Why We Don't Babble

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

Friends do not talk at each other; they talk to each other. This simple truth, confirmed by our own experience of freindship, lies at the heart of Christ's teaching on prayer. Talk to God, Jesus instructs his disciples when giving them the Our Father. Talk to him, as to a friend, and not at him. In today's Gospel passage, Jesus warnes his disciples against babbling their prayers like the pagans. Why do they babble, believing they will be heard because of their many words? Because they do not know their gods. They enjoy no real relationship with them. So the pagans speak at their gods. They babble, throwing their words up to the heavens hoping that some of them might find a receptive ear. Jesus is right. This is not prayer, but rather hopeless chatter. We sons and daughters of the Father do no babble in prayers, for we know the one to whom we pray. Christ has shown us the Father. We know his truth. We know his love. We know his power. Therefore, when at prayer, we speak to the Father as to a friend. The Our Father reveals what this conversation should look like - the union of two wills, one divine and the other human, in mutual desire. What wonder! In Christian faith and hope, the creature speaks to the Creator - in love.

Reflection based on Matthew 6:7-15
Father Aquinas Guilbeau, OP

Heavenly Father, perfect our faith, so that knowing you
we may speak to you and with you in love.
May the Lord's Prayer form our every prayer to you.

Today's suggested penance: Spend ten minutes slowly meditating on the Our Father.