August 15 is the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary and is usually a holy day of obligation, but because it falls on a Saturday this year, there is no obligation. Nevertheless, we still ask Mary, Queen of Heaven, to pray for us, now and always! Fr. Nick is filling in for me for weekend Masses this weekend. It's great as usual to have Fr. Nick praying with us and sharing his wisdom with us, so I'm grateful he is able to pray at Mass at our parishes this weekend. Additionally, Fr. Nick celebrates the 56th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood on August 15! With that, he celebrated his first Mass on August 16, 1964 at St. Peter's. Please make sure to wish him a happy anniversary!
I mentioned last week that I would begin to discuss the Our Father, often known as the Lord's Prayer, in this bulletin column. When Jesus' disciples asked Him how to pray, as found in the Gospel of St. Matthew (6:9-13), Jesus teaches them this prayer. In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI comments, “For on our own we human beings do not 'know how to pray as we ought' (Rom 8:26)—we are too far removed from God, he is too mysterious and too great for us. And so God has come to our aid: He himself provides the words of our prayer and teaches us to pray.”
Tertullian, one the Church Fathers, said that the Our Father “is truly the summary of the whole gospel.” St. Thomas Aquinas stated, “The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers...In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.”
The Lord's Prayer begins with placing ourselves in the presence of God our Father, who is in heaven. After that, there are seven petitions in the prayer; the first three petitions draw us up to the glory of the Father, and the remaining four petitions commends our wretchedness and fallen humanity to His grace:
- 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
- Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
- Lead us not into temptation
- Deliver us from evil
Next week, I will discuss more in depth each of the lines of the Our Father, but for now, I leave you with these words from Pope Benedict XVI to encourage you in continuing a life of prayer: “The more the depths of our souls are directed toward God, the better we will be able to pray. The more prayer is the foundation that upholds our entire existence, the more we will become men of peace. The more we can bear pain, the more we will be able to understand others and open ourselves to them.”
We are all saints under construction, so let's all grow together in holiness through prayer and more fully living out our identities as sons and daughters of God the Father.
Have a great week!