(Note: In dioceses where the Solemnity of Corpus Christi is celebrated today, click here or scroll down for that reflection)
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
“This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven…” Matthew 6:9
The following is an excerpt from the My Catholic Worship! book, Chapter Eleven, on the Lord’s Prayer:
The Lord’s Prayer is indeed a summary of the entire Gospel. It is called “The Lord’s Prayer” in that Jesus Himself gave it to us as a way of teaching us to pray. In this prayer, we find seven petitions to God. Within those seven petitions we will find every human longing and every expression of faith found within the Scriptures. Everything we need to know about life and prayer is contained in the wonderful prayer.
Jesus Himself gave us this prayer as the model of all prayer. It is good that we repeat the words of the Lord’s Prayer regularly in vocal prayer. This is also done in the various sacraments and liturgical worship. However, saying this prayer is not enough. The goal is to internalize each and every aspect of this prayer so that it becomes a model of our personal petition to God and an entrustment of our entire life to Him.
The Foundation of Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer begins not with a petition; rather, it begins with us acknowledging our identity as children of the Father. This is a key foundation for the Lord’s Prayer to be prayed properly. It also reveals the foundational approach we must take in all prayer and in the entire Christian life. The opening statement preceding the seven petitions is as follows: “Our Father who art in Heaven.” Let’s take a look at what is contained in this opening statement of the Lord’s Prayer.
Filial Boldness: At Mass, the priest invites the people to pray the Lord’s Prayer by saying, “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say…” This “daring” on our part comes from the foundational understanding that God is our Father. Each Christian is to see the Father as my Father. We must see ourselves as God’s children and approach Him with the confidence of a child. A child with a loving parent is not afraid of that parent. Rather, children have the greatest trust that their parents love them no matter what. Even when they sin, children know they are still loved. This must be our fundamental starting point for all prayer. We must start with an understanding that God loves us no matter what. With this understanding of God we will have all the confidence we need to call on Him.
Abba: Calling God “Father” or, more specifically, “Abba” means we cry out to God in the most personal and intimate of ways. “Abba” is a term of endearment for the Father. This shows that God is not just the Almighty or the All-Powerful. God is so much more. God is my loving Father and I am the Father’s beloved son or daughter.
“Our” Father: To call God “our” Father expresses an entirely new relationship as a result of the New Covenant that was established in the blood of Christ Jesus. This new relationship is one in which we are now God’s people and He is our God. It’s an exchange of persons and, therefore, deeply personal. This new relationship is nothing other than a gift from God to which we have no right. We have no right to be able to call God our Father. It’s a grace and a gift.
This grace also reveals our profound unity to Jesus as the Son of God. We can only call God “Father” in so far as we are one with Jesus. His humanity unites us to Him and we now share in a deep bond with Him.
Calling God “our” Father also reveals the union we share with one another. All who call God their Father in this intimate way are brothers and sisters in Christ. We, therefore, are not only deeply connected together; we also are enabled to worship God together. In this case, individualism is left behind in exchange for fraternal unity. We are members of this one divine family as a glorious gift of God.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Jesus, I trust in You.
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Thursday after Holy Trinity or, where this is not a holy day of obligation, on the following Sunday.
In the United States it is always transferred to the Sunday after the Most Holy Trinity
“Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” Mark 14:22a-24
Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God! What a Gift we celebrate today!
The Eucharist is everything. It’s all things, the fullness of life, eternal salvation, mercy, grace, happiness, etc. Why is the Eucharist all this and so much more? Simply put, the Eucharist IS God. Period. Therefore, the Eucharist is all that God is.
In his beautiful traditional hymn, “Adoro te Devote,” St. Thomas Aquinas writes, “I devoutly adore You, O hidden Deity, truly hidden beneath these appearances. My whole heart submits to You, and in contemplating You, it surrenders itself completely. Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgment of You, but hearing suffices firmly to believe…” What a glorious statement of faith in this wondrous gift.
This statement of faith reveals that when we worship before the Eucharist, we worship God Himself hidden under the appearance of bread and wine. Our senses are deceived. What we see, taste and feel do not reveal the reality before us. The Eucharist is God.
Throughout our lives, if we were raised Catholic, we were taught reverence for the Eucharist. But “reverence” is not enough. Most Catholics reverence the Eucharist, meaning, we genuflect, kneel, and treat the Sacred Host with respect. But it’s important to ponder a question in your heart. Do you believe the Eucharist is God Almighty, the Savior of the world, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity? Do you believe deeply enough to have your heart moved with love and profound devotion every time you are before our divine Lord present before us under the veil of the Eucharist? When you kneel do you fall down prostrate in your heart, loving God with your whole being?
Perhaps this sounds like it’s a bit excessive. Perhaps simple reverence and respect is enough for you. But it’s not. Since the Eucharist is God Almighty, we must see Him there with the eyes of faith in our soul. We must profoundly adore Him as the angels do in Heaven. We must cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.” We must be moved to the deepest of worship as we enter into His divine presence.
Ponder the depth of your faith in the Eucharist today and strive to renew it, worshiping God as one who believes with your whole being.
I devoutly adore You, O hidden Deity, truly hidden beneath these appearances. My whole heart submits to You, and in contemplating You, it surrenders itself completely. Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgment of You, but hearing suffices firmly to believe. Jesus, I trust in You.
Further Reading – Corpus Christi