In the next several posts we shall read comments from various saints and sages on the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.
“Our Father, Who art in heaven”
“Let the Father recognize the Son’s words when we offer up our prayer; . . . let us put forward the words of our Advocate, when as sinners we make petition for our offences.” -St. Cyprian of Carthage
“Of Christ’s people the Apostle says, ‘We have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father’ (Rom 8:15), and that not of our deservings, but of grace. This then we express in the prayer when we say, ‘Father’; which name also stirs up love. For what can be dearer than sons are to a father? . . . What will He not give to His sons when they ask of Him?” -St. Augustine
“By this the rich and the noble are admonished when they have become Christians not to be haughty towards the poor or truly born, who like themselves may address God as ‘Our Father’; and they therefore cannot truly or piously say this unless they acknowledge such for brethren.” -St. Augustine
“Who calls God Father, in that one title confesses at once the forgiveness of sins, the adoption, the heirship, the brotherhood, which he has with the Only-begotten, and the gift of the Spirit.” -St. John Chrysostom
“We say not My Father, but ‘Our Father.’ We pray not for one person but for us all, because we all are one. So also He willed that one should pray for all, according as Himself in one did bear us all.” -St. Cyprian of Carthage
“Because He is a common Father of all, we say, ‘Our Father’; not ‘My Father’ which is appropriate to Christ alone, who is His Son by nature.” -Glossa Ordinaria
“‘Which art in heaven’ is added, that we may know that we have a heavenly Father, and may blush to immerse ourselves wholly in earthly things when we have a Father in heaven.” -Pseudo-Chrysostom
“There would seem to be as much difference spiritually between the righteous and sinners, as locally, between heaven and earth.” -St. Augustine
“He says not, ‘which art in heaven,’ as though He were confined to that place, but to raise the hearer up to heaven, and draw him away from earthly things.” -Theophylact
Quotations from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected Out of the Works of the Fathers, Vols. I and III (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841-43).