fathers] commentaries on the Our Father are addressed to catechumens and neophytes [beginners in the Christian faith]. When the Church prays the Lord’s Prayer, it is always the people made up of the “new-born” who pray and obtain mercy (cf. 1 Pet 2:1-10).
Tomorrow – The Prayer of the Church (to be continued) & In Brief
(Part IV, Section 2, Article 1 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
- “Di” – “Didache (Teachings of the Twelve Apostles – c.50-120 A.D.)”
- “HIM” – St. John Chrysostom, “Homiliae in Matthaeum [Homilies on Matthew]”
- “PG” – “Patrologia Graeca [Greek Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Greek language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1857‑1866 A.D.)
- “SCh” – “Sources Chrétiennes [Christian Sources]” (Paris: 1942- )
A Sunday Blessing
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you!
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace! †cf. Numbers 6:24-26