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Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Understanding “OUR FATHER”: Biblical Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer by: Scott Hahn

Understanding “OUR FATHER”:
Biblical Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer
Scott Hahn
Emmaus Road Publishing
ISBN 1931018154

Depending on who you talk to Scott Hahn is either a hero or a turncoat. He was raised Presbyterian, and was even on the fast track to be a president at a Presbyterian seminary when he began to doubt two protestant main stays: ‘by scripture alone’ and ‘by faith alone’. So he did what any academically trained person would do, he decided to research and went back to school to do a masters in Roman Catholic thought, eventually converting to Catholicism. Since then he has been a prolific writer and speaker on things Catholic, and why the catholic faith is the one true valid faith.

This book is part academic treatise and part faith discovery. The book will lead you through each of the different petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, both in historical perspective and in reflection for what it should mean for us today. The sections are:

Part 1 Contemporary Reflections by Scott Hahn

0. Introduction
1. Our Father

2. Our Father … In Heaven
3. Hallowed Be Thy Name
4. Thy Kingdom Come
5. Thy Will Be Done
6. On Earth As It Is In Heaven
7. Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
8. Forgive Us … As We Forgive
9. Lead Us Not Into Temptation
10. Temptation Part II
11. Deliver Us from Evil
12. The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory
13. Last Words

Part 2 Wisdom From The Fathers Of The Church

14. Saint Cyprian: Treatise on the Lord’s Prayer
15. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem: Mystagogic Cathechesis
16. Saint John Chrysostom: Homily XIX on the Gospel of Matthew
17. Saint Augustine: Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount

Hahn open’s up this prayer in ways you could never imagine. I have been serious about being a Christian for nearly 20 years and this little book helped me to see this prayer in a whole new light.

Why Bother?
Still, it’s fair to ask, Why Bother to pray, ‘Thy will be done’? Isn’t it presumptuous, or even redundant? Isn’t God’s will what happens anyway? Why pray for God’s will? It Seems like praying for gravity to continue.

The answer is simple. When we pray. ‘Thy will be done,’ we do not change or strengthen the will of God, but we do change and strengthen ourselves. Such prayer disposes our hearts to de the will of the Father.” p31,32

Hahn goes on to say later: “Often, it seems that people pray in order to change God’s mind. But God is eternal, perfect, unchanging, and unchangeable. We pray so that God can change our minds.” p74 what would our lives be like is we truly prayed for the fathers will to be done. Later Hahn states: “First in importance is the centrality of divine fatherhood and our share – our real participation – in Christ’s divine sonship.

Next, notice how the Fathers insist that our goal is virtue, and not mere learning.” p75 That is why the second part of the book goes into the writings of the church fathers. To show us that intellectual understanding is not enough, it must impact our hearts and move us to action and a deeper relationship with God. This book will help you move from your head to your heart, but it will feed both mind and spirit.

Other Reviews of Hahn's Books.

Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace: My Spiritual Journey in Opus Dei
Letter and Spirit (Version 1)
Letter and Spirit (Version 2)
Understanding “OUR FATHER”: Biblical Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer

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