Today’s Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15
When Jesus gives us the Our Father, AKA the Lord’s Prayer, it comes with a warning: “do not babble like the pagans.” Instead, the concise words of the prayer Jesus gives teach us to honor our Father, to hasten the coming of His kingdom, to ask forgiveness, and to acknowledge our duty to be merciful. As a whole, they function as a sort of Christian mission statement: this is who we are, and this is what we’re setting out to do.
Yet the meaning of even words so beautiful, so glorious, so on point, can get muddled when we repeat them day in and day out without really paying attention to them. Prayer should be conversation; it should be a means of building a relationship. And a relationship cannot be built only on memorized and recited phrases.
Our prayer must not only be made with the hope of God hearing us, but more so of our hearing God.
We need God’s voice. We need Jesus’ sacrifice. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When what we’re listening to is the stuff of this world, even the worthwhile stuff, there can be too much noise to get in touch with He Who should be—Who wants to be—our greatest Love. When we pray in the way Jesus teaches us, we incline ourselves to hear His voice instead. We change the direction of our hearts, and with His grace our words and actions will follow suit. We will forgive more readily. We will serve more faithfully. We will love more completely.
When was the last time you stopped to consider what it is you’re saying in the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, or in the responses at Mass, to incline your ear toward the voice of our Lord?
Lord, You gave us words by which to praise You and ask Your help to live courageously in this world. Give us the grace to offer this prayer with our whole hearts today, and to share Your words with someone in need.
Copyright 2017 Lindsay Schlegel