Dear Editor: Now that Pope Francis has suggested some changes to the “Our Father,” how about some changes to the “Hail Mary”? As a parent, former teacher, and coach, I always looked to reinforce the positive in those children who were entrusted to my care.
For the longest time, and I’m talking decades, the words “…and pray for us sinners…” always rubbed me the wrong way. If we are truly children of God, and share in His Divinity, why would we want to constantly remind ourselves of our shortcomings rather than the Divine Nature which is within us? Why not substitute a phrase like, “…and watch over your children…” rather than “pray for us sinners”?
What coach is going to constantly hammer his team with a phrase like, “You’re a bunch of losers!” Or what loving parent is going to continue to harp on what his/her child did wrong, rather than on what that child did right? Or would a truly, dedicated teacher constantly remind one of his/her students as to how inadequate they are by calling the student a “dummy,” rather than bringing out what is good in that student?
St. John tells us that God is Love. Would a loving Father insist on calling ourselves sinners and being unworthy of His Love? What about Mother Mary? Does she see us as sinners or simply as children who have gone astray?
I had the good fortune to apologize to my father before he passed on, for all the hurt I had caused him through my growing years. He just lovingly stopped me in my tracks, and wouldn’t let me go on, telling me that all was forgiven a long time ago.
Didn’t Jesus tell us: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.”
Perhaps it’s time to embrace and reinforce our goodness rather than just the failings of our humanness.
Dear Editor: The lines in the Our Father: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” have been translated from the more flowery original of the first-century Aramaic text: “Let us not be lost in superficial things, but let us be freed from what keeps us off from our true purpose.”
I have no clue how the latter finally ended up in our English translation meaning something different. However, I do believe that sometimes God Himself tests us secretly and personally in our innermost being (which feels like a temptation to oppose Him) to measure our loyalty to Him. I don’t think Satan has knowledge of, or access to the secret recesses of our souls.