Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our Father

“He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins for we too forgive all who do us wrong; and subject us not to the trial.” Luke 11:2-4

John asked Jesus to teach them to pray and He started immediately with Father. What Father wouldn’t give us what we need as long as it is right for us? The Father is there for us not just for daily nourishment but to provide and to forgive and to protect and to open himself to accept us as we are. All we have to do is call upon the Father and He is here.
My first day of grade school found me in the middle of a class filled with children, most of whom knew each other from attending a different school’s kindergarten the previous year. Although I didn’t go to kindergarten, I was excited about going to the same school as my five siblings and wearing my sister’s uniform but nervous to find my best friend Maureen in the class across the hall with a different teacher. She had Ms. Elsie, one of the favorite teachers in the school while I encountered my first Dominican Sister, Sister Christine. I guessed I would get a sister because my mom was tight with the principal, Sr. Jane Dominic. I could picture them discussing the importance of me being around the good sisters as often as possible. My mom hoping that some of that pure white would rub off on me and somehow save me.
As the very first bell rang and announcements were made and prayers said over the intercom, we were asked to take our seats. We then went from row to row saying our names out loud. The first order of business from there was to learn to pray as Jesus had taught us to pray. As Sr. Christine began the Our Father, she no sooner got the word Father out of her mouth then I burst into tears. Very simply, I missed my dad and wanted to go home. Instead, Sister sent one of the other students to the second grade classroom for my sister Donna who was able to calm me down enough to get me up to the office. Inside Sr. Jane Dominic’s office, we ate ice cream and she talked about my mom and grandmother. She made me feel comfortable enough to go back to class but Sr. Christine passing on the Our Father would have to wait a few months.

Lord, teach me to pray. Teach me to call upon You for my daily bread; that which nourishes the body and that which nourishes the soul, just as the rains nourish the earth. Help me to trust in You in all my uncertainties. Forgive me of my doubts and my selfishness and teach me to forgive and to let go of the pettiness I hold against others. Open my heart that I may love others and come to You with all my needs.

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