Sunday, July 24, 2016

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. The Lord's Prayer, which St. Thomas Aquinas calls "the most perfect of prayers," is at the heart of today's Gospel (Luke 11: 1-13). St. Augustine tells us that "I do not think you will find any holy prayer in Scripture that is not contained and included in the Lord's Prayer." Ask, and it will be given to you, Our Lord continues, seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

This morning's Vigils reading on prayer is from a homily by St. Bede the Venerable:
Praying Hands (Albrecht Dürer)
We should consider most seriously and attentively what these words of the Lord may mean for us, for they warn that not the idle and feckless but those who ask, seek, and knock will receive, find, and have the door opened to them. We must therefore ask for entry into the kingdom by prayer, seek it by upright living, and knock at its door by perseverance. Merely to ask verbally is not enough; we must also diligently seek to discover how to live so as to be worthy of obtaining what we ask for. We know this from our Savior’s words: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my heavenly Father.

There is a need, then, for constant and unflagging prayer. Let us fall upon our knees with tears before our God and Maker; and that we may deserve a hearing, let us consider carefully how he who made us wishes us to live, and what he has commanded us to do. Let us seek the Lord and his strength; let us constantly seek his face.

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