State of our union

Today’s Gospel (Mt 6:7-15), the Matthew account of Jesus instructing his disciples on how to pray (Lord’s Prayer), we are asked, I think, to assess the state of our union with God.

One nun on Opera a few weeks ago commented that it is difficult being married to Christ, because if something goes wrong, she knows it’s always her fault.

Same with us. Jesus explains the way we are to pray. When we feel distant from the Lord, we can be sure that it is our problem.

Jesus explains that we are not to be like the Gentiles, who simply babble in prayer–as if the more we spoke, the better God will look upon us. Jesus tells them that God knows what we want already, so we don’t need to waste time going on and on about our own messes and trials and successes.

Prayer is that which we use to learn from God what we need and what others need from us and what the Church needs from us. We often approach God as if we are the ones who know what we need. Reality check: he knows and we don’t.

When we fill our prayers with empty words–prayers that, in our brisk recitation of them, mean nothing to us or God–then we fall into this trap. And God isn’t able to get a word in edgewise–and even when he does we don’t listen.

Fr. Denis reminded us that we are too occupied with our kingdom and too little occupied with his.

We should also consider the state of our union with others. Dorothy Day once commented that “You can love God only as much as you the neighbor you love the least.” We are forgiven to the extent that we forgive others.

And so the Lord’s Prayer challenges us to seek unity with others and unity with God.