Ampleforth Abbey

25 February 2018

Echoes of the Word 24th July 2016

Commentary on Luke 11:1-13 (The Lord's Prayer)

After teaching his disciples the Our Father, Jesus says: “If you, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” The Our Father makes no mention of the Holy Spirit, so this comment is somewhat unexpected. Moreover, Matthew’s version of this saying reads simply: “…give good things...” Luke’s version expresses the fact the Our Father isn’t just a ‘shopping list’ of miscellaneous requests. We are praying to become more like Jesus, who addressed God with absolute trust as his Father,
who glorified God’s name by his whole life (cf. Jn 12:28),
who brought God’s kingdom into people’s lives,
whose daily bread was to do his Father’s will (cf. Jn 4:34),
who proclaimed God’s mercy and forgave his own enemies,
who, ‘full of the Holy Spirit’ (Lk 4:1), overcame temptation,
who was delivered from the power of evil by God and raised to life by his Spirit (Rom 8:11).
And it is the Spirit of Jesus, God’s Spirit, who makes us children of God in Jesus and will make us like Jesus, if we only ask and keep asking. Perhaps the Our Father was the prayer the confused but trustful disciples were praying when the Holy Spirit erupted into their lives at Pentecost…

A monk of Ampleforth

Forgive us our trespasses - A Reflection

It's so striking that when Jesus forgives sins, as much as he cleans the slate, he uses our weakness to fill us with his love, to love us more abundantly. Of the paralytic he asked, “Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk?'” Or to Dismas the good thief he said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Or of the woman who anointed his feet with precious oil, “because her many sins have been forgiven, she has loved much.”
Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. What does perfect mean? Perfect looks, income, clothes and car; the perfect of advertising? A perfectly ordered life, perfect knowledge of the truth, perfect service of the community? Our perfection is not a goal to be achieved, like the young rich man sent away disappointed, perfect in the law. Perfection for us is the gift of friendship with God; something we can’t take for ourselves. Those he forgives and heals in the gospels are not those whose lives are models of perfection, but those whose lives depend on hope in his mercy. Moses spoke to God “as a friend”, for he was the “most humble in all the earth.” Let us turn the soil of our lives in prayer and find the place where only God’s love will do.

Br Ambrose Henley OSB