27, ఫిబ్రవరి 2023, సోమవారం

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

 

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Isaiah 55: 10-11

Matthew 6: 7-15

The Way of Prayer

 

Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, we had reflected Yesterday about how we should relate with our neighbours and to those who are in need. We are invited to see the presence of God in them and love as we would love God.

We were invited to respond to their needs, negligence on our part deserves appropriate punishment from God. hence we can sum up and say it was a call to love and serve them, one of the Pillars of the Lent: Charity ( Almsgiving)

Today we are invited to reflect on another pillar of the Lent: Prayer.

From the teaching of Christ, we can extract two aspects that are unnecessary to be avoided.

      Many words are not required, need not to heap up words while praying. Therefore the repetition of the words,  long prayers without any real attention to God does not affect God to grant us our petitions. (Mt 6:7)

      And the focus should not be on public opinion or public appreciation. And it should not be a time to showcase one’s talents and skills. (Mt 6:5)

So when Jesus says  But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret” is that a kind of personal contemplative prayer where you shut all the doors of  distractions, intentions and focus only God and his will to us.  When Built on this personal relationship God hears and responds. St. Teresa of Avila defines prayer as “is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with the one who we know loves us.”  

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches us The Lord’s Prayer or Our Father , perfect model to all the prayers and perfect in every sense.

“Our Father, who art in Heaven” - as being to pray  Christ invites us to call God, our Father, transforming our prayer into more personal. With this close relationship we can confidently approach him now without any hesitation.

And here by addressing who art in Heaven  we acknowledge his greatness and thus give due praise and reverence. It’s a praise to his Holiness and Divinity. 

 

The Petitions

As the prayer is divided into two sections, The first section solely the praise of God, the will of God and our cooperation with him.

Hallowed be Thy Name:

God’s name is Holy From eternity  the reason for our praying is that it is a reminder that it should not be defiled, rather we allow it to spread the Holy Name and be revered in us and around. (unfortunately, in many places God’s Holy is name is unnecessarily used and defiled) 

Thy Kingdom Come:

We pray for the second coming and also elsewhere Jesus says it is already among you (Luke 17:21), it means that we pray that it is established in us first. That our life may be guided according to the rules and regulations of God’s kingdom. The way we think, speak and act must reflect the kingdom's values. And also the values of the kingdom are upheld in the society, the respect for life at any stage, mutual respect, and goodness. Love and forgiveness to name a few. ( but we are drifting away now).

Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven:

We pray that his will is fulfilled in our lives as is accomplished in Jesus. Therefore it's a way of committing and entrusting ourselves into his hands. We are also asking here to fill us with the strength to fulfil his will in our lives.

 

The next four petitions relate to personal and interpersonal needs. we pray:

Give us this day our daily bread:  

We pray for our needs: material and spiritual. We are trusting in the providence of God here. By saying daily, we are praying for his presence in every moment of our life so that we lack nothing (psalm 23:1). We trust in his care and depend on it for he is the source of our sustenance.

Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us:

 God is merciful and loving. So we need not fear and be embarrassed to come to him with our faults. We can pray He is our father. However there is one condition here, the only way to obtain is to forgive our brothers and sisters first, first be reconciled with them then we are eligible for this grace. (Matthew 5: 23-24)

And lead us not into temptation:

Temptations are real and painful, it can be because of our weakness, nature and satan. It’s like a battle we have to fight off, lest we fall into sin. So We pray here to the  Lord that we are  weak, so we entrust ourselves into his power and authority to help us to overcome.
But deliver us from evil: As we pray for the deliverance from evil, the evil which destroys life and distances us away from the values,  gospel values and human dignity , in our modern society there are many evils in different forms. the systems, laws and regulation in the society which lead a person in a destructive way. ( we witness this trend in many countries, Gender, woke and all) at home, workplace, schools, roads and environment.

Only God can free and deliver us.(Daniel 3:17)

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. — Soren Kierkegaard.

Therefore, let us remember to pray as Jesus taught us with praise and petitions and with attention and awareness. Let us have a personal relationship with God the Father in our Prayers. Let us remember

 

    Prayer is a personal relationship with God

    Prayer is conversation with God and connection with God who awaits for us.

    Prayer is to depend on God, acknowledging our weaknesses.

    Prayer is to submit to God, surrendering our will to God’s will.

    Prayer is to believe that “I can do nothing, but God can do everything,” and to ask him humbly.


 FR. JAYARAJU MANTHENA OCD

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