Thursday, June 21, 2012

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

(Sirach 48:1-14; Matthew 6:7-15)

Recently a number of liturgists from different Christian traditions approved an alternative translation of the Lord’s Prayer. There are no “thy’s” in the new version nor does it say of the Father “who art in heaven.” The experiment calls for “sins” to be forgiven, not “trespasses,” and prays to be saved from “the time of trial” and not to be led “not into temptation.”

The purpose of the experiment, no doubt, is to enable Christians to be more conscious of what they are saying when praying this quintessential Christian prayer. As Jesus in today’s gospel criticizes pagans for babbling in prayer, some Christians mindlessly repeat the words of the “Our Father.”

The alternative version still must be approved by the various traditions. This may take some doing as the traditional form is so embedded in people’s consciousness that mandating a change may cause a bitter reaction. Still we should be careful not to rattle off the words of the Lord’s Prayer as if they were a magic formula for attracting God’s attention. Rather we should say the words with deliberation always contemplating what they mean.