My parish has Perpetual Adoration, with parishioners taking turns being there in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Anyone can come and go, but, at least in theory, every hour has at least one person committed to being there every week. Wednesdays at 6AM are mine.
I usually start off with a rosary, then do morning prayer, and finish off with some time meditating on the Mass readings for the day. Today’s Gospel is a nice one–Luke’s take on the Our Father:
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”
The Our Father is my fall back prayer when I just don’t know what to say. I never get tired of it, and it seems like there is always something new to discover.
What stood out for me today was the intimacy of Jesus giving this prayer to his apostles. What do I mean by that? Well…bear with my clumsy words and clumsy analogy for just a minute.
Before I begin, let me say that in real life, I had a pretty sheltered and stable upbringing. I have a cool father and family.
But for just a moment, imagine you’re a broken little kid from a broken home, unsure of yourself, lonely, longing for love and forgiveness and acceptance. And then you meet this guy, Jesus, who takes you under his wing, claims you as a brother.
He has a relationship with his father you can only envy, and his father is everything you’ve never really had: loving, forgiving, merciful, kind. And your new friend tells you to call him father. “Daddy,” even. It’s sort of embarrassing and sort of wonderful. He’s totally bringing you into his perfect family, telling you to forget whatever came before.
“I can’t,” you tell him. “I mean, what would I even say to him?”
And so, he tells you. He encourages you, and gives you words. It’s so generous, and so gentle.
I’m not good at talking to strangers. I’m not good at new situations. I love that Jesus not only shares his Father with us, but also takes the time to give his disciples guidance as they learn to pray, gives them a formula to fall back on.
Maybe some of them were awkward introverts like me. I kinda like that idea.