Awesome Presence and Wonderful Intimacy
In our experience of God, it is important that we try to be conscious of both His majesty and the warmth of His intimacy. In today’s liturgy Luke relates an essential reading of the Our Father. In the very first words he sets before us the foundations of prayer, the transcendence and intimacy of God! “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name!” Lk 11:2 Our prayer will limp badly if we fail to appreciate by grace the Holiness of God and the depth of His love for us.
First of all, Jesus tells us to start our prayer with Father. The word father is treated 414 times in NT. The most important father Jesus knew as a child was Joseph. Father is Jesus’s primary word for God. It is the most important metaphor of Jesus’s teaching. It is of great interest that every reported prayer of Jesus in the New Testament starts with the word Father! What a beautiful compliment to Joseph! So we begin our prayer with the intimate word father! St Paul of the Cross would spend two hours on first word of the Our Father!
Luke next relates the words “hallowed be Your name!” The idea of “holy” in the Scriptures is in Hebrew qadosh. It is used 115 in OT. “I am the Lord, your Holy One” Is 43:15. The angels cry out which shakes the heavens.“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” Is 6:3 Holy in the Latin phrase is: mysterium tremendum et fascinans. As mysterium, the numinous is “wholly other”– entirely different from anything we experience in ordinary life.
In NT Greek holy is hagiosand is used 233 times. In Mary’s beautiful prayer she exults: “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.” Lk 1:49 When we view the Universe now with the new eyes of science, we indeed can see how great God is! Our sun with its planets is speeding around our Galaxy, the Milky Way, about 500,000 miles an hour! Even at this prodigious speed it will take about 250 million years to make the trip once! Our Milky Way is just one of 100 billon galaxies. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” Ps 33:6 This welcoming God is indeed incredibly big!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.