Daily Reflection
October 6th, 2004
Tom Bannantine, S.J.
Nursing School Chaplain
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Today’s gospel reading is short and simple.  But it reminds me that the most important lessons we learn from the scriptures are often short and simple.  Today our attention is focused on God the Father.  As I reflected on the words of this gospel I was reminded of the pictures of God that come to us from the Old Testament.  There is the just God who punishes sin as in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  There is the merciful God who spared Lot from that destruction.  There is the loving God who rewarded the fidelity of Abraham.  There is the faithful God who was always there for the people of Israel during the long history of the Old Testament.  In the Our Father God is just that; a father who takes care of his children.  And in saying this prayer I need to think of myself as really and truly a child of God.  My relationship to God should be like that of a child to a loving father.  As children respond with love to their father who shows his love for them, so should I respond to God.  And I do know that God loves me.  If I take a few moments to do it, I can think of many things that God has done for me.  I think of the difficult times in my life when God has heard my prayers for help.  I think of the good times when I was so grateful to God because especially good things happened to me.  I think of the times when I prayed to God for those close to me and how they were so appreciative of my prayers. 

When I pray the Our Father I relate to God as his child.  I ask him to watch over me and take care of me in my day-to-day life.  I tell him I’m sorry for the times I have offended him through my sins, and I beg his forgiveness.  I ask him to help me to forgive those who have hurt me.  And I ask God to help me to avoid eternal damnation and come instead to the eternal happiness of heaven.  But the biggest challenge of the Our Father for me is to say it with meaning for me.  Like most people, I say the Our Father over and over again in my daily life.  It becomes automatic and it is difficult to concentrate on the meaning of the words each time I say it.  So, for me, taking the time to do this reflection is a good thing.  It helps me to focus on the meaning of my relationship with God the Father, and it helps me to again make the intention to say the Our Father as meaningfully as possible each time I say it.

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