Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, says "Our prayer ought also to be ordered as our desires should be ordered, for prayer is but the expression of desire." In theory, we pray when we subconsciously feel either desperate, lost, or unsure of where to go. We may speak out loud about our desire to make money, buy a new home, pay off loans, but it isn't what we find ourselves praying about. Rather, we pray for healing, closure, temperance, love, things that are a fruit of moments of unease, lost, and desperation.
So what does that tell us about the human person? That we are designed to desire the best for ourselves and others, through the intercession of God, for we know that without him we are unable to achieve that which we desire. It's almost as if the Creator of the Universe ordered everything good. With the intention that we would also desire this good.
In today's Gospel, our Blessed Lord teaches his disciples how to pray. We know this prayer as the "Lord's Prayer" or the "Our Father." It is recited at every Holy Mass and Liturgical function. It is the first prayer we teach to our children as they begin their catechetical formation. We hang it on posters and plaster it on evangelization handouts. But have we ever stopped to think about it?
It begins with an informal address. Jesus doesn't want us to refer to God as "supreme leader" or "majesty" but rather "abba" translated to "daddy." Jesus wants us to know from the very beginning that we are to feel comfortable when addressing our heavenly Father; no different than addressing your own father.
From there it continues to a plea, a plea to God that his will be done. Why? Because God's will is perfect, and if it is of God, it is ordered to the truth and good. We know this won't be easy so we seek heavenly nourishment, our daily bread. This will sustain us on our journey to complete God's will.
We then need the mercy of God, his forgiveness. So we can cleanse our souls of the stain of sin and evil, washing it white. Preparing a true home for Christ to reside in. To allow us to hear the voice of God more clearly and intently. Then through His grace, we can forgive those who have hurt us.
And now that we are forgiven and have forgiven Father, don't lead us back into sin. Help us to see evil lurking in the shadows of our everyday lives and keep us on the path home to you.
Saint Thomas Aquinas said to order our prayer like our desires, Jesus gave us the instructions, it is up to you to reevaluate your desires and prayer life. Will you?
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