Praying “Our Father”
Above and beyond all the titles, they attributed to Christ, such as Messiah, King, Prophet, etc., the Apostles, and especially Saint John and Saint Paul, present him to us emphatically as the “one sent from God,” the personal “gift” of God to men. “Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that every man who believes may not perish.” And Saint Paul remarked: “he who did not spare his own Son and delivered him up for us, how can he not grant us all the rest?”
Christ is, above all, the Son given to the world. Therefore, his prayer is addressed necessarily to the one from whom he proceeds, the one who sent him: the Father. It always begins with an invocation of this paternity, which, in God, is the source of what he is for [people]. Thus, our Lord teaches us to whom we should address our prayer: he to whom we pray is the Father, and more exactly “the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” The Father is the One who sent him, and who gave him to the world. It is from his grace, grace as Son and First-Born, that his prayer arises. “As my Father loved me…” He to whom our Lord prays is the One who showed his love for [people] by a gift: the gift of the Son given over to us in the Incarnation. This explains why the first movement of this prayer involves an act of thanksgiving, praise, a “blessing,” with all the nuances that such an invocation can have: from amazement at the gift made to the little ones (Luke 10:21-22) to ultimate confidence (Luke 23:34-36). In such an act of thanksgiving, Saint Paul summarizes all prayer: “and because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father!’ (Gal 4:6 and Rom 8:15).