Pastor’s Weekly Message 7-24-22

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
How many times have you prayed the Lord’s Prayer? Over a lifetime it is surely too many times to count. The first disciples were sometimes slow to understand Jesus’ teaching, but in this instance, they are completely accurate in their observations and their request. They have seen Jesus pray, not once, but often. They have seen prayer restore and strengthen Him. They want to know how to pray as He does. And Jesus obliges, encouraging us all to pray to His Father as our own Father. The loving relationship Jesus has with His Father is available to all of us as children of God. This was a radical idea at the time, but it now shapes the very heart of our understanding of God.
Since May 2020 our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has regularly used his weekly Wednesday audiences to teach us about prayer. Transcripts of his brief talks are available online on the Vatican’s website, and I find them to be inspiring reflections that open my eyes to new and beautiful ideas about prayer. In his catechesis on April 21, 2021, “The Vocal Prayer” Pope Francis discusses the Lord’s prayer specifically. We may feel that God knows our needs, likely better than we do, so there is no reason that we need to tell God what we want and need. However, Pope Francis says coming to God with our pleas helps to build trust and hope in our hearts. The Our Father includes four petitions for our own personal needs: give us our daily bread; forgive us our trespasses; lead us not into temptation; and deliver us from evil. Pope Francis promises, “Everything is there, in that prayer. It is a prayer we should say often.”
The Lord’s Prayer is also a truly ecumenical prayer. Not only a treasure of our Catholic faith, it is beloved across many Christian denominations, making it a prayer we can pray together with our brothers and sisters from other faith traditions. In our increasingly divided and divisive world, the prayer of Jesus’ heart has the power to draw us together in new unity.
I wish you and your loved one’s blessings of good health, great hope, and answered prayers.

Fr. Paul

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