The Lord’s Prayer, the “Our Father,” has taken on an appropriate prominence in our celebration of Mass. One reason is that thanks to the changes which came with Vatican II, we all may say or sing this prayer! Some of us recall that before the liturgical renewal, only the priest was allowed to say this prayer during Mass, and it was in Latin. People now offer this beautiful prayer taught by Jesus while standing alert as sons and daughters with dignity, sometimes extending their arms, sometimes raising their eyes to heaven, sometimes joining hands with their neighbor, but always it seems with special attention.
This prayer is unique because of the way we address God. We begin “Our Father.” The actual word that Jesus uses in the prayer is “Abba.” This is the diminutive form of father. We address God as a child would address his or her father. We see how different was the way Abraham approached God to spare the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He was so bold that he even bargained with God! But he did not dare address God as Jesus did. No one had addressed God as “Abba” as a loving papa until Jesus did. And now, you and I are invited into that same intimacy with God. Not a God way out there somewhere but a God who is intimately connected to us. How blessed we are to address God as Jesus did, to call him our “Abba.”
Next Friday, August 2nd, Franciscans throughout the world will celebrate the beautiful Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula. The Portiuncula is a tiny church below Assisi which was a gift from the Benedictines to St. Francis. It is called “Portiuncula”—Latin meaning “small portion,” because that is exactly what the church is—very small but a real treasure. This place conjures up sentiments and thoughts linked with “having a center, a heart.” This Portiuncula symbolizes Francis’ heart. It makes us ponder who or what is at the center of life for me? Please see the bulletin for information about our celebration of this beautiful Feast! Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!
In closing, I would like to thank everyone who has donated to “St. Francis Hall: A Space Renewed.” Next Sunday, August 4th, we will conclude the Capital Campaign for the renovations. I wish to thank all those who have supported the project through prayer, fundraising, and personal gifts! With God’s help, we will begin the work of renovation in the middle of September! Next Sunday after the 10:00 a.m. and Noon Masses, everyone is invited to a special reception in Serra Gardens as we thank God for the generosity of so many parishioners. “May the Lord prosper the work of our hands…Prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90)
Love, Fr. Vince