Tuesday of the first Week of Lent – The Pater
Today’s gospel brings intimacy into our Lenten season’s prayerful aspect. Prayer is one of the three main actions Catholics are encouraged to perform during Lent, together with fasting and almsgiving. In Lent, we are inclined to multiplying prayers. That is not a bad thing but it might take away the whole meaning of prayer: our relationship with God. That is why Jesus taught his disciples how to pray appropriately.
Most of our liturgies are made of pre-written, and most of times, pre-memorized prayers. That does not mean that they do not express our deep and genuine desire to get closer to God. However, one can easily ‘babble’ them without meaning what is in their core. The Lord’s Prayer is not pre-written prayers. It is more than that. The Our Father is a prayer that teaches us how to pray. It gives all the aspects of prayer (praise, thanksgiving, request…) and, more than that, it is a very intimate prayer.
Indeed, the beginning of the Our Father itself shows how much intimacy should exist between God and the one who prays. It is a prayer done by someone who already feels close to God. Jesus used himself to call God ‘Abba’, which would mean ‘daddy’. God is not only Our Father, but He is in heaven. The fact that we say that God, our loving Father, is in heaven, means that we are confident that He will grant our prayer (Lk11:13).
Thus, today’s readings encourage us to improve our way of praying. Our prayers during the Lenten season do not only need to multiply but also to become more intimate and we are invited to develop a loving and trusting relationship with God. It is only in that way that we won’t ‘babble’ like pagans do. That is also why we are encouraged to go into our rooms, lock the door, and pray quietly and confidently to Our father.