Today's Gospel in Art - The Our Father

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Monk at Prayer,  by J Ferrer y Pallej 1899 © Private Collection, Christian Art

Monk at Prayer, by J Ferrer y Pallej 1899 © Private Collection, Christian Art

Gospel of 18th June 2020 - Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples: 'In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

'Our Father in heaven,

may your name be held holy,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.

And do not put us to the test,

but save us from the evil one.

'Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.'

Reflection on the Painting

In today's Gospel reading Jesus is teaching us how to pray. The 'Our Father' is so familiar to us that, whilst we recite the words every day, it is often hard to be really present to the words we say and be really focussed on what we are actually saying.

Recently, leading up to Pentecost, we prayed a novena here in the parish I am staying in. During my morning prayer, as the Our Father has basically nine lines to it (and I have spaced it out that way in the Gospel text above), I took just the one line, day by day, to meditate upon it. Each phrase deepened and awakened a new awareness...

But at the end of the day, the Our Father is the prayer we always revert to. Given to us by Jesus Himself, it is an honest cry to God where we can offer our worries, our troubles and also our joys, our plans... This prayer engages us with God. Through this prayer the focus on us shifts to the focus on God.

The painting I am sharing with you today is not well known, but one I have always liked. It depicts a monk at prayer on a pebbled beach at dawn… engaging with God… perhaps praying the Our Father...


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Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, J Ferrer y Pallej

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