Tuesday 17 January 2023

The Our Father - Father Andrea Gasparino - Catholic Truth Society

The Our Father
Father Andrea Gasparino
ISBN 9781860823305
CTS Booklet SP6

I found numerous other books with this exact title, and sometime s tracking down a specific one can prove difficult. This volume is currently out of print and harder to find. But it is well worth tracking down. I also believe this is one of only three books Father Andrea Gasparino available in English, and it is the second I have read. There appear to be several titles available in Italian, and a few in Spanish, Korean, and Polish. I picked up a polish copy of one for our parish priest who is a Polish Pallottine Father. A few years back I stumbled upon the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. I instantly fell in love with the clear and concise writing. I have been hooked ever since. I have read over 330 volumes and have over 200 on my wish list. This book was published in 2005, and it is a translation of the Italian edition from 1995.  

The description on the back of the book is:

“The prayer that Jesus taught his disciples is an inexhaustibly rich resource for every Christian. In this text Fr Gasparino explains that the Our Father is not so much a prayer to 'be said' as a prayer to 'be done'. A prayer that should be understood and then put into action in every part of our lives.”

And the chapters in this little volume are:

Our Father Who Art In Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name 
Thy Kingdom Come 
Thy Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven 
Give us this Day Our Daily Bread 
Forgive us our Trespasses
Lead us not into Temptation
Deliver us from Evil 

This was an awesome little read. And it is one I know I will return to again. There are some books I read and end up rereading them again every year for many years. This could become one of those volumes. I highlighted numerous passages while reading this book. Some of them as samples of the content in this great little volume are:

“In giving us the Our Father, Jesus gave us a way to pray. The Our father is not so much a prayer that is complete in itself, more a way of praying, a pattern for prayer; it is not so much a 'ready-made' prayer, more a prayer requiring further development; it is not so much a prayer that needs to 'be said'; bur more a prayer that needs to ‘be done'. It is a kind of route map to pray with.

The Our Father is much more then than a mere formula to be recited. To get the best out of it, we need to ponder it clause by clause and get right inside it, for we will find there a whole program.me fur our lives.”

“We have two versions of the Our Father. Biblical experts tell us that Luke's version appears to be the older one, while the version contained in Matthew perhaps represents a partial rewording of Luke’s original ...”

“After first addressing God as 'Our Father', we come before him with three commitments and three requests:

l. A commitment to bear witness: 'Hallowed be your name';
2. A commitment to faithfulness: 'Your kingdom come';
3. A commitment to love: ‘Your will be done’:
4. A request for God's; support: "Give us this day our bread':
5. A request for forgiveness of sins: ‘Forgive us our debts';
6. A request for salvation from evi1: Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

“Jesus teaches us to pray in the plural. Not one invocation in the Our Father is in the singular, not even the request for the forgiveness of sins. This means that Jesus understands prayer not just as a lifting up of our hearts to God, but also as a profound opening-up to our brothers.”

“When the Muslim prays he invariably expresses his veneration of the transcendence of God, but Jesus teaches us that it is not enough to be dazzled by God's transcendence, we must allow his goodness and his closeness to us, soften our hardness.”

“To hallow is a Semitic term. It can have two meanings:
1. To consecrate a profane thing to God, to treat a profane thing as holy. It is in this sense that in Exodus 20:8 we are told to ‘hallow the sabbath’
i.e. make it sacred to God:
2. Or it has the meaning of reverencing, of giving respect and trust.”

“’Hallowed be your name’ therefore signifies: ‘may respect, veneration, trust be given to your person’.”

“A careful study of the the Our Father reveals that it is composed of four parallel  clauses coupled together.

First parallelism
Our Father who art in heaven (who reign in the universe) / hallowed be your name 
(may it reign in us).

Second parallelism
May your kingdom come / may your will be clone.

Third parallelism
Give us this day our daily bread (material good) / forgive us our sins (spiritual good).

Fourth parallelism
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

“Front all that has been said so far we can conclude that the Kingdom is:

A big family
Gathered around the Father in heaven.
made up or persons or good will,
saved by God.
Devoted to good.
who fight against evil.
ready to do the wll of God in a perfect manner
as it is fulfilled in heaven.”

“There is a slow relentless battle for good that will last up to the end of the world. It is for this reason that the prayer ‘Your Kingdom come’ ought to be: constantly on our lips, since our participation in the Kingdom will always be under threat right up to the final definitive establishment or the eternal Kingdom of God.

“Why did Jesus invite us to ask for the coming of the Kingdom? Evidently because he wants us to desire it with all our hearts, simply because it is our greatest good to desire to fulfil the will of God with absolute faithfulness.”

“There can be no possible compromise between Christ and evil. Christ expects us to make a choice: ‘Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather in with me scatters.’ (Matthew 12:30)”

“The only moment that we possess is the present moment. The minute just past is no longer mine, the minute that is just coming is not yet mine. I am terribly but happily anchored to the situation of the present moment. I can live this situation in total presence or else I can leap over it, running away into the past or the future, i.e. denying to the present moment the devotion with which I ought to be living it.”

“The translation ‘give us this day our daily bread’ therefore involves an attempt to interpret this rare Greek word. The interpretation is faithful enough perhaps, but it might be amplified thus: ‘give us this day the bread necessary for today’.”

“Jesus makes great promises about the granting of prayers prayed in faith, but he makes no promise as to the when. He does not say at any point in the gospel that the Father will respond to your problem immediately. Often God's slowness to respond matures my view of the problem - or matures the problem itself. God's answers almost always go way beyond our petitions, he gives us much, much more than we asked for, but sometimes he responds rather late in the day.”

This is a fantastic little volume, and I hope those quotes give you a feel for it. This is another excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society. It is a volume that I highly recommend. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Father Andrea Gasparino:
Sexuality and Love

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