JONAH 4: 1 – 11
It displeased Jonah exceedingly [that God did not do the evil which he had said he would do to Nineveh], and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “I pray you, Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy, and that you repent of evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take my life from me, I beg you, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” Then Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. And the Lord God appointed a plant, and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm which attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a sultry east wind, and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah so that he was faint; and he asked that he might die, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labour, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night, and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 86: 3 – 4, 5 – 6, 9 – 10 (R.) 15.
R/. You are slow to anger, O Lord, and abundant in mercy.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
For I cry to you all the day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
For I lift up my soul to you, O Lord. R/.
O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
full of mercy to all who call to you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer,
And attend to my voice in supplication. R/.
All the nations you have made shall come;
they will bow down before you, O Lord,
and glorify your name,
for you are great and do marvelous deeds,
you who alone are God. R/.
Romans 8: 15bc
You have received the spirit of sonship; in him we cry, “Abba! Father!”
“Lord, teach us to pray.”
LUKE 11: 1 – 4
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Perfect Prayer
October 11, 2023
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
What a great prayer for us to pray also, “Lord, teach us to pray…” Jesus’ response to this disciple was to present him with the “Our Father” prayer. Of this prayer, Saint Andre Bessette said, “When you say the Our Father, God’s ear is next to your lips.” The great mystical Doctor of the Church Saint Teresa of Ávila gave this advice while praying the Lord’s Prayer: “Much more is accomplished by a single word of the Our Father said, now and then, from our heart, than by the whole prayer repeated many times in haste and without attention.” And Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said that the “Our Father” prayer was one of the prayers she prayed when she felt so spiritually barren that she could not summon up a single worthwhile thought.
At the Holy Mass, when the priest invites the people of God to pray the “Our Father,” he says, in part, that this prayer is one that “…we dare to say.” This is an interesting statement which especially reveals the childlike boldness we are called to have as we pray this prayer sincerely from the heart. It is exceptionally bold to call God our “Father.”
Chapter 11 of My Catholic Worship, which offers a teaching on this perfect prayer, states the following about this boldness:
Each Christian is to see the Father as my Father. We must see ourselves as God’s children and approach Him with the confidence of a child. A child with a loving parent is not afraid of that parent. Rather, children have the greatest trust that their parents love them no matter what. Even when they sin, children know they are still loved. This must be our fundamental starting point for all prayer. We must start with an understanding that God loves us no matter what. With this understanding of God, we will have all the confidence we need to call on Him.
Since many of us are very familiar with this ideal prayer taught to us by our Lord Himself, there is a temptation to pray this prayer in a somewhat rote way. We can easily fail to say it from the depths of our hearts, making each word our own, offered with the utmost confidence to our loving Father in Heaven.
How do you pray the Lord’s Prayer? Do you pray it out of habit, failing to fully comprehend and mean the words you pray? Most likely this is the case for many.
Reflect, today, upon this most holy prayer given to us by the Son of God Himself. He is the author of this perfect prayer, so we should use it as the foundation of all of our prayer. Try to follow the advice of Saint Teresa of Ávila quoted above. Take each word of that prayer and pray it slowly, intentionally and with love. Begin by acknowledging God as your Father. Ponder the infinite care He has for you as a perfect father would. See Him in a real, intimate, and personal way. This perfect prayer begins by acknowledging Who God is and then continues with seven perfect petitions. After praying the introduction to this prayer, pick one of the seven petitions to meditate upon so that the richness of this prayer will have a transformative effect upon your soul.
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. Jesus, I trust in You.