Skip to comments.The “Our Father” of “La Civiltà Cattolica” - (comparison to Muslim version)
Posted on 08/27/2004 11:36:08 AM PDT by NYer
The article by Fr. Roland Meynet in the authoritative magazine of the Rome Jesuits also makes a comparison between Christianity and Islam; to be precise, between the "Our Father" and an analogous prayer from the Muslim tradition:
"Our Lord, who are in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
may your rule be over heaven and earth.
O God, as your rule is in heaven, so also bring your mercy upon us on the earth.
O God, Lord of the good, forgive us our faults, our sins, and our failings, and shed upon us your mercy, and a healing from among your healings on what one suffers, and may he be healed."
But the similarities, Meynet immediately notes, are only apparent:
"From the first word, the one to whom the prayer is addressed is not called 'Our Father,' but 'Our Lord;' here already lies all the difference. Many Christians, so accustomed to considering God as Father, cannot even imagine that he could be considered differently among other believers. Now Islam is distinguished from the Christian faith on this fundamental point of divine filiation. For Islam, Jesus is not by any means the Son of God; even less so his disciples! One thus understands why the central petition of the 'Our Father,' which is the petition specific to the son, is entirely absent from the prayer that Muslim tradition attributes to Mohammed himself."
And the "specific petition" absent there, to which Meynet refers, is the same one that is at the center of his exegesis of the "Our Father":
"Give us this day our daily bread."
This is central to the "Our Father" not only because of the position it occupies fourth among seven petitions but above all because of its significance.
It joins, in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, another great series of seven, that of the beatitudes. These, in turn, have as their fourth and central beatitude a request for nourishment:
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied."
In the overall scheme of the beatitudes, Meynet notes, justice is identified with Jesus:
"The bread requested at the center of the 'Our Father' thus has something to do with justice, and, if Jesus is identified with justice, we have the right to understand the bread as 'the bread that comes down from heaven' (John 6:32). The words of Jesus related in the fourth Gospel 'I am the bread of life, he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall not thirst' (John 6:35) directly echo the central beatitude."
But there's more:
"The petition for daily bread is the one that best fits with the name of him to whom the prayer is addressed: 'Our Father.' [...] The first words that God addresses to man as just created, male and female, are a dual blessing. The first is 'be fruitful and multiply' (Gen. 1:28). [...] God is father, and the first gift he gives to man is paternity. The second word of God, which includes the verb 'to give,' concerns nourishment: 'Behold, I give you every plant...' (Gen. 1:29). [...] What God gives is food. Nourishment is the life that sustains and develops itself. By giving nourishment, God thus behaves as a father. [...] It is certainly not insignificant that the proof of proofs [for the progenitors] hinges upon eating, or more precisely, on the gift of nourishment. And this will burst forth in the cursing of the soil, with this word of God to Adam: 'In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread' (Gen. 3:19). This is the first time the word 'bread' appears in the Bible. The central petition of the 'Our Father' corresponds with it. [...] What the petition for bread implies is that it will no longer be with the sweat of his face that man will eat bread, but he will receive it freely from the hand of God. [...] The bread that Jesus makes us ask for in the 'Our Father,' the bread he himself will give, is his body given, along with his blood poured out, 'for the remission of sins' (Mt. 26:28). Jesus is the new Adam, who gives instead of wanting to take, and thus redeems from original sin. [...] We must also remember that, at his birth, Jesus was placed 'in a manger'; if the narration in Luke 2:1-20 insists three times on the manger, it is to indicate that the newborn is a kind of nourishment, which will be realized at the end of the Gospel in the gift of the body of Jesus during the Paschal meal (Luke 22:19-20). Finally, it must be added that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means House of Bread'."
Fascinating comparison of the two prayers.
bttt for later read
Gosh, these prayers sure are similar. You don't suppose one was copied from the other, do you?
Notice also the absence of the petition for forgiveness of one's sins in proportion to the forgiveness that one offers those who have done one wrong.
Not surprising for the religion of Jihad. Allah may be described as "the all merciful" but that attribute is not expected of his followers.
Bumpus ad summum