Tag Archives: Lord’s Prayer

Thoughts Upon The Cross: The Fiddlehead

by Howard Hain

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“Oh Thou, before whom all words recoil…”

—Shankara, 8th century Hindu philosopher and theologian

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Truth is Truth is Truth.

Find it where it’s planted. Find it where it grows. Find it where it bears fruit.

Find it in the soil. Find it in the stem. Find it in the apple.

Throw it in the air

Launch it toward the sky

Watch it turn back

See it return to earth

Up, up, and away…

When the cat’s away the mice can play…

It’s a bird…

It’s truth…

It’s not to be held by any man.

———

“Holy, Holy, Holy…”

“Heaven and Earth are Full of Your Glory…”

“Hosanna in the Highest!”

———

Try, try, and try again…

We adore

We praise

We acclaim

We toss up

We watch rain

Back upon us

Our own words fall

Down, down, down…

“Oh Thou, before whom all words recoil.”

———

The strongest heart

The loudest cry

The hardest throw

All fall short

Thus Beauty smiles

For even in failure

Praise and Grace

Go hand in hand

With growth and motion

And a music man

For what goes up

Must come down

To leave a wake

A delightful shape

No man may make

Nor no violin display.

———

A fiddlehead

A fern

A plant

A plan

A play

Upon which

All Truth

All Beauty

All Joy

On full display.


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“Oh Thou, before Whom all words recoil…”

“…hallowed is Thy name…”

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Morning Thoughts: The Prayer of Milk and Honey


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Then the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders, and brought us to this place, and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

—Deuteronomy 26:8-9


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Last fall we went apple picking. We were a small party, composed of immediate family. It was a beautiful crisp day, just the kind you would order for such an excursion.

On our rounds we passed an old wood wagon, behind it and off a bit in the distance lay the remains of an abandoned stone farmhouse—roofless, hollowed out, its fireplaces and chimneys still the main draw. But is was a tiny hand-painted sign on the wagon right before me that most caught my attention:

“Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water.”

I don’t know if it’s true or not, and I’m not going to spend much time investigating. I like the thought. That’s what matters. So I’m going to keep it, well not keep it, but steward it. Yes, ‘steward’ is a much better word:

Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

(1 Corinthians 4:1)

So often an internet search can do quite the opposite. It can make us into investigators, examiners, maybe even mean-spirited inquisitors. It can turn us into lots of things, other than stewards.

Such an investigative approach also often opens the door to outright skepticism. It may even lead us into intellectual scrupulosity. And all scrupulosity, no matter its form or make up, steals joy. And that we just cannot allow.

On the other hand, we also have to be responsible. We can’t just “believe everything we hear and read”, right?

So what is one to do with such a pickle?

Well, a good steward should look to his master for advice, after all it’s his property we are called to steward on his behalf:

Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

(1 Corinthians 4:2)

So there we have it. We must be stewards of God’s mysteries, and as stewards we must be found trustworthy.

Sounds straight forward enough. Tough to do though.

Perhaps this can help.

Let’s go step by step, at our Savior’s command:

———

First, let us become more aware of the very mystery that is put into our care:

Our Father, who art in heaven…

Let us next adore what we do not understand:

hallowed be thy name;

Let us then accept the great gift of responsibility, handed over to each one of us daily:

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

What happens next seems logical enough, we have to ask for help:

Give us this day our daily bread,

And with that, we address the inevitable—for even if we possess only a morsel of humility—we all know that disobedience on our part is bound to occur:

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

Now, having about all we need to proceed, it’s a very good idea to remind ourselves of an eternal reality: That the master is ultimately in control and oversees us closely—rooting us on to accomplish what he wills for us to achieve, all in his very name:

and lead us not into temptation,

But just in case we fail to avoid the snares and traps hidden in plain and disordered sight—especially from falling into the false belief that the “possessions” placed into our care are actually our own—we plead with great desperation, like Saint Peter and all true disciples who think they’ve become lost, that we don’t completely sink into the waters of darkness when our faith begins to falter:

but deliver us from evil.

And together we say:

Yes. I accept. I believe. I agree.

So be it.

(or in other words:)

AMEN.

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Now, if I can only find some raw milk for breakfast…


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Look down, then, from heaven, your holy abode, and bless your people Israel and the fields you have given us, as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.

—Deuteronomy 26:15


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—Howard Hain

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Bread and Wine

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The German theologian Romano Guardini years ago recommended in a little book “Sacred Signs” that we let the signs and the words of the liturgy guide our prayer. He was a key figure in initiating recent liturgical reforms in the Catholic Church, which made the signs and prayers of the liturgy better able to communicate the mysteries we celebrate.

I suspect, though, that in our liturgical prayer today the words of the liturgy–the scripture readings and the homily–get more of our attention than the signs.

Maybe we need to pay more attention to signs like bread and wine. They’re sacred signs we can take for granted.

In our prayer over the bread at Mass we say: “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we received the bread we offer you, fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.” The bread we offer is the fruit of the earth and work of human hands. It’s a sign of all creation, of everything that the “God of all creation” gives us, of everything our hands have fashioned.

“The word bread stands for everything,” Augustine said in one of his commentaries on the Lord’s Prayer. (Epistle to Proba) Early commentators like Tertullian, Cyprian and Origen wrestled with that petition, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Does it mean just the food we eat, or does it mean the wisdom we need? Is Jesus Christ our daily bread? I like Augustine’s explanation because it’s so open-ended.

Scientists say that our universe came into existence about 15 billion years ago. About 3.5 billion years ago life began on our planet. Bread and wine represent that universe; they’re brought to the altar to tell its story.

About 200,000 years ago human life emerged on our planet. 200,000 years of human life are represented in the bread and wine, and our lives are part of the human story represented in bread and wine.

We believe that God created our world and it’s good, according to the Book of Genesis. There’s a plan for this universe, a plan conceived in God’s wisdom and love. In its opening chapters, Genesis poetically describes the beginning of our universe, but then turns quickly to the journey of the human family from its beginnings .

God’s plan, however, involves, not just the human family, but also the universe itself. All creation is waiting for the kingdom of God to be revealed. The bread and wine are signs of it.

Certainly human beings have an important role in the coming of God’s kingdom, as the incarnation of Jesus Christ makes clear. We’re not slaves, cogs in the wheel, as life grinds on. We represent God here in the universe and have to exercise a godlike care of this world. Each of us has a part to play that God’s kingdom come. We share in the promise.

We know too that the mystery of evil is at work in our world, a mystery also represented in the bread and wine. When Jesus took bread into his hands at the Last Supper, he saw a sinful world ready to put him to death, but he still took the bread in his hands. His blood would be poured out, but he still took the chalice to drink from it.

How magnificent is his response. He takes all created reality, all human existence, the goodness and evil of life in his hands, embracing them all with God’s love and care. From his hands he gives them to us, blessed by his presence.

“This is my body.” “This is my blood.” Incarnate in this great universe he gives life to it and to us.

In communion, Jesus gives himself to us in bread and wine, the signs of the world in which we live. We’re to live in that great world and have a role in it to fulfill. The Word made flesh is our bread of life, our food and drink, who gives wisdom and power to us.

Father Thomas Berry, a Passionist priest who taught me long ago, had a passionate love of the universe and a concern that the universe story enrich our way of looking at life. In one of his writings he saw the universe story enriching our understanding of the sacraments. It does.

The Lord’s Prayer, Norm for Every Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is the norm for every prayer. That’s true of the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, in which we thank God, our Father, for blessing us “always and everywhere.” In its words and the actions that accompany it, we pray the Lord’s Prayer in another form.

As we do in the Lord’s Prayer, we call God “Our Father” at Mass and thank him for the blessings we receive as his children.

God’s blessings are symbolized in bread and wine. At Mass bread has the same manifold meaning  we find in the Lord’s Prayer when we ask “Give us this day our daily bread.” It stands for “our daily bread,” the whole of creation, the bread of everything, “the True Bread come down from heaven.”

Bread and wine are signs of God’s past and present blessings. They also promise of a new creation and new life to come.

In bread and wine, we bring to our heavenly Father everything he has given to us. At Mass, Jesus Christ, our priest, takes them in his hands as he did at the Last Supper and gives them new meaning. He gives thanks to his Father for all his gifts and gives himself to us as God’s supreme Gift.  “Take, eat and drink, this is my body; this is my blood.”

He gives us in himself all the gifts of creation as well as the promise of a new creation surpassing this one.  “God’s kingdom is coming,” he said and he himself is the way to it.

“Your will be done.” Jesus fulfilled God’s will when he came. He showed his Father’s love in a love “poured out” for the forgiveness of sins. In his death and resurrection we’re promised a way to a kingdom to come.

The Lord’s Prayer is at the heart of the Eucharistic Prayer. With Jesus we pray to Our Father in heaven, who gives his children gifts without measure. With Jesus we ask to do his will and work that his kingdom come. We receive Jesus Christ as our daily bread, our food and drink, our teacher and Lord. He is the shepherd who leads us through the temptations of this life.

After praying the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, which the priest representing Jesus prays in our name, we pray the Lord’s Prayer together. It’s a summary of the Eucharistic prayer and our preparation to receive the Bread of Life.

 

 

 

 

Praying the Lord’s Prayer

You wont find any prayer in scripture that isn’t found in some way

in the Lord’s Prayer, St. Augustine writes to Proba, a woman looking

for advice about how to pray.

The words of prayer are teachers of prayer, a school of prayer,

and no prayer is more important than the Our Father

for leading us into union with God.

“Teach us to pray,” the disciples of Jesus ask him and gave them

this prayer as their norm.

It’s a norm, Augustine tells Proba, ” So when we pray we are

free to use different words to any extent, but we must ask the

same things: in this we have no choice.”

The saint is recommending a meditative way of praying the Our Father,

a prayer that easily becomes one we say by rote.

Sometimes it’s good to leave long prayers for a simple rest in this one.

http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/teach.html