2766 But Jesus does not give us a formula to repeat mechanically.’4 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’.’5 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!” 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.”7


The prayer to our Father is inserted into the mysterious mission of

the Son and of the Spirit.


The Prayer of the Church

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,’8 in place of the ‘Eighteen Benedictions’ customary inJewish piety. 2768 According to the apostolic tradition, the Lord’s Prayer is essentially rooted in liturgical prayer: [The Lordi 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.’9

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 ecciesial 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 Chris

tian 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’2° 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.