The Lord’s Prayer
October 9, 2019
27th Week in Ordinary Time
John 4: 1-11
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say this:
Father, hallowed be your name,may your kingdom come,give us each day the kind of bread we need,and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive all who do us wrong,and do not bring us to the test.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
A story is told of two local religious superiors, one a Jesuit and the other a Redemptorist who had written to their superior generals inquiring about the propriety of praying and smoking at the same time. The Jesuit got a positive answer while the Redemptorist did not. When both compared notes it turned out that the Jesuit got the go signal because he had asked if it was okey to pray while smoking. The Redemptorist, on the other hand, had asked if it was alright to smoke while praying. The two queries differ entirely from each other. Smoking while praying is a breach of liturgical propriety; praying while smoking is converting moments of smoking into occasions of prayer.
This anecdote takes us to two kinds of prayer, namely, the formal and the informal or spontaneous prayer. Formal prayer is what we do ritually such as the Mass we attend in Church, the Rosaries we pray as a family before our altars at home, and the Liturgy of the Hours we recite at specific times of the day. Informal prayer is spontaneous prayer.
The Jesuit’s ‘praying while smoking’ in our anecdote refers to informal prayer. One can do this anytime and anywhere. One can even do it by reciting the Psalms while doing the daily routine. While taking showers, for example, one can pray, “O wash me more and more from my guilt Lord and forgive us our sins” (Psalm 51:2). Informal prayer is our way of raising our minds to God while immersed in our daily activities. Mother Teresa of Kolkata was expert in spontaneous prayers. Her hands were always on her rosary beads while she was busy with her charitable works.
Prayer, whether formal or informal, share a common pattern derived from the Lord’s Prayer. It begins with the acknowledgment of God’s fatherhood, and proceeds to the expression of the desire that his kingdom be established on earth, petition for the daily bread, repentance, pledge to forgive others, and ends with supplication to be delivered from the evil one. In using the same pattern that Jesus used to communicate to his Father, we too exercise our identity as children of the same Father God. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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