7 March
Mt 6:7-15

"When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.”

St Cyprian (c. 200 - 258) on the Our Father: “We do not say ‘My Father, who art in heaven,’ nor ‘Give me this day my daily bread’; nor does each one ask that only his or her own debt should be forgiven…. Our prayer is public and common; and when we pray we pray not for one but for the whole people, because we the whole people are one…. ‘Hallowed be thy name’: not that we wish God to be sanctified by our prayers, but that we ask to keep his name holy in us…. ‘Thy Kingdom come’: we beg that God's Kingdom be revealed to us.  For when did God not reign?  We pray for his coming…in us.   ‘Thy will be done on earth’: God may do what he wishes, who can hinder him in that?  But we pray that we may be able to fulfil his will in us…. ‘Give us this day our daily bread’: Christ is the bread of life; we are in Christ and receive the Eucharist daily as the food of salvation…. We should seek only our food and keep…. ‘Forgive us our trespasses’: We have asked for food.  Now we ask for forgiveness, so that we who are fed by God may be able to live in him.  ‘Lead us not into temptation’: The enemy can do nothing against us without God's permission…. Praying [this petition] reminds us of our inconstancy and weakness.  ‘Deliver us from evil’: Having said that, there is nothing left to ask for…. Who can fear this life, if God is his life-guardian?”

The spirit of the Lord’s Prayer has shaped Christian consciousness from the beginning.  Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315 AD – 386), instructed those about to be baptised (“enlightened”): “If you have anything against anyone, forgive it: you come here to receive forgiveness of sins, and you also must forgive the one who has sinned against you. Otherwise with what face will you say to the Lord, ‘Forgive me my many sins,’ if you have not yourself forgiven your fellow-servant even his little sins.”

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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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