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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 11, 1-4

Now it happened that he was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'

He said to them, 'When you pray, this is what to say: Father, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come;

give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

More than once in the Gospel of Luke it is written that Jesus went off in secluded places to pray, often at night. This was an extraordinary experience for the disciples. They paid close attention to their Master’s prayer. In the passage we heard, Luke tells us that, at the end of one of these moments of Jesus’ prayer, one of the disciples got close to him and in the name of all asked Jesus: "Lord, teach us to pray." This is a beautiful question that we need to make our own. We need to learn how to pray. And we need to pray as Jesus prayed, with the same faith and the same intimacy that he felt towards the Father. Jesus turned to the Father like the Son that he truly was. And that is what he wants his disciples to do. The first word that he puts on their lips is "abba", dad, the tender name that children used for their fathers. Thus, it is immediately made clear that the Father Jesus is talking about is common to us all, "our" Father, in fact. The first attitude required in prayer is that we recognize ourselves as sons and daughters, children who trust our common Father completely. Much more than multiplying words, prayer is an act of trust and abandonment to God. Only words which come from the heart reach up to God’s heaven, to His heart. Jesus then puts on our lips the words of praise to the Father so that his name be praised and his kingdom come quickly among human beings: it is precisely because of this that the father has sent the Son upon the earth. Human beings are enslaved by so many tyrannies more or less visible but inexorable. We need the kingdom of God to come quickly, the kingdom of love, of justice and of peace. Then Jesus has us ask for bread for our daily lives and mutual forgiveness: bread and forgiveness, two essential dimensions of our life especially in this time in which poverty seems to be increasing along with the spirit of conflict and violence. This prayer which has entered for centuries the hearts of Christians is a precious treasure which must continually mark the tempo of the hours and days of the disciples.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord