Today is a day of reflection and renewal for Christian people all over the world for today Our Lord has risen again in our minds and in our hearts. There is also a prayer that binds all Christians together whether they are Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Baptist, Quaker, Methodist, Congregationalist, Fundamentalist, Presbyterian, or one of the many other Christian sects that I would mention here if I could only remember them all. It is the prayer that Jesus taught to his disciples that we call the “Lord's Prayer” or the “Our Father”. There are a couple of things that I would like to remind you about this prayer in these uncertain and troubled times when so many people are worried about money and about their future.
When I first came to Mexico I went to live with Padre Humberto and Padre Joel in a big parish house in a little town in the state of Nuevo León. I didn't speak much Spanish and they spoke no English at all. The first thing that they made me understand is that they were not going to learn English just for me so I needed to learn Spanish in a hurry. Padre Humberto accelerated the process right off the bat by telling me that I had to learn to recite the “Padre Nuestro” (The Our Father) in Spanish before I could eat. After that he threw in a new prayer at regular intervals to keep me going. As I was memorizing the Our Father in Spanish I had a chance to focus in on the individual words. Many people have a habit of reciting the Our Father by starting out strong with a loud “Our Father who art in heaven” and then they start downhill with a muffled mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble and then finish it off with a loud AMEN! When you study the prayer word for word there are certain things that pop out at you.
The first thing that came to mind is the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread”. I took note that He didn't say “Give us this day our weekly bread”, or “Give us this day our monthly supply” or even “Give us this day our sack of wheat”. He simply told us to ask for today's bread and have faith that tomorrow is a different day entirely. In Matthew 6:34 He reminded us: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. The same people who got through many hard times including wars and recessions, unemployment, taxes, sickness, injury, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes are constantly worried about what is going to happen next. Well, we got this far haven't we? If we got this far then what the heck, we are probably going farther and the going will be easier if we are all singing the same tune.
The second thing that came to mind is the phrase “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. I am sure that most of us take this to mean that we are asking God to forgive our sins in proportion to the forgiveness that we have shown to others. I don't know about you but this is my real weak spot. Anyway, it was interesting to me that the original texts used the words “debt” and “debtors” instead of “trespasses” and “trespass”. Here it is in the Latin version:
Et dīmittē nōbīs dēbita nostra, sīcut et nōs dīmittimus dēbitōribus nostrīs.
And forgive (literally "drop") our debts, as we forgive (literally "drop") our debtors.
This is something to think about in these days of bailouts, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and layoffs et cetera. God is telling us to let bygones be bygones or as we say in Spanish “Borrar y cuenta nueva” (erase and start counting over).
On Easter Sunday over two billion Christians will recite the Our Father in one language or another. Some will mumble it and some will concentrate on the words and pray sincerely. There is another large group of “Christians” who have either forgotten the prayer or haven't recited it since they were little kids. I have written it out below in both Spanish and English. Perhaps you would like to recite it with me or perhaps those of you who live here in Mexico would like to learn it in Spanish. Whatever the case may God bless you and I hope that you have a Happy Easter.
Padre nuestro, que estás en el cielo,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Santificado sea tu Nombre.
Hallowed be thy Name.
Venga a nosotros tu reino.
Thy kingdom come.
Hágase tu voluntad,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
En la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día;
Give us this day our daily bread;
Perdona nuestras ofensas,
And forgive us our trespasses,
Como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden;
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
No nos dejes caer en la tentación,
And lead us not into temptation,
Y líbranos del mal. Amen
But deliver us from evil. Amen
[Porque Tuyo es el Reino, el Poder y la Gloria por siempre, Señor. Amén.]
[For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.]
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