David B Hunsicker

Ecclesia en Exodus Blog

Thoughts on Christianity and the Church after Christendom.

Book of the Week: Our Father by Pope Francis

Image, 2018.

Image, 2018.

Book 13: Our Father by Pope Francis

Genre: Devotional/ Spirituality

Our Father is not a book by Pope Francis, strictly speaking. It is part interview with Francis, where the interviewer, Father Marco Pozza, has a conversation with Francis about the Our Father prayer. In this regard, the perspective represented in this conversation is just as much Pozza's as it is Francis'. Nevertheless, we gain a greater sense of who this pope is and how he thinks about prayer and the Christian life.

The conversation follows the petitions of the prayer chronologically, and is interrupted at the end of each petition with a homily by Francis that thematically relates. These homilies are the best part of the work, I think. Here, Francis is speaking to Christians everywhere, exhorting them in accordance with the themes of the prayer itself. The word "Father" leads Francis to lament a generation come of age without a human father and to exhort the Christian community to remember its responsibility to orphans. "Thy kingdom come" leads to a meditation on the relationship between divine and human agency in God's coming kingdom: God is making his kingdom but we are called to participate. "Thy will be done" becomes a reflection on the Virgin Mary's "yes" to the incarnation and an inspiration for us to be open to God's action. "Our daily bread" becomes an opportunity to reflect on food insecurity and the role we can play in securing basic food and water rights. Etc.

I read these reflections throughout lent and generally found them to be insightful, if not too brief. This is an accessible introduction to further thinking about the Lord's Prayer and how all prayer relates us to God and too each other, first proclaiming God's vision for our lives and then exhorting us to make that vision a reality.

Review: Great reading for early morning or before bed. Each section is just about the right size and density for spiritual reflection.