Today’s Thoughts: The passage we find in Luke’s Gospel today (Luke 11:1-4) always causes me to remember my father and the morning after my ordination day.
The morning after my ordination I was to celebrate mass with my family. It would be my very first mass! I had not looked at the readings because of all the busyness leading up to my ordination day, so early that morning now some 32 plus years ago, I awakened and wandered down the hall to the retreat house chapel to look at the readings and prepared for my first mass. When I got to the Gospel I could not believe what I read. It was Matthew version of today’s Gospel about Jesus teaching his disciples to pray, specifically to pray the Our Father. I put the book down and tears welled up in my eyes and I just sat there for some time unable to prepare any more.
For you see the Our Father was one of the last prayers I prayed with my “Abba,” my dad, my father, before he died some four years before. It was a December night and I was in my father’s hospital room late at night and as I was about to leave he asked me to pray with him. I was more than happy to do so, I asked him what prayer he wanted to pray, and he said, “The Our Father.”
I began to say the words and notice that my dad was not praying so I stopped and asked what was wrong. Dad said, “I don’t remember the words.” His illness had begun to affect his mind. So, I said, “No problem” and suggested that I say a few words of the prayer and that he should repeat them after me. Do you know how hard it is to say the Our Father when you must stop and think about what you are saying? Well, we got through the prayer and dad became very peaceful and for the most part remained peaceful over the last few days of his life. I have always remembered that moment.
I had wanted my dad to see me ordained but that was not to be but on that Thursday morning I realized that he was with me and had been with me all along. I have never prayed the Our Father at mass, or at any other time and not thought about that moment. What power there is in this simple prayer, what a gift this simple prayer is to all who pray it.
I would invite you at some moment today to pause and slowly, deliberately pray the Our Father. Listen to the words. Realize what God offers you through the words of this simple prayer and what God asks of you.
Just a little thought about the Our Father, Jesus uses the word, Abba, which if translated literally would be “daddy or dad.” I wish that the first translators of the prayer had used the informal rather than the formal it might have made a difference in how we think about this simple prayer today. It certain would have made the prayer more intimate!
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...