The WORD in other words by Sister Panganiban SSpS – Manila
Thursday 11th Week in Ordinary Time
The Our Father must be one of the first prayers we learned as children. It is so familiar to us that, at times, it gets hard to be truly present to the words we say, to be with the Father we address.
Today, allow me to invite you to pray beyond words. Yes, let us say nothing at all and just be fully present to our God, our Father, our Mother, our Elder. Maybe we do not even know what to say, or we could have gotten tired of what we have been saying again and again. So silence could be a welcome posture, a welcome opportunity to just be with God.
For that is how precisely the way Jesus introduces this prayer in the preceding verses of Matthew 6: “When you pray, be alone in your room with God; do not use so many words; for your Father knows what you need even before you ask him (Mt 6: 6-8).
Therefore, what matters most is to acknowledge God as God, as our Father – loving, caring, forgiving, without condition; who dwells within me, who reigns over me and the whole of creation. Thus, we recognize that we are his children, his beloved, for whose needs he provides every day; whose failures he does not record and therefore calls us to forgive ourselves and one another seventy times seven times.
Entering into the silence of our room, we are led into contemplative prayer. Entering into our inner self, we meet ourselves as we are—graced, saved, endowed with the same goodness of God, empowered by his Spirit to be transformed. Accepting the transformative goodness in ourselves, we are able to see the goodness in others as well.
Praying beyond words sharpens the lens of our heart, attunes us to his divine indwelling, helps us to be simply dependent on his love and care, and impels us to reach out to others as fellow children of the same Father. We do not need so many words. We just have to be fully present to our Father. This is the posture of a child secure on its mother’s lap, wrapped in its father’s arms. He is no other than Our Father.