REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
October 7, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. In response, He taught them the “Our Father” prayer. There is much that can be said about this prayer. This prayer contains all we need to know about prayer. It is a catechetical lesson about prayer itself.
Jesus teaches us to call God Father. We are not coming to someone we have to drag gifts from, but to a Father who delights in supplying our needs. Prayer is entering into a relationship with this loving God.
Every Christian knows by heart the ‘Our Father’: the only recited prayer that Jesus taught to His followers. But the ‘Our Father’ that we know in our hearts—which we pray at every Mass before receiving Holy Communion, and which we pray several times throughout the course of a rosary—is not exactly the ‘Our Father’ that we have just heard Jesus teach in today’s Gospel passage.
The version of the ‘Our Father’ that Luke records for us is shorter than the version that we know by heart. Maybe this shorter version is the first version that Jesus taught to his followers, much the same way that a teacher introduces just the key points first, and then later fleshes it out some more.
In this shorter version of the ‘Our Father’, there are three petitions that Jesus teaches us to pray. In the silence following Holy Communion, of after Mass, or in your home, read and pray this shorter version, and see what the three petitions are. What are the three things that Jesus teaches us to ask of our Heavenly Father?
Jesus and Mary are models for discipleship who have taught us how to pray. The “Our Father as a prayer is foundational, because it comes from Christ himself. Today, October 7th we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, another prayer that is based in Scripture and central to our Catholic faith.
One of the reasons why the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary is because of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary which is celebrated today. This Feast was originally called the Feast of Our Lady of the Victory. It commemorates the naval victory of Lepanto in 1571, where the smaller and outnumbered Christian fleet defeated the might Ottoman armada. It was deemed as a miraculous victory that was brought about through the intercession of the Bless Virgin Mary.
As you pray the “Our Father” reflect on: Is there a particular word or phrase that stands out for you, that means something for you today? What do you need today? What is the daily bread you pray for today? Do you need to ask someone for forgiveness or forgive them for hurt caused? Are you facing a testing time today? Is there a challenge you must face that you can’t avoid? As Jesus taught us, bring your needs before your loving Father.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Jesus, I trust in You.