Ruffling feathers

 

While I was working out at the gym recently, my trainer asked, “How long did it take you to finish that set of weights?  My response: “Two ‘Our Father’s, two ‘Hail Mary’s and two ‘Glory Be’s!” My trainer is a Roman Catholic and he just laughed! Once a Catholic, always a Catholic. For the record, the set took me about a minute.

As a child I learned how to pray by memorizing prayers. I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid in grade school who did this – we all memorized prayers. There were far more than just the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be, but these were the “biggies!” These were the prayers we prayed most often, and to this day, these prayers float through my psyche like oxygen in my lungs.

I pray to focus. I pray to be present. I pray to calm myself down. I pray to intercede for others. I pray for good things to happen and when bad things happen. I pray in thanksgiving for the day. I pray in gratitude to God just being God! Praying for me is like blinking. I don’t really have to work at it, or think about it, it just happens.

So wasn’t I intrigued when I recently read that good ol’ Pope Francis is ruffling some feathers by suggesting we consider different wording for the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer – the prayer the Lord Himself taught us when His disciples asked him “Lord, how do we pray?” Apparently the exact wording and translation of the Lord’s Prayer has been a point of debate and interpretation among academics in the Church for years; and now Pope Francis has entered the conversation. What’s not to love about this Pope?

The actual words in question have to do with the part about us praying that God not lead us into temptation … as if anyone would really think that God would do such a thing … it’s obviously a reference to the devil leading us into temptation. But apparently, the wording has confused people for centuries, and now Pope Francis is asking if different wording could be considered, something along the lines of, “do not let us fall into temptation.” Which is perfectly fine, if you ask me.

Like many aspects of liturgical worship, rote prayers can become like wallpaper, something we see every day but don’t really think about. The mere fact that Pope Francis is asking if it’s okay to do a little editing for modern ears gives us all an opportunity to think a little more about the actual words of the prayer, the meaning behind the words, and perhaps most importantly, how these words make an impact in our lives – my life, and your life.

I think Pope Francis’s suggestion makes sense. I’m sorry if it ruffles some feathers; but he’s got a good point. God doesn’t lead us into temptation; the devil does. And we need to be clear about that. God saves. The devil destroys.

All this got me thinking, so I thought I’d ask you, what is your favorite part of the Lord’s Prayer? What line touches your heart? Challenges you? Makes you think? Inspires you? My favorite line is:  “… forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I am ever aware that as much as I need to forgive others who have hurt me, I too need forgiveness for the times I have hurt others. I’m not perfect; I need forgiveness too. That part really stands out to me.

How about you? Which part of the Lord’s Prayer stands out to you and why? Here it is:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

 

Peace friends,

Chuck

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11 Comments

  • Kathy says:

    I love how you STIR! I read a piece in America Magazine last week about the Pope offending people via his comment – seriously we humans are amazingly shallow at times. SO, loved reading your take on it. Favorite part? Wow that got me thinking – depends on the day, the time of my life as different lines resonate. Currently it is “they will be done” – reminds me of the pondering I’ve had of late with Paul’s challenge: “In all circumstances give thanks” 1 THES 5:18 In ALL things? Yup, our from cradle-to-grave prayers need rethinking all the time. Advent blessings upon you my dear friend.

  • Candace Kain Hayes says:

    The phrase that resonates with me is ‘For thine is the kingdom. the power and the glory, forever and forever’.
    I never said these words as a Roman Catholic ~ for most of my life. We ended the prayer with ‘deliver us from evil’.
    When I was welcomed into the Episcopal church, fifteen years ago, I loved this addition. The prayer ended in praise ~ rather than petition.

  • Ellen Hoffman says:

    I love “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others”.
    Thank you for your insight and inspiration!…as always!

  • Mary Jane says:

    Hi Chuck,
    Wonderful piece….You have to love Pope Francis. As for the part of the Our Father that has great meaning for me, …”Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. It reminds me that we, with God’s grace, need to be about creating a world of love, compassion and social justice, right here in our everyday lives. We are our Creator’s hands here on earth….it is what He is asking of us.

    Christmas blessings to you and yours, Chuck.

  • Bro Sean McLaughlin, SDS says:

    A few years back, my 88 year of Brother-in-law said to me that “it drives me
    crazy to have to say, in the Our Father, ‘lead us not into temptation’!” He felt
    that it was impossible for God to do this, so why do we constantly say this! All
    the years that I had learned/said/recited the Our Father, I had NEVER once thought
    of this — UNTIL THEN! My bro-in-law wanted something like “protect us from temptation…” or something like you said, Chuck.
    So, when the Pope mentioned this issue, I called my Bro-in-law, and told him about
    this. Without hesitation, he said “its about time”! He also said something like: “I love
    this Pope…..his mind and heart is alive and open….waiting for married priests and woman priests, but that will be after I’m pushing up daisies….”
    Today is the Popes 81st Birthday….my Bro-in-law is 88 yrs old. I want to be like them
    when I grow up!
    My favorite part of the Our Father changes: as I meditate on it/as I grow older/reading about it/talking about it…..always changing — like my other favorite:
    The Hail Mary….powerful prayer!
    Thanks Chuck!
    Christmas Peace to ya and your family/parishioners.

  • Peter Dirr says:

    One thought about the wording the Pope is discussing and two thoughts about my favorite lines.

    1) I am not at all surprised that the Pope is suggesting the wording you quote. My understanding of the wording that is currently used translates to something like, “…let us not fall into sin…” In other words, it is probably the wording that the Pope has been using all along. Since the original wording was probably oral and in Aramaic, it has probably undergone several translations prior to the current English translation (Greek, Latin, old English, etc.). Let’s not make a big deal about it.

    2) I think the line that you have chosen is so important. It is a constant challenge for us to think about how we are doing with forgiving those who offend us and whether we are doing that unconditionally, just as we hope that Christ will do with us in our final life review.

    3) I also think that it is important for us to reflect on “… thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” What am I doing today to help our lives on earth be more like what I think they will be like in heaven? In the way I welcome others, help others, and treat others, what am I doing to bring about His kingdom on earth.

    Thank you for this reflection.

  • Julie testa says:

    Thank you for writing about this. Thank you.
    Also loved the piece about praying as you
    work out. I’ve said the Rosary on the treadmill
    And have learned others are doing the same.

  • Dick ONrien says:

    I am always reminded what the late Fr. Dick Martin said ” it is easier to ask for forgiveness than the second part— forgiving
    Is much harder”. I think of that and how true it is.

  • Jim Larsen says:

    Every once in a while I think I need something like this that I’m grounded in and that gives me comfort thanks for sharing this Chuck!

  • Beck Yvonne Schulte says:

    Thy Will Be Done.

  • Shari says:

    When I’m not sure about what’s going on around me, I think about “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” and I try to see how events might look from a different perspective. Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes it’s hard.

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