Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Is 55:10-11 ; Ps 33 ; Mt 6:7-15
Let us pray
O LORD who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights: give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit; we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness and true holiness, to thy honour and glory; who livest and reignest with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The perfect prayer of the perfect Pray-er
“The Lord’s prayer is the most perfect of prayers … In it we ask, not only for the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired,” thus said St Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica (also CCC 2763). And St Augustine said, “Run through all the words of the holy prayers, and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer” (also CCC 2762).
If we seek to renew or re-invigorate our prayer then returning to the Lord’s prayer is the most important thing for us to do because it is the perfect prayer given to us by the perfect Pray-er. We learn to pray by going to our Lord’s school of prayer.
In our Lord’s school of prayer He wrote just one textbook with just fifty-five words in it.
He did not give us psychological techniques but the actual words of a prayer; a prayer, though, not to be just repeated mechanically.
When someone begins to play an instrument they begin by learning to read music. First they play the music mechanically. One note comes after the other. But as time goes on the music begins to flow. It is no longer a mechanical procedure, it now becomes something of beauty.
We must pray this prayer not just with our words. We must pray this prayer not just with our words and our minds. We must pray this prayer with our words, our minds and our hearts.
One of the key things to understand here is that we will only truly understand the words with our minds when we also will them with our hearts. When we desire and want what God’s wants, what God wills, then we will understand His word in this His prayer.
One of the best places to reflect more deeply about the Lord’s Prayer is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Access it for free online or use the copy you have at home. There is a wealth of reflection on this perfect prayer by the perfect pray-er.
See CCC 2777 - 2865
Let us pray
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Fr Ian is a catholic priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England. He is by papal dispensation married. He lives in a former convent with his wife and children in Devon, near the sea.