Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday of Ordinary 27

When he was six, I asked my son what I should say in a homily about the Our Father. He said, “Tell them it’s a word Jesus gave us to unlock the gate of heaven.”

            This, of course, warmed my fatherly heart, but it also reminded me that this profound prayer, called “the most perfect prayer” by St. Thomas Aquinas, is also simple enough to be appreciated by young children.

            But then that’s the point, isn’t it? We call this prayer the Our Father because regardless of our age, all of us are children of God our Father. We acknowledge in this prayer that we are completely dependent upon God as his sons and daughters: For our daily bread, for our daily grace, for forgiveness, and for the ability to forgive. We recall that the purpose of our life is our Father’s glorification, not ours, and that we’re to build up his kingdom, and not our own. And while he’s a parent who commands our obedience, he at the same time seeks to meet our needs with attention and love.

            One ancient writer called the Our Father “the summary of the whole gospel.” because it says so much in so few words. Words simple enough for a young child. Yet so essential for all of us.

(My book of daily meditations for Lent, to be published by Ave Maria Press in November, is available for pre-order: )


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