José Antonio Pagola shares some suggestions for praying the Lord’s Prayer during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Lord’s prayer is a brief prayer and the only prayer that Jesus left as a heritage to his followers. It is a prayer of surprises … all Christians pray these words and yet the prayer makes no reference of Christ … this prayer is prayed in every Church and yet the prayer makes no reference to any church … Catholics proclaim this prayer every Sunday during the celebration of the Eucharist and yet the prayer makes no reference to any religion. J.D. Crossan states that the Lord’s prayer is a revolutionary prayer that proclaims a new vision of history. It is a radical statement and a hymn of hope in a language that is addressed to the whole universe.
Our Father who are in heaven:
You are our Father, therefore remember that we are all your daughters and sons. You are in heaven because you are part of all people; you are not bound to any one church nor to any sacred place on earth; you belong to no one people nor to any privileged race; you are not the property of any one specific religion; you do not belong just to those people who are “good”; everyone can call upon you as Father.
Holy be your name:
In these painful times, our first desire is that all humankind recognize and respect your name as Father; that no one show disrespect by harming one of your daughters or sons; that we not cease to trust you; that the name of all the gods and idols that dehumanize us be banished: the money that divides us and does not allow us to be brothers and sisters, the violence that feeds our wars and the power that leads us to despise the weak and the vulnerable.
Your kingdom come:
If you reign among us, then justice and equality and peace will reign on the earth; we will be able to confront the problems of the planet; united as sisters and brothers we will be able to overcome the pandemic that afflict humankind; the rich will not lord it over the poor; the powerful of the earth will not abuse the weak; men will not oppress and dominate women … may your kingdom come and may fraternity and communion reign on earth
May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven:
May your will and not ours be done. The coronavirus is revealing to us that everything on earth is unfinished and measured. We do not want to understand that we human beings are fragile and vulnerable; that we cannot attain here on earth the fullness that we long for from the depths of our being. Father we can only trust your unfathomable goodness. Let us not do what we want, wants driven by selfishness, consumerism and self-interest. Let us do what you want because you are always seeking that which is good for all people.
Give us today our daily bread:
In these difficult times that our world is passing through, may no one lack break. We do not ask for money or well-being; we do not want to be able to accumulate wealth; we only ask that you give everyone their daily bread. May this coronavirus pandemic be a reminder to us that the gift of life is primary: but we also pray that those who are hungry may eat, that those who are poor will cease to cry and that those countries that are well-situation, might welcome into their midst immigrants and refugees so that they too might be able to live and have a home.
Forgive us our trespasses:
Father, forgive us our trespasses: our indifference, our unbelief, our resistance to placing out complete trust in you. Throughout these past years we have experienced much change within ourselves. We have become more critical but have revealed less integrity. We have become more indifferent to everything but our own well-being and more vulnerable to the consequence of any crisis. We find it difficult to believe, but even more difficult to believe in nothing. Father, forgive us and inspire our interior life.
As we forgive those who trespass against us:
At this time when we overwhelmed with the discovery of our impotence before the inevitable reality of death, we also want to mutually forgive one another. We do not want to reject and resent anyone. We want to live during this difficult time as sisters and brothers to one another.
Do not allow us to fall into temptation:
We are weak and limited and we are experiencing that weakness and limitation as never before. We are always exposed to the risk of making decisions and committing errors that can ruin our life and the life of others. Therefore, do not allow us to fall into the temptation of forgetting you and rejecting you, our Father. Inspire us to trust in your goodness. You open paths that enable us find you in others: believers and non-believers, atheists and agnostics. May we all experience your silent strength moving within us.
Deliver us from evil:
We are responsible for our mistakes and also possible for the victims we leave behind. Evil and injustice do simply find a place in ourselves as persons. Evil and injustice also reside in structures and institutions, in politics and in religion. Therefore, we conclude our prayer with a cry: Father, uproot us from all that is evil! One day the fullness of joy that we desire will become a reality … the joys and blessings which we have experienced on earth, as well as the bitter and painful experiences that we have lived … the love and justice and solidarity that we have sown as well as the mistakes and abuses that we have committed … all of these will be transformed into the fullness of joy.
There will be no more death or sorrow, no more sadness or crying! A Christian text written in one of the first communities places the following words in the mouth of God: To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water (Revelation 21:6). A free will gift is to say “no” to our own merits; to the thirsty … who does not thirst for eternal life. Every person has to decide how they want to live and how they want to die. I believe and trust in the ultimate mystery of the reality that some people dry out to “God” and others to “Energy” and other to “the Transcendent One” and still other to “no on and nothing” … such is the mystery of Good in which we will all encounter the Fullness our existence. AMEN.
Author: José Antonio Pagola