“Our Father”

Following the introductory post on the “Our Father,” we now begin our consideration of the prayer.

We have such an intimate relationship with the God of the universe, that we can rightly call upon Him as Father! Jesus has revealed this extraordinary truth to us, with profound implications for how we relate to God and to each other.

God is the perfect Father, Who loves us beyond all imagining, and seeks our faithful love in return. Ideally, this divine Fatherhood should have been reflected in a way by our human fathers; but if they failed, and left us with wounded images of fatherhood, let us always remember that God is Love.

Filled with this “certainty of being loved” by God, we speak to Him with “filial trust, joyous assurance, humble boldness” (Catechism paragraph 2778).

By seeing God as Father, we recognize ourselves as little children, dependent upon Him for our very being, our sustenance, everything we have. Because God is “our” Father, we see the entire human family as our brothers and sisters.

We address God as being “in heaven” to describe His sublime majesty, His transcendence beyond our limited horizon. That does not imply that He is far away and remote; rather, God is nearer to us than we can grasp.

For more, see Catechism paragraphs 2777-2802.

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Jesus Teaches Us to Pray

Jesus shows us how to pray by example, through His own prayers of love, thanksgiving, petition, and obedience to the Father’s will, and He also explains how we are to pray.

Understanding us better than we know ourselves, Jesus sees our struggles and shortcomings in prayer, and He wants to help us through them: “Like a wise teacher, He takes hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the Father” (Catechism paragraph 2607).

Jesus first calls us to true conversion of heart, then urges us to have faith, encourages us to ask for our needs with a “filial boldness,” teaches us to pray in His name, counsels us to embrace the Father’s will in all things, and emphasizes the importance of persistence and perseverance in prayer.

Whenever we feel inadequate in our prayer, we should never get discouraged. Instead, let us honestly open up to the Lord about our difficulty, and that in itself will be a true and heartfelt prayer.

Jesus’ most memorable prayer is the one He crafted for us to say – the “Our Father,” which we will examine in upcoming posts.

For more, see Catechism paragraphs 2607-15.