Friday 6 April 2018

Our Father Reflections on the Lord's Prayer - Pope Francis

Our Father:
Reflections on the Lord's Prayer
Pope Francis
Image Books
ISBN 9780525576112
eISBN 9780525576129

I was very excited to read this book. I have read many terrific books about this prayer, especially Scott Hahn's Understanding the Our Father. But this book is a little different. This book is a conversation. The introduction states:
"In this book, a conversation with Fr. Marco Pozza, a priest and prison chaplain from Padua, Italy, the pope offers his heartfelt thoughts on the universal prayer for strength, mercy, and forgiveness. 
To mark this special celebration, this book is supplemented with some of Pope Francis's most thoughtful meditations on the Lord's Prayer from throughout his papacy."
This book is part teaching, part reflection and part devotion. It was compiled from the conversations and with slight editing presented as a cohesive and easily approached and engaged work.

The chapters in this volume are:
A Note to Readers
Preface by Pope Francis: Pray to the Father
Our Father
"I Will Not Leave You Orphans"
Who Art in Heaven
Fathers and the Our Father
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Prayer in the Work of Salvation
Thy Kingdom Come
The Kingdom of God Needs Our Participation
Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven
Mary's Total "Yes" to the Will of God
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
Feed the Hungry
And Forgive Us Our Trespasses as We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us
Training for Giving and for Forgiveness
And Lead Us Not into Temptation
The Foundation of Our Hope
But Deliver Us from Evil
The Weeds Amid the Good Wheat
The Lord's Prayer
The Prayer of Grandparents Is a Treasure
Afterword by Marco Pozza: An Our Father Among the Imprisoned

I did really enjoy this book. But Wish it had been more in depth. The physical book is listed as 144 pages and the eBook edition as 113. But even with formatting that is generous. The book can easily be read in a single sitting. You could choose to read it in such a fashion or take each section and read them on consecutive days on daily devotions over three weeks. In the chapter Fathers and the Our Father, Pope Francis states:

"The first thing needed is this: that the father be present in the family. That he be close to his wife, to share everything, joys and sorrows, hardships and hopes. A father needs to be close to the children as they grow up; when they are playing and when they are working on a task; when they are carefree and when they are troubled. He needs to be there when they are outgoing and when they are withdrawn; when they are daring and when they are fearful; when they make a misstep and when they get back on track; the father must be present, always. Being present does not mean being in control! Because fathers who control too much are crushing their children, they are not letting them grow up."
This was one of the most impactful paragraphs. Especially when considering the afterwards and Marco Pozza's ministry in prisons, and the men there trying to turn around their lives.

Overall it was an enjoyable read and I am thankful that I read it. But comparing it to some of Pope Francis's other writings some of the themes are similar and will feel familiar. But still worth the read.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

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