Friday, November 14, 2014

Adult Ed Series on Prayer, 11/11 - On the first three petitions of the Lord's Prayer

This is part of a series on prayer given for adult faith formation by Father Ryan at Corpus Christi Parish, Great Falls, MT.

We consider the first three of seven petitions in the Lord's Prayer.
1) Hallowed be thy name
2) Thy kingdom come
3) Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

The handout for the session can be found below

Listen online [here]! (part 1)
Listen online [here]! (part 2)


Introduction to Christian Prayer: The Lord’s Prayer
Part II

The Seven Petitions

CCC 2763 – “The Lord’s prayer is the most perfect of prayers … In it we ask not only for all the things that 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.” (St Thomas)

1. Hallowed be thy Name
2. Thy kingdom come
3. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
4. Give us this day our daily bread
5. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us
6. And lead us not into temptation
7. But deliver us from evil.

CCC 2804 -- “The first series of petitions carries us toward [God], for his own sake: thy name, thy kingdom, thy will! It is characteristic of love to think first of the one whom we love.”

CCC 2806 – By the three first petitions, we are strengthened in faith, filled with hope, and set aflame by charity.”

St. Augustine, Letter to Proba – “To us, therefore, words are necessary, that by them we may be assisted in considering and observing what we ask, not as means by which we expect that God is to be either informed or moved to compliance. When, therefore, we say: ‘Hallowed be Your name,’ we admonish ourselves to desire that His name, which is always holy, may be also among men esteemed holy, that is to say, not despised; which is an advantage not to God, but to men. When we say: ‘Your kingdom come,’ which shall certainly come whether we wish it or not, we do by these words stir up our own desires for that kingdom, that it may come to us, and that we may be found worthy to reign in it. When we say: ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ we pray for ourselves that He would give us the grace of obedience, that His will may be done by us in the same way as it is done in heavenly places by His angels.”

St. Teresa of Avila – “Is there anyone, however foolish, who when he is about to ask for something from an important person doesn’t think over how he should go about asking? He must find favor with this person and not seem rude. He thinks about what he should ask for and why he needs it, especially if he is asking for something significant, which is what our good Jesus teaches us to ask for. There is something it seems to me that should be noted: Couldn’t you, my Lord, have concluded the Our Father with the words: ‘Give us, Father, what is fitting for us’? It doesn’t seem there would have been need to say anything else to One who understands everything so well. […] Yet you know us, my Lord, the we are not as surrendered to the will of your Father as you were. You know that it was necessary for you to make those specific requests so that we might pause to consider if what we are seeking is good for us, so that if it isn’t we won’t ask for it. If we aren’t given what we want, being what we are, with this free will we have, we might not accept what the Lord gives.” (Way of Perfection, 30)

“Hallowed be thy name”

2807 – “The term ‘to hallow’ is to be understood here not primarily in its causative sense (only God hallows, makes holy), but above all in an evaluative sense: to recognize as holy, to treat in a holy way.”

St. Augustine, Letter to Proba – “For example, when one prays: ‘Be glorified among all nations as You are glorified among us,’ and ‘Let Your prophets be found faithful,’ (Sirach 36:4, 18) what else does he ask than, ‘Hallowed be Your name’?”

Thy kingdom come

St. Augustine, Letter to Proba – “When one says: ‘Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved,’ what else is he saying than, ‘Let Your kingdom come’?”

St Teresa presents the kingdom of God coming to the soul through the higher forms of prayer, including the prayer of quiet in which the soul finds intimate communion with God even as the intellect/imagination wanders through distractions. Or, perhaps, God quiets the imagination and discovers secrets to the soul while uniting her will to his own.

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven

St. Augustine, Letter to Proba – “When one says: ‘Order my steps in Your word, and let not any iniquity have dominion over me,’ what else is he saying than, ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’?”

St Teresa of Avila – “Look, daughters, his will must be done whether we like this or not, and it will be done in heaven and in earth. Believe me, take my advice, and make a virtue of necessity.” (Way 32)

St Teresa – “Well, I want to advise you and remind you what his will is. […] He wants to repay you well, for he gives you his kingdom while you are still alive. Do you want to know how he answers those who say these words to him sincerely? Ask his glorious Son, who said them while praying in the Garden. […] Well see here, daughters, what he gave to the one he loved most. By that we understand what his will is. […] I myself hold that the measure for being able to bear a large or a small cross is love.” (Way 32)

St Teresa – “Unless we give our wills entirely to the Lord so that in everything pertaining to us he might do what conforms with his will, we will never be allowed to drink from this fount. Drinking from it is perfect contemplation, that which you told me to write about.” (Way 32)

St Teresa – “And he begins to commune with the soul in so intimate a friendship that he not only gives it back its own will but gives it his. For in so great a friendship the Lord takes joy in putting the soul in command, as they say, and he does what it asks since it does his will. And he does this even better than the soul itself could, for he is powerful and does whatever he wants and never stops wanting this.” (Way 32)


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