The Our Father
from St. Louis De Montfort
The Our Father, or the Lord’s prayer, has great value – above all because of its Author, who is neither a man nor an angel but the King of angels and men, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Saint Cyprian says that it was fitting that our Savior by whom we were reborn into the life of grace should also be our heavenly Master and should teach us how to pray.
The beautiful order, the tender forcefulness, and the clarity of this divine prayer pay tribute to our divine Master’s wisdom. It is a short prayer but can teach us so very much, and it is well within the grasp of uneducated people, while scholars find it a continual source of meditation on the mysteries of our Faith.
The Our Father contains all the duties we owe to God, the acts of all the virtues, and the petitions for all our spiritual and corporal needs. Tertullian says that the Our Father is a summary of the New Testament. Thomas à Kempis says that it surpasses all the desires of all the saints; that it is a condensation of all the beautiful sayings of all the Psalms and Canticles; that in it we ask God for everything that we need; that by it we praise Him in the very best way; that by it we lift up our souls from earth to Heaven and unite them with God.
Saint John Chrysostom says that we cannot be our Master’s disciples unless we pray as He did and in the way that He showed us. Moreover, God the Father listens more willingly to the Prayer that we have learned from His Son rather than those of our own making, which have all our human limitations.
We should say the Our Father with the certitude that the eternal Father will hear it, because it is the prayer of His Son whom He always hears, and we are His members. God will surely grant our petitions made through the Lord’s Prayer because it is impossible to imagine that such a good Father could refuse a request couched in the language of so worthy a Son, reinforced by His merits, and made at His behest.
Saint Augustine says that whenever we say the Our Father devoutly, our venial sins are forgiven. The just man falls seven times a day, but in the Lord’s Prayer, he will find seven petitions that will both help him to avoid downfalls and will protect him from his spiritual enemies. Our Lord, knowing how weak and helpless we are and how many difficulties we get into, made His Prayer short and easy to say, so that if we say it devoutly and often, we can be sure that Almighty God will quickly come to our aid.