To pray with Jesus, Part 2

21 Nov

Moving into the essence of God seems at once a distant unreachable height or a depth obscured by our own confusion over who and what we are in relation to God. Jesus came to help us through that.

In my Nov. 8 blog, “To Pray with Jesus,” I asked you, dear readers, to share with me your experience in asking Jesus to pray the Lord’s Prayer with you.

Oh, oh, no takers.

Perhaps it was rather presumptuous of me to ask you to share something so personal. It’s just that personal insights are a great gift from God and are often too precious to be locked up in the depths of one’s heart and soul.

“Bloom where you are planted,” the old adage goes. Yes, bloom where you are planted, but pollinate, pollinate and pollinate some more. (Perhaps this metaphor stretches “pollinate,” but … oh well.)

Let’s move to the mind of Jesus as he prayed that perfect prayer. He prayed in his human nature, as a man whose humanity was created by God but as the Son of God who is coequal with the Father and the Spirit. This is a great mystery – but we can’t downplay either his humanity or his divinity without belying the mystery of the Incarnation – and therefore the reality of our salvation through the birth, life, passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. In Jesus, his divine and human natures are distinct. His divine nature did not in any way cause him to live a lesser humanity. His humanity did not detract from his divine nature.

So, when Jesus of Nazareth taught us to pray the Our Father, he prayed as a human being – a human being free from any taint of sin, a human being who was totally obedient to the Father. He was the New Adam, the One who was to reverse the sin of Adam and Eve and reconcile us with the Father. He did this in his human nature. But we can never forget that the Son of God assumed to himself this human nature, so it was God who became one of us in all things except sin.

Our Father …

God is indeed Father of the Son – but Jesus, in  his humanity, says, “Our Father.” This is the astounding truth his entire life and death reveal to us. God is our Father. This was a new revelation his disciples might not have fully understood until after his resurrection and ascension. He is more “Father” than we realized before Jesus came to us. Jesus spoke of the Father as “Abba,” an intimate and endearing name equivalent to “Daddy” or “Dad.”

In calling God “our Father,” Jesus makes it clear that he is one with us, one of us, the One for us – and when we surrender to him and enter into his life and love for all humanity, we are one IN him and the Father.

… in heaven:

Here is a danger – a cloudy understanding of heaven can keep us distant from our Abba, our Father. Heaven, for us, is often something way out there, way beyond our mental and emotional grasp. Jesus brought heaven to earth. God is heaven. When we go to heaven we go to and into God. So, heaven, Jesus wants us to understand, is present here and now when we are united to the Father. But heaven is not yet fully realized.

This “heaven-here-and-now” is however veiled and tarnished by distress, anxiety, sin and suffering. But it need not be so. The Church offers us the sacraments of life, of mercy and of healing. The Spirit gives us understanding and wisdom. In faith, we can find God’s mercy and wisdom in any given situation. I am reminded of a parishioner who was dying with cancer. She brought joy and courage into the lives of families and friends. She faced death with courage and, I would say, with peace and joy.

For her, “heaven-here-and-now” was not totally veiled, not totally tarnished.

… holy is your name: To be continued.

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