Anne O’Brien, Leader of Mission Integration for St Agnes’ Catholic Parish, reads and reflects on Matthew’s Gospel (6: 7-15) in which Jesus shares with his disciples how to pray.
Anne says, what a wonderful prayer the ‘Our Father’ is – a prayer said all over the world, a universal prayer, a beautiful gift given to us by Jesus as he teaches us to pray. She says, as we pray the ‘Our Father’ we never pray alone. We always pray in communion with others even if we are saying it alone in a room.
St Theresa of Avila teaches us that when we come to prayer, we should remind ourselves whom we are addressing and who we are. We are to be open to God as we ponder God’s holiness and the priority of God’s will for us. Our daily needs will be provided. As we seek God’s forgiveness, we acknowledge our own need to forgive others. Knowing our own weaknesses, we ask to be spared tests that would overwhelm us.
The ‘Our Father’ reminds us that we are always held in God’s loving gaze. Paradoxically, although God wants us to come to him in prayer with our weakness and our needs, he knows whatever they are before we even mention them. There is no need to fear.
It is said that St Thomas More’s daughter, commenting on his generosity to her, asked why he did not give everything in advance because he knew. His reply was because I like you coming to me. God, our generous father, who knows our needs wants us to come to him in prayer.
Anne invites us to that by finishing our reflection time with a prayer:
We thank you for creating us and holding us in being.
Increase our faith in you and help us to come to you with open hearts, trusting that you know what our deepest desires are and long to grant them.