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Lenten Reflection: Day 7
Gospel, Matthew 6:7-15
We all have the need to communicate our thoughts, desires, expectations and feelings. Many a times we also face the need to communicate our silence, as silently as possible. We either have conversations with people or at times just with ourselves. But when we converse with God, every such communication becomes a prayer. How? Prayer is doxology (short hymn of praise to God), praise, thanksgiving, confession, supplication and intercession to Deus (God). Even in times of resentment, anger, doubt and denial, the dialogue with God by those who hunger and thirst for Him are rendered to Him as prayers (see reference – Psalm 13, 64:1, 142:1-2).
When an infant utters only sounds, even that makes perfect sense to the mother’s ear and heart. In a way we are like little infants while praying, making a lot of sounds to our parent who is God. These sounds (words) may or may not always express what our hearts truly desire. But God who is our Father, understands every syllable and craving of the soul. Our speechlessness too is louder than the thunder to God who knows the thirst of our heart even before our minds could put words to it.
In order to ensure that our desires are perfectly aligned to the will of God, Jesus is constantly praying for us to His Father. He prays in ways we cannot understand. For He and the Father are one, and their will for us is one. This is why Jesus expects us to simply echo His prayers to the Father. However, because we are children of the same Father, through baptism, Jesus teaches us to present our prayers, which reflect His loving conversations with the Father. When the disciples asked Him how they should pray, He tells them not to blabber like those who have never learnt that the Father knows what they need before they ask Him.
The Our Father is not simply a prayer, it is as if the soul of man reaffirms obedience to its heavenly mandate, acknowledges its right to blessings on earth and in heaven. As well as its dependency on God’s fortification against its mortal enemy – Satan. The prayer is in plural because Jesus assures that His Father is the Father of all. Therefore, my friends, let us own this right to call the Heavenly Father as Our Father and practice what St. Alphonsus Ligouri said, “Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends.”