Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  667 / 904 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 667 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

Christian Prayer



When we pray to the Father, we are

in communion with him

and with his Son, Jesus Christ.


Then we know and recognize him

with an ever new sense of wonder. The first phrase of the Our

Father is a blessing of adoration before it is a supplication. For it is

the glory of God that we should recognize him as “Father,” the true

God. We give him thanks for having revealed his name to us, for the

gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of his Presence in us.


We can adore the Father because he has caused us to be

reborn to his life by


us as his children in his only Son: by

Baptism, he incorporates us into the Body of his Christ; through the

anointing of his Spirit who flows from the head to the members, he

makes us other “Christs.”

God, indeed, who has predestined us to adoption as his sons,

has conformed us to the glorious Body of Christ. So then you

who have become sharers in Christ are appropriately called



The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says

first of all, “Father!” because he has now begun to be a son.



Thus the Lord’s Prayer

reveals us to ourselves

at the same

time that it reveals the Father to us.


O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you

loweredyour eyes to the earth, andsuddenlyyouhave received

the grace of Christ: all your sins have been forgiven. Frombeing

a wicked servant you have become a good son. . . . Then raise

your eyes to the Fatherwho has begotten you throughBaptism,

to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say:

“Our Father. . . .”But donot


is the Father

in a special way only of Christ, but he is the common Father of

us all, becausewhile he has begotten onlyChrist, he has created

us. Then also say by his grace, “Our Father,” so that you may

merit being his son.



The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual

conversion and

new life.

Praying to our Father should develop in

us two fundamental dispositions:


the desire to become like him:

though created in his

image, we are restored to his likeness by grace; and we must

respond to this grace.

33 Cf.

1 Jn


34 St. Cyril of Jerusalem,

Catech. myst.

3, 1: PG 33, 1088A.

35 St. Cyprian,

De Dom. orat.

9: PL 4, 525A.

36 Cf.


22 § 1.

37 St. Ambrose,

De Sacr.

5, 4, 19: PL 16:450-451.