Our Father

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent: Matthew 6:7-15

“I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours, as you did in two minutes.” – Edward Everett to Abraham Lincoln, on the occasion of the Gettysburg Address, 1863

In the Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday, Jesus tells us how we ought to approach almsgiving, prayer and fasting. Lent began with this because, in the experience of the Church, Lent is the time par excellence when we go back to these fundamentals and renew our commitment to them. In fact, today’s Gospel, where Jesus teaches us the Our Father in Matthew’s Gospel, actually comes right after his words on almsgiving and prayer, and precedes his words on fasting. The Our Father, then, is offered to us as one of the fundamentals of Christian life. It is a prayer taught us by Jesus himself. But it also teaches us how to pray and how to live our Christian life in general. Many of the saints of the Church, such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, viewed the Our Father as a very dense summary of the whole of Christian faith. Contemporary authors, like Scott Hahn and Tom Wright, write of the Our Father in the same way.  Continue reading “Our Father”