On the wall in our home, there is a place for two of my favorite things…
There’s this very beautiful, framed plaque with a totally cool calligraphy-style prayer on it. Our Father .. that’s it. This is one of my favorite prayers. I love it so much for many reasons.
First, right there in the Bible, it tells us that this is the way to pray. And by that, I don’t mean pray in the way that I was taught to pray. (In our elementary school, our nun-teachers taught us that we had to hold the beads and repeat the Our Father and the Hail Mary so many times, over and over and over, until we got to the end of the beads). This is the way that they said to pray.
Our teachers kind of gently forced us to do this, since it was that school that we were sent there to train in. Being trained in how to deal with life and other important topics, all of the students knew and understood the importance of repetitive prayer.
Back then, our Catholic school teachers, nuns and lay persons included, had only one way to teach and they did. To me, as a kid, all of it just felt like I was being brainwashed. And brainwashing wasn’t really on my list of ‘good things’, so I tended not to pay attention much to the ‘rules’ of the brainwashings. After all, my brain was clean enough and I didn’t need it washed any longer.
Anyways, back to the plaque on the wall. Though I love the prayer, I don’t love the way that, according to Catholics, it is ‘supposed’ to be prayed.
For me, the Our Father, still is the perfect prayer. But to me, it’s the perfect prayer when it is said with heart, not with the mindless repetition instructions of the original nuns and Catholic school teachers.
Say it once, mean it, really mean what you are saying. And after that, if you must or if you like to, say it as many times as you wish.
And to me, even if you want to say it to yourself just so you can go to sleep, that’s okay too. That’s not brainwashing; that’s just doing something that helps you. The words are truth. The words are comforting. And the words are in the Holy Bible, and that’s enough for me.
Some days, in my days of just thinking things over, I really do wish that this perfect prayer would have come with modern-day instructions. Like when you get to the part of “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass aginst us”. Some days, I wish that the prayer came with instructions for little kids and adults and those that might be the targets for bullies and other horrible people. Instructions: Yes, you must forgive the bully, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay with the bully or keep the bully company. It doesn’t mean that you have to be on the phone with the bully or accept mail from the bully. It doesn’t mean that you have to have any contact with the bully, at all. All the prayer means is that you need to, in your heart, forgive the person that harmed you or the person that seeks to continue to harm you– forgive that person.
That’s it. Smiles, yes, those are the instructions that I would give along with the prayer. But then how dare I? I am not the writer of the wonderful perfect prayer.
All I can do is say the words, and mean them That’s it.
I think, though I’m not sure, that the Catholic teachers are teaching in a different way today, than they taught decades ago. Hopefully, they have changed their methods of teaching. And hopefully, they have incorporated some of the ‘teach by example’ instead of just using words and using punishments, consequences for students that didn’t quite learn the words.
But, no matter what happens out in the world or out in our schools, there isn’t anything that can make me not love this prayer. This is my prayer. And I mean it. And it is these words, and so many other words, from the Holy Bible, that have made such a tremendous change in my life.
I guess it all comes back to the teachings of my grandfather. In so many things, throughout his life, no matter what the problem, or the topic, or the situation, he had his own way of looking at life.
Sometimes, he would look at me and say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. And I’d have to agree with him on that. Those words, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” can help us with so many problems in today’s world.
I look at the words of the Our Father, and at all the other words in the Holy Bible KJV, and I say to myself and remind myself , “Look, remember what grandpa said, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. Yep. My prayer is not broken, therefore, I’m never going to try and fix it.
The shell above the picture? Ask.
That’s it for now.
This is the end of this entry.