Scripture; Lectionary: 226. Tues.Feb.28. Isaiah 55:10-11. Psalm 34:4-5.6-7.16-17.18-19. Matthew 6:7-15
Prayer is at the heart of our Lenten practices both in the liturgy and in our personal prayer as well as in the Liturgy of the Hours. We are energized and formed through our prayers and led to do the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. God is perfect merciful and supremely kind as we learn in each of the covenant descriptions given to us in the Bible.
A new twist on prayer is suggested by the reading from Isaiah and the Gospel. We are to take on the perspective of God about prayer and the point of view of Jesus about it as he teaches us how to pray.
In Isaiah we see how the word of God in the prophet is effective and productive just as the soil responds to the rain and the snow to produce its fruits. When and if we are able through prayer to have a more intimate and personal relationship with God,we enter into God’s realm and perspective. When we put on the mind of Christ as Paul encourages us to do, we become generative and productive. Our relationships with our brothers and sisters are part of this success. They are deepened and developed by our relationship with God.
Jesus as the Teacher and Son of God gives us the perspective we are to have. We learn to pray not only by reciting the Our Father, but also by modeling our petitions on the seven given to us in this sublime prayer. We enter into its content and realize that Jesus is relating to us how he expects us to relate to God as our Parent. It is a familiar prayer for all of us but it contains what we need to know about prayer. One important way of going into its contents is to read the excellent section on it in pages 661-688, the very last pages of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is excellent spiritual reading for us during Lent. Tertullian writes that “ the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) is truly the summary of the whole Gospel.” (CCC # 2761). Thomas Aquinas shows us how to enter into the perspective of God and the mind of Christ in the following words about the Lord’s prayer:The Lord’s prayer is the most perfect of prayers…in it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them. (Summa II-II, 83, 9). Amen.