St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Catechesis on "Our Father": 8. May your name be sanctified
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
It seems that winter is leaving and so we are back in the Piazza. Welcome to the square! In our journey of rediscovering the prayer of the "Our Father", today we will deepen the first of his seven invocations, that is, "let your name be sanctified".
The questions of the "Our Father" are seven, easily divisible into two subgroups. The first three have the "You" of God the Father at the center; the other four have "us" and our human needs at the center. In the first part Jesus makes us enter into his desires, all addressed to the Father: "hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done"; in the second it is He who enters us and becomes the interpreter of our needs: the daily bread, the forgiveness of sins, the help in temptation and the liberation from evil.
Here is the matrix of every Christian prayer - I would say of every human prayer -, which is always made, on the one hand, of contemplation of God, of his mystery, of his beauty and goodness, and, on the other, of sincere and courageous request of what we need to live, and live well. Thus, in its simplicity and its essentiality, the "Our Father" educates those who pray to him not to multiply vain words, because - as Jesus himself says - "your Father knows what things you need even before you ask them" (Mt 6.8).
When we talk to God, we do not do it to reveal to Him what we have in our hearts: He knows him much better than we do! If God is a mystery to us, we are not an enigma in his eyes (cf. Ps 139: 1-4). God is like those mothers who need only a glance to understand everything about children: if they are happy or sad, if they are sincere or hide something ...
The first step in Christian prayer is therefore the surrender of ourselves to God, to his providence. It is like saying: "Lord, You know everything, you do not even need to tell my pain, I only ask you to stay here beside me: you are my hope". It is interesting to note that Jesus, in the speech of the mountain, immediately after transmitting the text of the "Our Father", exhorts us not to worry and not to worry about things. It seems like a contradiction: first he teaches us to ask for the daily bread and then he tells us: «Do not worry then saying: what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? "(Mt 6,31). But the contradiction is only apparent: the Christian's questions express confidence in the Father; and it is precisely this trust that makes us ask for what we need without worry and agitation.
This is why we pray by saying: "Let your name be sanctified!". In this question - the first! "Let your name be sanctified!" - you can feel all the admiration of Jesus for the beauty and the greatness of the Father, and the desire that all recognize him and love him for what he really is. And at the same time there is the supplication that his name is sanctified in us, in our family, in our community, in the whole world. It is God who sanctifies us, who transforms us with his love, but at the same time we too are the ones who, through our witness, manifest the holiness of God in the world, making his name present. God is holy, but if we, if our life is not holy, there is a great incoherence! The holiness of God must be reflected in our actions, in our life. "I am a Christian, God is holy, but I do so many bad things", no, this is not necessary. This also hurts; this scandalizes and does not help.
The holiness of God is an expanding force, and we plead because it quickly breaks down the barriers of our world. When Jesus begins to preach, the first to pay the consequences is precisely the evil that afflicts the world. The evil spirits swear: «What do you want from us, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to ruin us? I know who you are: the saint of God! "(Mk 1:24). One had never seen such a holiness: not worried about herself, but outstretched. A holiness - that of Jesus - that spreads out in concentric circles, like when a stone is thrown into a pond. Evil has its days counted - evil is not eternal - evil can no longer harm us: the strong man who takes possession of his house has arrived (cf. Mk 3: 23-27). And this strong man is Jesus, who also gives us the strength to take possession of our inner home.
Prayer drives away all fear. The Father loves us, the Son raises his arms side by side with ours, the Spirit works in secret for the redemption of the world. And U.S? We do not waver in uncertainty. But we have a great certainty: God loves me; Jesus gave his life for me! The Spirit is inside of me. This is the great sure thing. And the bad? He's afraid. And this is beautiful.
FULL TEXT + Image Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation