By Christina Hannon
One of my favorite things about the Catholic Church is its universality. The word catholic means universal. While we haven’t discovered the entire universe yet, our Catholic faith is practiced all over the world. Go to mass in any country and in any language, and you will still get the gist of what’s going on. I think that’s pretty cool. Our God, our faith, our sacraments, and our bible are universal.
I love going to mass in other languages. I am a curious person, and going to mass in a different culture sends my imagination and curiosity reeling. It also gives me a chance to focus on what’s most important at mass. When I can’t understand the priest’s blessings, I focus on being blessed. When I can’t understand the general intercessions, I just focus on praying for all those hurting in our world. And when I can’t understand the Eucharistic prayer, I just focus on the Eucharist.
When I’m at mass in another language, it’s not always easy to follow along, but one part I can almost always recognize is the “Our Father.” I may not know how to say it in that language, but I know it by heart in English. Like the mass itself, the “Our Father” is filled with lines many of us have heard over and over and over and over again.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples,
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.”
And then he gives his disciples the words of the “Our Father:”
"This is how you are to pray:
'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.'
Now 2000 years later, I find this a bit ironic. Because many times, when I say the “Our Father” … I feel like I’m babbling!
So, it’s good for me to question, what am I asking of God when I say the “Our Father?”
I thought I would treat the “Our Father” as if it were a foreign language (which it kinda is with all the art’s and thy’s), and translate what I am really saying when I babble:
So here it is, my “Our Father” in plain Christina English:
God in Heaven, You are Holy
Help us make our world holy like You
Help us to forgive others.
Help us not to sin.
Save us from evil.
[Amen means “yes, I believe”]
I’ll leave you with this. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” But do we know what we are asking?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christina works for Coalition with Young Adults, which supports Catholic ministries for 20- and 30-somethings in Northeast Ohio. She is also an obnoxious Notre Dame fan and proud Cleveland native. Like many other unique millennials, her goals include inner peace and world travel.