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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

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

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

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. It was an extraordinary experience for the disciples to see Jesus pray, and they watched him carefully. In the passage we heard, Luke tells us that after Jesus had prayed one of the disciples approached him and asked him on everyone’s behalf: “Lord, teach us to pray.” This is a beautiful question that we need to make our own. Indeed we dearly need to learn how to pray, to pray just as Jesus himself prayed, with the same trust and the same intimacy that he had with his Father in heaven. Jesus turned to the Father like the Son he truly was. The thing that is extraordinary and absolutely inconceivable to the human mind is the idea that we could address God with the same words Jesus used, with the same feelings Jesus had for Him. In essence, Jesus wants us to join him in his prayer as Son. The first word that he puts on their lips is “abba”, daddy, the tender name that children used for their fathers. And he immediately makes it clear that the Father he is talking about is common to us all, “our” Father, in fact, the Father of a family of brothers and sisters, not an anonymous being who stands far off from life in some disembodied Olympus. Jesus wants his disciples to be gathered together in a single family, God’s family, his Father’s family. The first attitude required in prayer is that we recognize ourselves as sons and daughters, children who entrust themselves completely to our shared Father. Much more than the multiplication of words, prayer is an act of trust and self-abandonment in God. It is the words that rise from the heart that reach God and His heart. Jesus then puts on our lips words of praise for the Father. We ask for his name to be praised and for his kingdom to come soon to humanity. This is precisely the reason why the Father sent the Son to earth. There is an urgent need for the Kingdom, and the disciples need to understand this need and invoke it. Men and women are subjected to many forms of tyranny, more or less visible but nonetheless irresistible. We need the kingdom of God to come quickly - the kingdom of love, of justice and of peace. Finally, Jesus has us ask for bread for our daily lives and mutual forgiveness: bread and forgiveness, two essential dimensions of our life, especially now, when poverty seems to be increasing along with a spirit of conflict and violence. This prayer, which has moved through Christian hearts for centuries, is a precious treasure that should continue to mark out the hours and the days of our lives.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets