PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section Two: The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”
Article 2, “Our Father Who Art in Heaven”
II. “Father!” (cont’d)
§ 2780 We can invoke God as “Father” because He is revealed to us by His Son become man and because His Spirit makes Him known to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God (cf. John 1:1; 1 Jn 5:1).
§ 2781 When we pray to the Father, we are in communion with Him and with His Son, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Jn 1:3). Then we know and recognize Him with an ever new sense of wonder. The first phrase of the Our Father is a blessing of adoration before it is a supplication. For it is the Glory of God that we should recognize Him as “Father,” the True God. We give Him thanks for having revealed His Name to us, for the gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of His Presence in us.
§ 2782 We can adore the Father because He has caused us to be reborn to His life by adopting us as His children in His Only Son: by Baptism, He incorporates us into the Body of His Christ; through the anointing of His Spirit who flows from the Head to the members, He makes us other “Christs.”
- “God, indeed, who has predestined us to adoption as His sons, has conformed us to the Glorious Body of Christ. So then you who have become sharers in Christ are appropriately called Christs’” (CM 3, 1: PG 33, 1088A).
- “The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, ‘Father!’ because he has now begun to be a son” (DDO 9: PL 4, 525A).
§ 2783 Thus the Lord’s Prayer reveals us to ourselves at the same time that it reveals the Father to us (cf. GS 22 § 1).
- “O man, you did not dare to raise your face to Heaven, you lowered your eyes to the Earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ: all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant, you have become a good son…Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through His Son, and say: ‘Our Father…’ But do not claim any privilege. He is the Father in a special way only of Christ, but He is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us. Then also say by His grace, ‘Our Father,’ so that you may merit being His son” (DeS 5, 4, 19: PL 16:450-451).
Tomorrow – “Father!” (to be continued)
(Part IV, Section 2, Article 2 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
- “CM” – St. Cyril of Jerusalem, “Catecheses Mystagogicae [Catechesis of Mystagogy (Mysteries of the faith)]”
- “DDO” – St. Cyprian, “De Dominica Oratione [The Lord’s Prayer]”
- “DeS” – St. Ambrose, “De Sacramentis [Of the Sacraments]”
- “GS” – “Gaudium et Spes [Joy and Hope]”, Vatican Council II
- “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.)
- “PL” – “Patrologia Latina [Latin Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Latin language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1841‑1855 A.D.)
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