Matthew 6 7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: “ In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:
‘Our Father in heaven,
May your name be held holy,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test,
But save us from the evil one.’
Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.”
Dear Little hearts,
Today’s reading at Mass brings us back to the very heart of Christ, his mind and his prayer. In our Lenten journey we so often have good will, enthusiasm, and in our endeavour to respond to Christs call search and take on too many spiritual practises or prayers. It is not the quantity of what we pray or read but how much of ourselves we surrender to the Lenten journey, and how much love we invest in what we do.
All down through the ages millions of Christians have prayed and lived out the Our Father, long before the Rosary came to birth, ‘Paters’ were prayed to enable the soul to focus upon God and to embrace all others in that prayer.
For an example in our own tradition, as Poor Clares, and in other Monastic traditions, for those who could not read ( for whatever reason) or whom at times were unable to pray the Divine Office, ‘ Paters’ (Our Father’s) were to be prayed instead. The same practise is still ours today. Many great saints St Francis, Teresa of Avila, and others prayed the OUR FATHER in such a way as it became a truly contemplative prayer and this can be within the reach of us all.
All it needs is space and the desire to ‘go deeper’ deeply reflecting upon each line and making it our own.
This prayer was Jesus’s gift to us all, it unites us as Christians and it brings us to a greater love of God as Father.
God is a God of peace, so be at peace, pray from your heart and do not allow anxiety draw you into thinking, this is not enough, what else can I do in Lent, what else can I read, listen too, don’t take on overload with spiritual things but rather invest a deeper love into what you already do.
We each have our way to God, listen to HIM, and what you feel within you that the Holy Spirit is genuinely leading you into …. that follow, that could be a specific reading, retreat, etc etc after all that would then be HIS WILL, but do not of yourself simply because you think on the spur of the moment it would be a good thing take on the works and then get spiritual indigestion which can bring you to that state where inwardly you scream, I can’t do this it’s all too much.
Be generous with your God, Yes, but discern what he really wants or is asking of you this Lent.
Behold- Hold- Enfold.
Prepare. ( Silencio) -We prepare by making ourselves aware that we need to come to stillness, surrendering to the silence, and then pray from the Heart, in our own words, to the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us through this time of prayer.
Read. (Lectio)- Now read the text slowly, then pause- read it again, allowing the Holy Spirit space to breathe, then pause, and read it or even sing it out aloud. When you find that your heart connects with some word, phrase, verse in particular, allow time for that verse to speak its own message.
Reflect. (Meditatio)- Re-read the Passage , the verse over again, and then reflect quietly what this word is saying to you at this moment, …….. sit in silence thinking upon the word, what is it saying to you in your life now. Try and enter in to the scene.
Pray. (Oratio)- Now pray with the text in your own simple words, respond to what God has given to you in this word, tell God what your response is, enter into a conversation, an exchange with him, pray with this word as you feel the Holy Spirit is enlightening you.
Rest ( Contemplatio) Now abide- rest in His Presence, allow him to enfold you in his love, just be!! Words at this stage are not needed, or if they are whispered words of love and praise between your hearts. The time that you allow for this is your choice.
*The latin terms used here are of course from the Benedictine Tradition and give one a good framework, but the steps of :
Behold- (read), Hold-( ponder in the heart), Enfold (Embrace, let the silence of love speak, surrender to the Lord, dwell in His love ).
These three steps are easily remembered and practised, but both approaches have their place.