Our Father: Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer
by Pope Francis (Rider, £9.99)
This little book, which is issued to mark the fifth anniversary of the Pope’s election, is like so many of the publications which bear his name, drawn from an interview, or rather conversation, with a friendly interlocutor. This was Fr Marco Pozza, a priest and prison chaplain in Padua.
The book carries as an epigraph the passage Matthew 6: 5-9, in which Jesus tells the disciples that they should not pray like hypocrites do in the synagogue or on the street corners. Instead they should pray by themselves in a private room behind a closed door.
Nor are lots of complicated words needed: “Your father knows what you need before you ask him.” He then gives them the Pater Noster prayer as a model.
So we are not to seek for what we want, but to accept what God knows we need, hard though that is at times. The rest of the book consists of reflections on this theme, which when one thinks about it is truly transformational.
A bibliophilic note: the name of Riders, the publishers of this book, is associated in the minds of most bookish people like me with books on the occult, the unknown, spiritualism, and many other ‘New Age’ matters. In these days of conglomerate publishers it is now used as an umbrella name for books on “spiritual matters” – which, of course, covers many topics that even the Pope might not countenance in all his generosity of mind and soul. How things change!