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God our Father - The Lord's Prayer

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Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio - God Our Father, the Lord’s PrayerGod Our Father:

The Meaning of the Lord's Prayer


by: Marcellino D'Ambrosio



God Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord's Prayer, commonly known as the "Our Father," is known so well and said so often that we can forgot how extraodinary it is to call the Creator of the Universe "Father."


Many world religions have been around for a long time.  Some believe in one God.  All teach the gist of the Ten Commandments.


But in a few respects, Christianity is absolutely unique.  That the supreme Being is not just “King of the Universe” or  “Master” but “Father,” that he desires a close, familiar relationship with Him, this you don’t find anywhere outside the teaching of Jesus.


This shocking intimacy with the Galaxy Maker is made possible only by Christ’s death and resurrection.  Through faith and baptism, our old self, cut off from God, dies with Christ on the cross.  We begin a new life in Christ.  “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).  Jesus shares everything with us, since we are now members of his body.  He shares with us his own righteousness, so we are forgiven every one of our sins (Col 2:13-14).   He even shares with us his Father.  So when he teaches us to pray, we’re told to address God as he does, as “Abba”.


God Our Father, the Lord’s PrayerTo call God “Father” does not mean to say, of course, that he is an old man with a white beard.  Only the second person of the Blessed Trinity wedded himself to a male human nature in the womb of Mary.  The Father and the Holy Spirit are pure Spirit and transcend male and female, masculine and feminine (CCC 239).  This is no new insight brought to Christianity by the feminist movement.  It has always been taught that the word “Father” applied to God is used by way of analogy.  Analogies tell us something very true despite being imperfect.  Until recently, the father was recognized by Western society as origin, head and provider of the family.  To call the first person of the Trinity “Father” means that he is the origin and transcendent authority of all and cares for the needs of all. 


But we all instinctively know that a father who pays the bills and barks orders is not enough.  We expect a dad to have an intimate, affectionate relationship with his children, to spend “quality time” with them.  To call God “Father” means, then, that he is near to us, intimately concerned with us, fond of us, even crazy about us.  He is not the distant, clockmaker God of Thomas Jefferson and the Deists.   This aloof God of the philosophers created the world to run by virtue of its own natural laws so that he could withdraw and occupy himself with more interesting pursuits.


God Our Father, the Lord’s PrayerNo, the God whom Jesus calls Father cares about us and knows us intimately.  “Every hair on your head is numbered (Matthew 10:30)” He loves us more than we love ourselves and knows us better than we know ourselves.  He tells us to ask him for “our daily bread” which stands for all that we need to grow physically and spiritually.  Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4) leaves out “thy will be done,” but it is implied in “thy kingdom come.”  God’s kingdom means God having his way, not necessarily us getting our way. 


Sometimes God gives us exactly what we ask for because this correspoGod Our Father, the Lord’s Prayernds with what is best for us and everybody (his will always involves this).  But we know that sometimes our kids ask for things that may be appealing at first glance, but really are ultimately not God’s best.  Abraham asked that Sodom be spared for the sake of the innocent.  But God saw that it would be best to get Abraham’s righteous cousins out of Sodom and destroy the city to protect humanity from its predatory violence.  So Abraham got what he really wanted, but not the way he wanted it (Genesis 18:20ff).


God wants us to pray relentlessly for our needs and the needs of others.  He is always listening.  But he listens through our words to hear the true desire of our hearts.  And that is what He gives us.  It may come wrapped in some unexpected packaging.  And it may take some time.   But it comes.   After all, He’s our Father.


This reflection on the Lucan version of the Our Father or the Lord's Prayer originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection on the readings for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle C (Genesis 18:20-32; Psalm 138; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13).  It is reproduced here by permission of the author.



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The Early Church Fathers

The Early Church Fathers, Catholic Church, Fathers of the Church, Marcellino D'AmbrosioA society characterized by the loss of respect for life, violence, exotic religious cults, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, and even pedophilia. Sound familiar?


The Early Church Fathers succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!


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The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They Matter

Early Church Fathers, Marcellino D'AmbrosioIn a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers.  Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most important questions of our day.  In this talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us today. 

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Exploring the Catholic Church: An Introduction to Catholic Teaching & Practice
 Exploring the Catholic Church Introduction to Catholic Doctrine and Practice, a Roman Catholic Book Exploring the Catholic Church: An Introduction to Catholic Teaching and Practice by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio is an accessible, affordable Roman Catholic Book--perfect gift for anyone!! -- the inactive Catholic, the Sunday Catholic wanting to know more, Protestants who want to know why Catholics do what they do. In fact there are TWO chapters devoted to the meaning of the Eucharist and how to get more out of it!  An enjoyable approach to faith formation and religious education.



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