Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Teach us to Pray

 That's the wonderful request in today's Gospel. The disciples made this request of Jesus after seeing him at prayer. (I can only imagine what an impression that must have made!) And they asked him, "Teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."
Right there we learn something: John the Baptist was a teacher of prayer. We don't often picture him in that role. Popular imagination has pretty much focused on his "active ministry" as a prophet and preacher of woe and wrath, but here we get a hint of John the mystic--as he had to have been.
Some Scripture scholars say that there are hints in the Gospels that Jesus was, for a time, a "disciple" of John, or at least that he was in John's retinue. So it could be that, just as Jesus learned how to pray from Mary and Joseph, he learned another aspect of prayer from John.
At any rate, the prayer Jesus taught us, the Our Father, is the most Jewish of prayers, so it very well could have been the way John taught his disciples. What made the difference was not so much the words as the spirit of sonship with which Jesus prays--and which, by our Baptism, we share.


Catholic Convert said...

I never thought of John as a teacher of prayer, either. That's an interesting thing to point out. Don't you just love being able to study the same book over and over again and be able to get something new from it every time? =) God bless.

Val said...

I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your sharing your thoughts on the gospels. I have been a regular reader of your blog since I first found it. Thank you!