Prayer is such a stretch for our poor human nature! To say prayer is difficult would be the understatement of the centuries. “No one can come to me unless my Father Who sent me drag him.” John 6:44 The Church directs us to start the Divine Office with: “Open my lips and I shall declare thy
praise”. In other words I must pray to be able to pray! It should never surprise us that prayer can be terribly hard. When we pray we are totally over our head.
What a consolation today’s gospel is for us. Jesus steps in and tells us how to pray. “Pray in this way.” Mt 6:9 “Father” is the first word of prayer. St Paul of the cross was noted to be saying the Rosary as an old
man by two seminarians as they went by to shop. They were away for two hours and coming back to the monastery notice the old saint still saying his rosary. “Father Paul, how many rosaries have you said?” The old man looked down at his beds and said: “I am still on my first Our Father!” To be wrapped in amazement and wonder when we say Father for two hours is how the great ones prayed! What an astonishment to see how fond God is of us! “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret.”
It is still more a shock to realize how immense this loving Father really is in the heavens. One never comes to fully appreciate Jesus if our God is too small. In the first line of Our Lord’s great prayer He plunges us into the affection and greatness of our God. When we look through our telescopes and see over 200 billion galaxies, should we not be staggered when SS tells “Do I not fill heaven and earth”! Jer 23:24
Would it not be wonderful if we could linger a couple of hours on this first line of the Our Father? Praise to Christ who taught us how to pray! Prayer is indeed the greatest stretch of our lives, but if we let our brother Christ guide us it will also be the greatest act of our lives!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.