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 donotclaimanyprivilege.He
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
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.
34 St. Cyril of Jerusalem,
3, 1: PG 33, 1088A.
35 St. Cyprian,
De Dom. orat.
9: PL 4, 525A.
22 § 1.
37 St. Ambrose,
5, 4, 19: PL 16:450-451.