Le blog de la Bergerie
What a gift the Lord's prayer is! What an amazingly strong praying tradition surviving though the centuries and uniting Christians: Catholics in the West and Orthodoxes in the East, and also many Protestants, Anglicans, since the Lord's prayer is an essential part of the Mass, the Eucharist, the Divine Office or the Holy Communion service.
To think that this particular prayer goes up to heaven every day from every corner of the earth, in so many languages, and with so many diverse voices, and realizing that it is constantly happening, at every hour of the day, this thought makes me dream...
For that matter, I had this fantasy of using Google maps and imagining ONE DAY IN THE LORD’S PRAYER, 24 hours in the life of this prayer: "Notre Père”, "Pater Noster", starting from Jerusalem (let's say at 5am) and going Westward, North and South, all around the planet, till it would come back to Jerusalem. Whether said in Churches or monasteries, chanting it all together at the dinner table or said silently in our hearts at bedtime, out of gratitude or out of fear, whether in earnest or in a mumbling fashion, I was going to draw a stunning growing beam of light (made of tiny golden crosses and hearts) illuminating humanity across the globe, and showing its impact, all of this within 24 hours. Whether said by children or adults, by believers or sympathizers or open-minded passing visitors, if this little graphic design of mine would in any way help us grasp better how essential this prayer is, how universal it is, and how formative, constructive and supportive it is for the common good of the world, every day, then I imagine this is why I felt this particular idea a pretty good one.
But then I gave up.
I certainly lacked the skills to do it.
Proving right there and then how limited I am! The most stubborn limits we encounter are the ones we put on ourselves. But I had it all in my head and my heart for a while, and I remember clearly how positive and fruitful I felt, filled with hope and faith! So I am now posting it, hoping someone else will pick it up and do it.
I want to finish by mentioning one of my favorite sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: the one on Christian Prayers in general and the "Our Father" in particular. See the Table of Contents below from this part of the CCC.
Check it out and Enjoy it, scriptural references, quotes from saints, insights from experts on sacred texts, on exegesis and theology, or spiritual leaders and all. I give you a few links but you can also google it and you will have each section at your finger tips.
Here are some excerpts:
At the Center of the Scriptures
2762 After showing how the psalms are the principal food of Christian prayer and flow together in the petitions of the Our Father, St. Augustine concludes:
Run through all the words of the holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord's Prayer.9
2763 All the Scriptures - the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms - are fulfilled in Christ.10 The Gospel is this "Good News." Its first proclamation is summarized by St. Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount;11 The prayer to our Father is at the center of this proclamation. It is in this context that each petition bequeathed to us by the Lord is illuminated:
The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers.... In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.12
2764 The Sermon on the Mount is teaching for life, the Our Father is a prayer; but in both the one and the other the Spirit of the Lord gives new form to our desires, those inner movements that animate our lives. Jesus teaches us this new life by his words; he teaches us to ask for it by our prayer. the rightness of our life in him will depend on the rightness of our prayer.
THE FINAL DOXOLOGY
2855 The final doxology, "For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever," takes up again, by inclusion, the first three petitions to our Father: the glorification of his name, the coming of his reign, and the power of his saving will. But these prayers are now proclaimed as adoration and thanksgiving, as in the liturgy of heaven.176 The ruler of this world has mendaciously attributed to himself the three titles of kingship, power, and glory.177 Christ, the Lord, restores them to his Father and our Father, until he hands over the kingdom to him when the mystery of salvation will be brought to its completion and God will be all in all.178
2856 "Then, after the prayer is over you say 'Amen,' which means 'So be it,' thus ratifying with our 'Amen' what is contained in the prayer that God has taught us."179