Catechism Cath. Church 2728
Facing difficulties in prayer
2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.(16)
2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. The bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: "'Come,' my heart says, 'seek his face!'"(17)
2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit."(18) If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.(19)
Facing temptations in prayer
2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart:
"Apart from me, you can do nothing."(20)
2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."(21) The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.
16 Mt 6,21,
17 Ps 27,8
18 Jn 12,24
19 Lc 8,6,
20 Jn 15,5
21 Mt 26,41
2734 Filial trust is tested - it proves itself - in tribulation.(22) The principal difficulty concerns the prayer of petition, for oneself or for others in intercession. Some even stop praying because they think their petition is not heard. Here two questions should be asked: Why do we think our petition has not been heard? How is our prayer heard, how is it "efficacious"?
Why do we complain of not being heard?
2735 In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?
2736 Are we convinced that "we do not know how to pray as we ought"?(23) Are we asking God for "what is good for us"? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him,(24) but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants.(25)
2737 "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."(26) If we ask with a divided heart, we are "adulterers";(27) God cannot answer us, for he desires our well-being, our life. "Or do you suppose that it is in vain that the scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us?'"(28) That our God is "jealous" for us is the sign of how true his love is. If we enter into the desire of his Spirit, we shall be heard.Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.(29)God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.(30)
How is our prayer efficacious?
2738 The revelation of prayer in the economy of salvation teaches us that faith rests on God's action in history. Our filial trust is enkindled by his supreme act: the Passion and Resurrection of his Son. Christian prayer is cooperation with his providence, his plan of love for men.
2739 For St. Paul, this trust is bold, founded on the prayer of the Spirit in us and on the faithful love of the Father who has given us his only Son.(31) Transformation of the praying heart is the first response to our petition.
2740 The prayer of Jesus makes Christian prayer an efficacious petition. He is its model, he prays in us and with us. Since the heart of the Son seeks only what pleases the Father, how could the prayer of the children of adoption be centered on the gifts rather than the Giver?
2741 Jesus also prays for us - in our place and on our behalf. All our petitions were gathered up, once for all, in his cry on the Cross and, in his Resurrection, heard by the Father. This is why he never ceases to intercede for us with the Father.(32) If our prayer is resolutely united with that of Jesus, in trust and boldness as children, we obtain all that we ask in his name, even more than any particular thing: the Holy Spirit himself, who contains all gifts.
22 Rm 5,3-5
23 Rm 8,26
24 Mt 6,8
25 Rm 8,27
26 Jc 4,3 cf. the whole context: Jc 4,1-10 Jc 1,5-8 Jc 5,16.
27 Jc 4,4
28 Jc 4,5
29 Evagrius Ponticus, De oratione 34: PG 79, 1173.
30 St. Augustine, Ep. 130, 8, 17: PL 33, 500.
31 Rm 10,12-13 Rm 8,26-39.
32 He 5,7 He 7,25 He 9,24
2742 "Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father."(33) St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints."(34) For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing."(35) This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.
2743 It is always possible to pray: The time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.(36) Our time is in the hands of God:
It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.(37)
2744 Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin.(38) How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?
Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy.... For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin.(39)
Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned(40)
2745 Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father's plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same love for all men, the love with which Jesus has loved us. "Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he (will) give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."(41)
He "prays without ceasing" who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing.(42)
33 1Th 5,17 Ep 5,20
34 Ep 6,18
35 Evagrius Ponticus, Pract. 49: PG 40, 1245C.
36 Mt 28,20 Lc 8,2 Lc 4
37 St. John Chrysostom, Ecloga de oratione 2: PG 63, 585.
38 Ga 5,16-25
39 St. John Chrysostom, De Anna 4, 5: PG 54, 666.
40 St. Alphonsus Liguori, Del gran Mezzo della preghiera.
41 Jn 15,16-17
42 Origen, De orat. 12: PG 11, 452c.
2746 When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father.(43) His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church.
2747 Christian Tradition rightly calls this prayer the "priestly" prayer of Jesus. It is the prayer of our high priest, inseparable from his sacrifice, from his passing over (Passover) to the Father to whom he is wholly "consecrated."(44)
2748 In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ:(45) God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity.
2749 Jesus fulfilled the work of the Father completely; his prayer, like his sacrifice, extends until the end of time. The prayer of this hour fills the end-times and carries them toward their consummation. Jesus, the Son to whom the Father has given all things, has given himself wholly back to the Father, yet expresses himself with a sovereign freedom(46) by virtue of the power the Father has given him over all flesh. The Son, who made himself Servant, is Lord, the Pantocrator. Our high priest who prays for us is also the one who prays in us and the God who hears our prayer.
2750 By entering into the holy name of the Lord Jesus we can accept, from within, the prayer he teaches us: "Our Father!" His priestly prayer fulfills, from within, the great petitions of the Lord's Prayer: concern for the Father's name;(47) passionate zeal for his kingdom (glory);(48) the accomplishment of the will of the Father, of his plan of salvation;(49) and deliverance from evil.(50)
2751 Finally, in this prayer Jesus reveals and gives to us the "knowledge," inseparably one, of the Father and of the Son,(51) which is the very mystery of the life of prayer.
43 Jn 17
44 Jn 17,11-19.
45 Ep 1,10
46 Jn 17,11-24.
47 Jn 17,6-26.
48 Jn 17,1-26.
49 Jn 17,2-24.
50 Jn 17,15
51 Jn 17,3-25.
2752 Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter. The battle of prayer is inseparable from the necessary "spiritual battle" to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as we live, because we live as we pray.
2753 In the battle of prayer we must confront erroneous conceptions of prayer, various currents of thought, and our own experience of failure. We must respond with humility, trust, and perseverance to these temptations which cast doubt on the usefulness or even the possibility of prayer.
2754 The principal difficulties in the practice of prayer are distraction and dryness. The remedy lies in faith, conversion, and vigilance of heart.
2755 Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia - a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement.
2756 Filial trust is put to the test when we feel that our prayer is not always heard. The Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the conformity of our prayer to the desire of the Spirit.
2757 "Pray constantly" (1Th 5,17). It is always possible to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and Christian life are inseparable.
2758 The prayer of the hour of Jesus, rightly called the "priestly prayer" (cf. Jn 17), sums up the whole economy of creation and salvation. It fulfills the great petitions of the Our Father.
2759 Jesus "was praying at a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'"(1) In response to this request the Lord entrusts to his disciples and to his Church the fundamental Christian prayer. St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions,(2) while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions.(3) The liturgical tradition of the Church has retained St. Matthew's text:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
2760 Very early on, liturgical usage concluded the Lord's Prayer with a doxology. In the Didache, we find, "For yours are the power and the glory for ever."(4) The Apostolic Constitutions add to the beginning: "the kingdom," and this is the formula retained to our day in ecumenical prayer.(5)
The Byzantine tradition adds after "the glory" the words "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." The Roman Missal develops the last petition in the explicit perspective of "awaiting our blessed hope" and of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.(6) Then comes the assembly's acclamation or the repetition of the doxology from the Apostolic Constitutions.
1 Lc 11,1.
2 Cf. Lc 11,2-4.
3 Cf. Mt 6,9-13.
4 Didache 8, 2: SCh 248, 174.
5 Apostolic Constitutions, 7, 24, 1: PG 1,1016.
6 Tt 2,13; cf. Roman Missal 22, Embolism after the Lord's Prayer.
2761 The Lord's Prayer "is truly the summary of the whole gospel."(7) "Since the Lord . . . after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, 'Ask and you will receive,' and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer (the Lord's Prayer) is said first, as the foundation of further desires."(8)
7 Tertullian, De orat. 1: PL 1, 1155.
8 Tertullian, De orat. 10: PL 1, 1165; Lc 11,9
2762 After showing how the psalms are the principal food of Christian prayer and flow together in the petitions of the Our Father, St. Augustine concludes:
Run through all the words of the holy prayers (in Scripture), and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord's Prayer.(9)
2763 All the Scriptures - the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms - are fulfilled in Christ.(10) The Gospel is this "Good News." Its first proclamation is summarized by St. Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount;(11) the prayer to our Father is at the center of this proclamation. It is in this context that each petition bequeathed to us by the Lord is illuminated:
The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers.... In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.(12)
9 St. Augustine, Ep 130, 12, 22: PL 33, 503.
10 Lc 24,44
11 Mt 5-7
12 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II 83,9
2764 The Sermon on the Mount is teaching for life, the Our Father is a prayer; but in both the one and the other the Spirit of the Lord gives new form to our desires, those inner movements that animate our lives. Jesus teaches us this new life by his words; he teaches us to ask for it by our prayer. The rightness of our life in him will depend on the rightness of our prayer.
2765 The traditional expression "the Lord's Prayer" - oratio Dominica - means that the prayer to our Father is taught and given to us by the Lord Jesus. The prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique: it is "of the Lord." On the one hand, in the words of this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him:(13) he is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, he knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us: he is the model of our prayer.
2766 But Jesus does not give us a formula to repeat mechanically.(14) As in every vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father. Jesus not only gives us the words of our filial prayer; at the same time he gives us the Spirit by whom these words become in us "spirit and life."(15) Even more, the proof and possibility of our filial prayer is that the Father "sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'"(16) Since our prayer sets forth our desires before God, it is again the Father, "he who searches the hearts of men," who "knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."(17) The prayer to Our Father is inserted into the mysterious mission of the Son and of the Spirit.
13 Jn 17,7
14 Mt 6,7 1R 18,26-29
15 Jn 6,63
16 Ga 4,6
17 Rm 8,27
2767 This indivisible gift of the Lord's words and of the Holy Spirit who gives life to them in the hearts of believers has been received and lived by the Church from the beginning. The first communities prayed the Lord's Prayer three times a day,(18) in place of the "Eighteen Benedictions" customary in Jewish piety.
2768 According to the apostolic tradition, the Lord's Prayer is essentially rooted in liturgical prayer:
(The Lord) teaches us to make prayer in common for all our brethren. For he did not say "my Father" who art in heaven, but "our" Father, offering petitions for the common body.(19)
In all the liturgical traditions, the Lord's Prayer is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office. In the three sacraments of Christian initiation its ecclesial character is especially in evidence:
2769 In Baptism and Confirmation, the handing on (traditio) of the Lord's Prayer signifies new birth into the divine life. Since Christian prayer is our speaking to God with the very word of God, those who are "born anew". . . through the living and abiding word of God"(20) learn to invoke their Father by the one Word he always hears. They can henceforth do so, for the seal of the Holy Spirit's anointing is indelibly placed on their hearts, ears, lips, indeed their whole filial being. This is why most of the patristic commentaries on the Our Father are addressed to catechumens and neophytes. When the Church prays the Lord's Prayer, it is always the people made up of the "new-born" who pray and obtain mercy.(21)
2770 In the Eucharistic liturgy the Lord's Prayer appears as the prayer of the whole Church and there reveals its full meaning and efficacy. Placed between the anaphora (the Eucharistic prayer) and the communion, the Lord's Prayer sums up on the one hand all the petitions and intercessions expressed in the movement of the epiclesis and, on the other, knocks at the door of the Banquet of the kingdom which sacramental communion anticipates.
2771 In the Eucharist, the Lord's Prayer also reveals the eschatological character of its petitions. It is the proper prayer of "the end-time," the time of salvation that began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and will be fulfilled with the Lord's return. The petitions addressed to our Father, as distinct from the prayers of the old covenant, rely on the mystery of salvation already accomplished, once for all, in Christ crucified and risen.
2772 From this unshakeable faith springs forth the hope that sustains each of the seven petitions, which express the groanings of the present age, this time of patience and expectation during which "it does not yet appear what we shall be."(22) The Eucharist and the Lord's Prayer look eagerly for the Lord's return, "until he comes."(23)
18 Cf. Didache 8, 3: SCh 248, 174.
19 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Mt 19,4, PG 57, 278.
20 1P 1,23.
21 Cf. 1P 2,1-10.
22 1Jn 3,2 Col 3,4
23 1Co 11,26
2773 In response to his disciples' request "Lord, teach us to pray" Lc 11,1), Jesus entrusts them with the fundamental Christian prayer, the Our Father.
2774 "The Lord's Prayer is truly the summary of the whole gospel,"(24) the "most perfect of prayers."(25) It is at the center of the Scriptures.
2775 It is called "the Lord's Prayer" because it comes to us from the Lord Jesus, the master and model of our prayer.
2776 The Lord's Prayer is the quintessential prayer of the Church. It is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office and of the sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Integrated into the Eucharist it reveals the eschatological character of its petitions, hoping for the Lord, "until he comes" (1Co 11,26).
24 Tertullian, De orat. 1 PL 1, 1251-1255.
25 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II 83,9
2777 In the Roman liturgy, the Eucharistic assembly is invited to pray to our heavenly Father with filial boldness; the Eastern liturgies develop and use similar expressions: "dare in all confidence," "make us worthy of...." From the burning bush Moses heard a voice saying to him, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."(26) Only Jesus could cross that threshold of the divine holiness, for "when he had made purification for sins," he brought us into the Father's presence: "Here am I, and the children God has given me."(27)
Our awareness of our status as slaves would make us sink into the ground and our earthly condition would dissolve into dust, if the authority of our Father himself and the Spirit of his Son had not impelled us to this cry . . . 'Abba, Father!' . . . When would a mortal dare call God 'Father,' if man's innermost being were not animated by power from on high?"(28)
2778 This power of the Spirit who introduces us to the Lord's Prayer is expressed in the liturgies of East and of West by the beautiful, characteristically Christian expression: parrhesia, straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble boldness, the certainty of being loved.(29)
26 Ex 3,5
27 He 1,3 He 2,13.
28 St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 71, 3: PL 52, 401 CD; Ga 4,6
29 Ep 3,12 He 3,6 He 4,16 He 10,19 1Jn 2,28 1Jn 3,21 1Jn 5,14.
2779 Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord's Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn "from this world." Humility makes us recognize that "no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him," that is, "to little children."(30) The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area "upon him" would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us.
The expression God the Father had never been revealed to anyone. When Moses himself asked God who he was, he heard another name. The Father's name has been revealed to us in the Son, for the name "Son" implies the new name "Father."(31)
2780 We can invoke God as "Father" because he is revealed to us by his Son become man and because his Spirit makes him known to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God.(32)
2781 When we pray to the Father, we are in communion with him and with his Son, Jesus Christ.(33) Then we know and recognize him with an ever new sense of wonder. The first phrase of the Our Father is a blessing of adoration before it is a supplication. For it is the glory of God that we should recognize him as "Father," the true God. We give him thanks for having revealed his name to us, for the gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of his Presence in us.
2782 We can adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son: by Baptism, he incorporates us into the Body of his Christ; through the anointing of his Spirit who flows from the head to the members, he makes us other "Christs."
“ God, indeed, who has predestined us to adoption as his sons, has conformed us to the glorious Body of Christ. So then you who have become sharers in Christ are appropriately called "Christs." ”(34)
“ The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, "Father!" because he has now begun to be a son. ”(35)
2783 Thus the Lord's Prayer reveals us to ourselves at the same time that it reveals the Father to us.(36)
O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you lowered your eyes to the earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant you have become a good son.... Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say: "Our Father.... " But do not claim any privilege. He is the Father in a special way only of Christ, but he is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us. Then also say by his grace, "Our Father," so that you may merit being his son.(37)
2784 The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life. Praying to our Father should develop in us two fundamental dispositions:
First, the desire to become like him: though created in his image, we are restored to his likeness by grace; and we must respond to this grace.
“ We must remember . . . and know that when we call God "our Father" we ought to behave as sons of God.(38)
“ You cannot call the God of all kindness your Father if you preserve a cruel and inhuman heart; for in this case you no longer have in you the marks of the heavenly Father's kindness.(39)
“ We must contemplate the beauty of the Father without ceasing and adorn our own souls accordingly.(40)
2785 Second, a humble and trusting heart that enables us "to turn and become like children":(41) for it is to "little children" that the Father is revealed.(42)
(The prayer is accomplished) by the contemplation of God alone, and by the warmth of love, through which the soul, molded and directed to love him, speaks very familiarly to God as to its own Father with special devotion.(43)
“ Our Father: at this name love is aroused in us . . . and the confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask.... What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift of being his children?(44)
30 Mt 11,25-27
31 Tertullian De orat. 3: PL 1, 1155.
32 Jn 1,1 1Jn 5,1
33 1Jn 1,3
34 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 3, 1: PG 33, 1088A.
35 St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 9: PL 4, 525A.
36 GS 22# 1.
37 St. Ambrose De Sacr. 5, 4, 19: PL 16:450-451.
38 St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 11 PL 4:526B.
39 St. John Chrysostom, De orat Dom. 3: PG 51, 44.
40 St. Gregory Of Nyssa, De orat. Dom. 2: PG 44, 1148B.
41 Mt 18,3
42 Mt 11,25
43 St. John Cassian, Coll. 9, 18 PL 49, 788c.
44 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 2, 4, 16: PL 34, 1276.
2786 "Our" Father refers to God. The adjective, as used by us, does not express possession, but an entirely new relationship with God.
2787 When we say "our" Father, we recognize first that all his promises of love announced by the prophets are fulfilled in the new and eternal covenant in his Christ: we have become "his" people and he is henceforth "our" God. This new relationship is the purely gratuitous gift of belonging to each other: we are to respond to "grace and truth" given us in Jesus Christ with love and faithfulness.(45)
2788 Since the Lord's Prayer is that of his people in the "endtime," this "our" also expresses the certitude of our hope in God's ultimate promise: in the new Jerusalem he will say to the victor, "I will be his God and he shall be my son."(46)
2789 When we pray to "our" Father, we personally address the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By doing so we do not divide the Godhead, since the Father is its "source and origin," but rather confess that the Son is eternally begotten by him and the Holy Spirit proceeds from him. We are not confusing the persons, for we confess that our communion is with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, in their one Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is consubstantial and indivisible. When we pray to the Father, we adore and glorify him together with the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2790 Grammatically, "our" qualifies a reality common to more than one person. There is only one God, and he is recognized as Father by those who, through faith in his only Son, are reborn of him by water and the Spirit.(47) The Church is this new communion of God and men. United with the only Son, who has become "the firstborn among many brethren," she is in communion with one and the same Father in one and the same Holy Spirit.(48) In praying "our" Father, each of the baptized is praying in this communion: "The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul."(49)
2791 For this reason, in spite of the divisions among Christians, this prayer to "our" Father remains our common patrimony and an urgent summons for all the baptized. In communion by faith in Christ and by Baptism, they ought to join in Jesus' prayer for the unity of his disciples.(50)
2792 Finally, if we pray the Our Father sincerely, we leave individualism behind, because the love that we receive frees us from it. The "our" at the beginning of the Lord's Prayer, like the "us" of the last four petitions, excludes no one. If we are to say it truthfully, our divisions and oppositions have to be overcome.(51)
2793 The baptized cannot pray to "our" Father without bringing before him all those for whom he gave his beloved Son. God's love has no bounds, neither should our prayer.(52) Praying "our" Father opens to us the dimensions of his love revealed in Christ: praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ may "gather into one the children of God."(53) God's care for all men and for the whole of creation has inspired all the great practitioners of prayer; it should extend our prayer to the full breadth of love whenever we dare to say "our" Father.
45 Jn 1,17 Os 2,21-22 Os 6,1-6.
46 Ap 21,7
47 1Jn 5,1 Jn 3,5
48 Rm 8,29 Ep 4,4-6
49 Ac 4,32
50 UR 8 UR 22
51 Mt 5,23-24 Mt 6,14-15.
52 NAE 5
53 Jn 11,52
Catechism Cath. Church 2728