Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

“He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“I think that one of Jesus’ disciples was conscious in himself of human weakness, which falls short of knowing how we ought to pray…. Are we then to conclude that a man who was brought up in the instruction of the law, who heard the words of the prophets and did not fail to attend the synagogue, did not know how to pray until he saw the Lord praying “in a certain place”? It would certainly be foolish to say this. The disciple prayed according to the customs of the Jews, but he saw that he needed better knowledge about the subject of prayer.

Perhaps we should pray only to the God and Father of all, to whom even our Savior himself prayed, as we have explained, and to whom he taught us to pray. When he heard “teach us to pray,” he did not teach us to pray to himself but to the Father by saying “Our Father in heaven and so forth.”

When the saints give thanks to God in their prayers, they acknowledge through Christ Jesus the favors he has done. If it is true that one who is scrupulous about prayer should not pray to someone else who prays but rather to the Father whom our Lord Jesus taught us to address in prayers, it is especially true that no prayer should be addressed to the Father without him.” (On Prayer)

Almighty ever-living God,
who in the abundance of Your kindness
surpass the merits and desires
of those who entreat You,
pour out Your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give
what prayer does not dare to ask.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen