Sister Doreen’s Reflections
The Lord’s Prayer is Jesus’s own prayer. When you pray it, imagine yourself standing alongside Jesus addressing this prayer to God.
Jesus gathers up the whole of life in this prayer. It deals with our physical needs, our relational needs, and our spiritual needs – our past, our present, and our future. I share some meditations from various translation sources again to help us deepen our relationship with God using a prayer that is so familiar to us.
Meditation inspired by De Chardin on The Lord’s Prayer
(Matthew 6: 9-13)
- Jesus’s idea of God uses the Aramaic word Alaha, its root means “sacred Oneness” – God is Oneness – a sacred Union or Unity that embraces all that exists, all that can be seen and all that is unseen: embracing everyone and everything that exists exactly as it exists at any moment, including good and bad.
- When Jesus says things about God and the kingdom of God, his words are based on this concept or understanding of God as all-embracing Oneness that loves and embraces everything.
- If we pray with this same picture of God, we will no longer feel the need to be overly concerned or obsessed with being bad, sinful, or unworthy. Rather, with this image of God as sacred Oneness we are set free to focus on God’s love of us just the way we are right now. And we know for certain that no one can take that divine love from us.
- Jesus uses the word Abwoon (not Abba or Daddy) whose love wants to gather everything into Oneness.
- Abwoon – a love that cannot keep from expressing itself outwardly – God’s self-outpouring is like a continuous rainfall where the raindrops are made of love and grace. We all have felt this powerful force of love wanting to express itself outwardly to others – in words, hugs, kisses, gifts, blessings, and actions.
- Jesus uses the Aramaic word bwashmaya = the heavens: a much richer meaning than heaven as the place we go after we die. Jesus imagines not merely a collection of galaxies, stars and planets in outer space but sees the outpouring of God’s blessings on all of God’s created reality. For Jesus, heaven is a cosmic divine milieu pulsing with God’s love.
In this way God dwells not in some distant, transcendent heavenly sphere, but is lovingly and actively present in and through everything that was, is, or will be – constantly breathing loving existence and blessing into everything that exists. This is the kingdom of God that Jesus has come to announce. This is the good news, the gospel message.
Aramaic words of the Lord’s prayer paraphrased:
Our Father who art in heaven:
O! Sacred Oneness, unconditionally loving parent, you continually reveal yourself by giving birth and ripeness to everyone and everything that has existed, exists now, as well as all that is still waiting to be revealed.
Hallowed by thy name:
May the experience of your holy oneness – the breath, the sound, the colours, the vibrations of your name and your creation – resound and reverberate in our hearts.
Thy Kingdom come:
May we desire, as deeply as you desire, that your compassionate and caring guidance will permeate the world and give birth to the loving unity of all things, the oneness that you desire.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven:
May your heavenly heart’s desire become the heart’s desire of all of us during our lives on Earth, as we are supported by this planet you gave us for our home.
Give is this day our daily bread:
Please fill us with your daily blessings, especially the spiritual nutrition we need for our growth, both personally and for our life with others.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us:
Wash us completely clean from what keeps us from truly loving ourselves, as we release others from what keeps us from loving them.
And lead us not into temptation:
Don’t let us be seduced by the surface fascination of things that would divert or distract us from the true purpose of our lives.
But deliver us from evil:
Set us free from our immaturity, our self-absorption, our un-ripeness so that we may do for you what needs to get done. Amen.
A paraphrase of the four petition according to Matthew’s Greek text:
Kindly keep providing for us the full nourishment we need each day (implied: you have always done it for us and we know you will keep doing it)
Kindly keep forgiving us for our transgressions and we will keep forgiving those who transgress us.
You are most gracious for not letting us be caught off guard when trials and temptations occur (or: being tricked into temptation)
And kindly keep coming to our rescue when we are being diminished (e.g. by weakness, sickness, loss, disaster, the cruelty of others)
The more that I ponder this familiar prayer – the more I feel that it is a treasure store for all our prayer. It becomes even a wordless prayer, an embrace of hearts (mine and God’s), embraced for the fullness of life for myself, for each other, and for all of creation and the universe.