A Thoughtful Penance

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At confession the other day my pastor asked me, once again, to pray the Our Father slowly, thinking about each sentence and then to pray the Hail Mary and offer it up for those who have no one to pray for them. He always assigns this penance…..to everyone. My daughters would complain about it and, for a while I couldn’t give them a good enough defense for our priest’s purpose….until now. You see, as a lifelong Christian and pray-er of the Lord’s Prayer, I have taken it for granted. Very seldom do I really REALLY think and contemplate on the words and the message Christ taught us to pray.

As I was praying each sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, I thought about what that sentence meant and what Jesus wanted us to pray for.

Our father who art in heaven: that means that our Lord and Creator is somewhere; he is; he exists and he’s there for us.

Hallowed be thy name means that he is holy, he is set apart; that he is so much more than we know or can comprehend. “May your name remain holy” as Bishop Barron says. “God is holy, meaning he is set apart.” Basically asking God, “Lord, please help me to make you first in my life.”

Thy kingdom come; thy will be done: his kingdom exists and he’s in charge! Our holy, amazingly more-than-we-could-ever-imagine creator, and holy Father is here and he’s in charge! We don’t have to worry about being here by ourselves because our holy Father will care for us. God would reign and set things right and in Jesus, God has begun to reign and set things right. We are praying for God to be more and more in the world, setting things right.

On earth as it is in heaven: means here and there….wherever heaven is. Again, he is in charge and we don’t have to worry!

Give us this day our daily bread: our Holy Father knows what we need. We don’t need to worry about our needs, God has our backs, basically.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us: Boy, this one is the most difficult phrase of all! We Will be forgiven AS we forgive those around us.

As we forgive those who trespass against us…Hard, but a must. I had a priest tell me once that if I have a problem forgiving that person how can I expect to be forgiven myrself? Oh yeah…Agents ourselves in the forgiveness of sin.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.   God will protect us and we only need to ask!.     Please don’t lead us into the final test!

Amen: simply means so be it, in other words, it is so and I believe.

There’s a great deal to think about in this one prayer. It also sums up all that we need, too. It is prayer perfection and certainly one that we should to pray often and consider each line with all our hearts and minds. If I go to confession once a month, which sadly is more often than many Catholics do…in my parish anyway, then it is good that Father has us revisit Christ’s prayer that He taught us.

Bishop Robert Barron is credited for some of my reflection today from his podbean, dated July 23, 2016 called, “Abba Father, Bring us Jesus.”

Copyright 2016 Ebeth 
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About Author

Ebeth Weidner, a Master Catechist and cradle Catholic who considers herself a Catholic information junkie, writes from her heart about the faith and hope she finds in the Catholic Church. She is the author of “A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars” blog. She is the wife of a research science Professor and mom to 3 great young people living on the coastal side of North Carolina.

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