Venerable Bruno’s method: Our Father

Note: Part 11 on a series on the Mass.  Read the first part here. For an overview of Venerable Bruno’s method, go here.  For a PDF of the method, click here.

Note: This is also part 9 of a series of proclaiming the Word of God as a lector, who reads the 1st and/or 2nd Scripture passages at Mass.  Check out the beginning entry on reading the Bible.  For an overview of Ignatian prayer, click here.

Venerable Bruno Lanteri recommends these sentiments in his Spiritual Directory, “At the Our Father, that of a beggar.”

Background: Extraordinary Form of the Mass
(Tridentine Mass)

Because Venerable Bruno wrote his preparation for the Tridentine Mass, it would be good to see what is going on at this point in the extraordinary form of the Mass.

After the Roman Canon or Eucharistic Prayer 1, the priest invites the congregation to pray the Our Father.  He says aloud the prayer in Latin.  The servers complete the last part of the prayer (“but deliver us from evil”).  The priest says in a low voice, “Amen.”  Taking the paten between his first and second fingers, the priest recites the prayer that expands on “deliver us from evil.”  

Lesson: Do we earnestly desire to receive from God?

How many times do we say these words without thinking in the Mass?

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Venerable Bruno Lanteri recommends that when we pray the Our Father, we should have the sentiments of a beggar.  We might be scandalized that we must be a beggar before God the Father.  But Venerable Bruno aims to evoke that sense of childlike dependency on our loving Father, who provides for everything.  What loving father would not be touched by a child’s earnest request.  The beggars who came to Jesus believed that he had the power to heal them.  They knew that there is no one else to rely on.  We must also realize in our spiritual poverty that only God the Father can help us.

Do we really trust that God comes through in each petition of the Our Father?  Spiritual tip: We can foster appreciation for the Our Father by praying over each of the seven petitions.  If you need help, you can read the commentary by one of the Church Fathers below.

It is apt that the Lord’s Prayer follows the Eucharistic prayer.  The Our Father summarizes everything from the Eucharistic prayer.  The Eucharistic prayer addresses the Father and recounts how Jesus accomplishes His Father’s will and brings the Kingdom through his Passion and Resurrection.  The institution narratives fulfills the petition “give us this day our daily bread” by the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Jesus’ sacrifice present again in the Eucharist reminds us of God’s forgiveness.  The prayers for the Church and the dead seek help amid temptation and freedom from evil to enjoy the heavenly banquet with the Virgin Mary and all the saints.

Ignatian prayer also models the Mass in this regard.  After our experience with God in contemplation or mediation, our conversation with Him in the colloquy, the prayer culminates and ends on the Our Father.  It summarizes our experience in prayer.  The Lord’s Prayer reaffirms God as the Father looking at us with love and the desire for His will to be done.  We ask him for graces (e.g. physical and spiritual needs).  The prayer sets up the scene (composition) for a healthy relationship with the Father.  We trust that he seeks our good and not our destruction.

If the Our Father is said outside the liturgy like the Rosary or in private prayer, the “Amen” must be said at the end.  Paragraph 2856 of the Catechism quotes St. Cyril of Jerusalem: “Then, after the prayer is over you say ‘Amen,’ which means ‘So be it,’ thus ratifying with our ‘Amen’ what is contained in the prayer that God has taught us.”

Scripture passages for prayer:

Our Father

  1. Matthew 6:5-14: Jesus gives the Lord’s Prayer and counsels on prayer during the Sermon on the Mount.
  2. Luke 11:1-13: After a request by a disciple, Jesus gives the Lord’s Prayer and teaches about persevering in prayer.

Faith of beggars for healing

  1. Matthew 9:27-31 and Matthew 20:29-34: Jesus heals two blind men in two separate occasions.
  2. Mark 10:46-52: Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus.
  3. Luke 18:35-43: Jesus heals a beggar near Jericho.
  4. John 9: Jesus heals the man born blind.

Additional spiritual readings

The following Church Fathers commented on the Our Father: Tertullian, Cyprian and Origen (Chapter 13 to the end of his work On Prayer).

Reflection questions:

  1. What do you desire most from the Father?
  2. In what ways, can you live out the words of the Our Father?
  3. In what ways, have you fallen short of being a beloved son or daughter of the Father?  What steps can you take to grow closer to the Father?

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