May 8, 2019

Once we embark on the daily practice of the Lord’s Prayer, we will find ourselves in question at many points, but, for a while, particularly as we begin. Certainly it is not possible to launch into the prayer while entrained in the current of our daily associations. This is often a powerful current, sweeping us up even in an early morning session. Because we are so easily snared, it is helpful not to check email on awakening, for example. Each… Read more

April 30, 2019

The widespread and growing and always increasingly adamant denial of God and the repudiation of the spiritual dimension can be difficult to comprehend. This denial is always expressed with total conviction, no agnosticism, or questioning generally admitted. It has long seemed to me that the inability to sense the sacred is a disability. The sense of the sacred is inherent in a human being. If this sense is lacking, it is no different from being without the ability to see,… Read more

April 23, 2019

The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer of a disciple. It is made in trust and dependence and with the assurance that it will be heard. If that assurance is lacking we can make a beginning anyway. We can pray in obedience, as a faithful disciple. Not in blind obedience, but relying upon our own response to the words and message of Jesus, even if the response is undeveloped and so deep that we have yet to fully apprehend it. We… Read more

April 16, 2019

During this week, Christians are gathered together. It is a dark week, and there is a heaviness, sensed to one degree or another among the observant and the non-observant, the devout and those in doubt. In all of us, something is stirred. Holy Week. During this brief time, fewer hairs are split, fewer lines drawn, less distinctions made. Christians are quieted. There is all of Passiontide ahead.  No one thinking yet of Resurrection. Now is the time when the test… Read more

April 10, 2019

For many, prayer is a problem. There may be an inescapable sense that one is not being sincere. Perhaps it is assumed that the very starting point of prayer is faith, and faith is apparently lacking. The language of prayers may seem outdated, even false. They don’t answer me and I have difficulty speaking them. My mind may be in a state of skepticism, doubt, even argument. What’s the point of prayer? Is it just false consolation? A dream? Self-delusion?… Read more

April 4, 2019

It has been fifteen years since I began to approach the Lord’s Prayer as a contemplative practice. Through all the gifts of life, through grief, loss, separation, change, the onset of old age, the Lord’s Prayer has been a constant. There have been long periods when it seemed the prayer held me fast and nothing could disturb its embrace. And long periods—weeks, months— when it seemed to have abandoned me. Teresa of Avila said of the Lord’s Prayer that “if… Read more

April 1, 2019

The following series of movements of the body are based on ancient Christian prayer postures. Each phrase of the prayer is accompanied by a particular posture. From an attitude of containment, the postures move upward, downward, and outward, returning again to one of containment, completing a circle. These postures may be taken standing, or sitting on a cushion or a chair. Move through them several times, learning the postures thoroughly before praying within them. Maintain an awareness of the whole… Read more

March 28, 2019

Pull on any thread of the Our Father, and you will soon find yourself enfolded in the whole cloth. The parable of the debtor who was forgiven an enormous debt but refused to forgive a far smaller debt owed to him was read during liturgy this week and brought to mind the vast scope of this phrase of the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts just as we have forgiven our debtors.” We read of those in centuries past who,… Read more

March 25, 2019

We are accustomed to viewing conscience in terms of right and wrong. Definitions of conscience refer again and again to the moral sphere and there is today the widespread assumption that the moral strictures dictated by conscience are somewhat flexible, depending both on the historical moment and the cultural context. So nothing much to see there–conscience is relative, more or less successfully drilled into the young to make the little savages somewhat adapted to serving the greater good. But these… Read more

March 21, 2019

We embark on a journey into the unknown each time we encounter the Lord’s Prayer. We are unknown to ourselves, and the meaning of the prayer is only partially perceived at each approach. Familiarity with the taste of my habitual self and with the words of the prayer do nothing to alter these essential truths: for most of us, each time we begin, God is a concept, the prayer itself is an idea, and I myself am not present. My… Read more




Browse Our Archives