Abba

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Glory, by Evelyn Underhill

June 12, 2017

Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory.  The prayer in which is contained the whole movement of man’s interior life, the substance of his communion with God, is summed up in this delighted declaration of the independent perfection, the unspeakable transcendence of the Holy.  Before that reality, that majesty, that energy, that splendor, his own needs, his own significance, vanish.  Abba, Father.  It is true that the Infinite God is the Father of my soul, that I have a certain kinship with the Abiding, a privilege of cooperation.  Higher than my highest, He is yet nearer than my inmost part.  But in the last resort, I stand entranced and abased before the majesty, the otherness of that Infinite God. “He calleth the [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Prevenience, by Evelyn Underhill

June 5, 2017

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  May that strange directive power of which from time-to-time we are conscious as the controlling factor of life have pity on our weakness and lead us out of confusion into peace. This abject confession of helplessness seems at first sight to be meant for the untried and bewildered neophyte, in whom the gifts of the Spirit have not yet had time to grow.  Actually, it is the culmination of the prayer which was given to the Church of God in the persons of her Apostles; those through whom the sanctification of human history was to be set going, the handful of men to whom we owe our Christian inheritance.  It is this picked band, these channels of the Spirit, already surrendered to the [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Forgiveness, by Evelyn Underhill

May 29, 2017

It is part of the economy of mercy, the redemptive and transforming work of God, that the Divine Charity already present within the soul should overflow to make good its shortcomings and blot out its sins.  Were this not so, our situation would be hopeless; for we share by nature in the disorder of a fallen world, its implicit resistance to the demands of love.  So here we continue our filial and confident claim on that Charity; a claim which our situation, whether as children or as creatures, compels us to make.  Forgive us our trespasses – our voluntary share in the world’s sinfulness – as we forgive them that trespass against us.  Penitence is ever the fruit of adoring vision.  “The more holy I find God,” said [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Food, by Evelyn Underhill

May 22, 2017

In the first part of the Lord’s Prayer, we are wholly concerned with God’s glory.  We pray with angelic spirits; creatures whose purposes are completely harmonized with the Creative Will.  In the second part, we turn from the Eternal Splendor to our Earthly limitations, and bring before God the burden, neediness, and sinfulness of our state.  Give us this day our daily bread.  With the proclamation of our utter dependence, the presentation before God of the simplest and most fundamental of our needs, we pass from adoration to petitions, and enter into the full paradox of Christian prayer: the unspeakable majesty and abiding perfection of the Infinite, and because of that majesty and that perfection, the importance of the [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: The Will, by Evelyn Underhill

May 15, 2017

The graph of Christian prayer conforms very closely to the central action of the Eucharist.  First, the Sanctus, the type of all adoring worship “with angels and archangels glorifying the Holy Name” and lifting heart and mind to the contemplation of Reality.  Then the bread and wine, the ordinary stuff of life raised to the plane of scarifice and freely offered that it may be blessed and transformed by the action of the Holy, made the food and salvation of the soul.  And now we stand at the central point on which all this is poised: where the Heavenly prayer and the Earthly prayer meet.  Our Father, which art in Heaven….  Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  That Will: that mysterious attribute of the Living [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: The Kingdom, by Evelyn Underhill

May 8, 2017

Having recognized and worshiped the Name, we pray next for its triumph: Thy Kingdom come.  Here man’s most sacred birthright, his deep longing for perfection, and with it his bitter consciousness of imperfection, break out with power.  We want to bring the God whom we worship, his beauty, his sovereignty, his order, into the very texture of our life; and the fundamental human need for action into the radius of our prayer.  This is the natural sequel to the prayer of adoration.  We have had a glimpse of the mystery of the Holy, have worshiped before the veils of beauty and sacrifice; and that throws into vivid relief the poverty, the anarchy, the unreality in which we live – the resistance of the world, the creature, to God, and [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: The Name, by Evelyn Underhill

May 1, 2017

Hallowed Be Thy Name.  The modern mind, living sometimes prudently and sometimes carelessly, but never theocentrically, cannot make anything of such words as these; for they sweep the soul up, past the successive and the phenomenal, and leave it in abject adoration before the single reality as the fact governing all judgments and all activities.  This, says our Lord in effect, is the way that you must begin, because this is the essence of religion.  For this, and only for this, it exists.  When he is asked for the secret of prayer, the true tent of meeting which the Lord pitched and not man, (Hebrews 8:2), this delighted recognition of God’s priority comes first to his mind.  Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!  [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: The Father, by Evelyn Underhill

April 24, 2017

The crowds who followed Christ hoping for healing or counsel did not ask him to teach them how to pray; nor did he give this prayer to them.  It is not for those who want religion to be helpful, who seek after signs; those who expect it to solve their political problems and cure their diseases, but are not prepared to share its cost.  He gave it to those whom he was going to incorporate into his rescuing system, use in his ministry; the sons of the Kingdom, self-given to the creative purposes of God.  Thou when thou prayest, pray ye on this manner.  It is the prayer of those “sent forth” to declare the Kingdom, whom the world will hate, whose unpopularity with man will be in proportion to their loyalty to God; the apostles [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Introductory, by Evelyn Underhill

April 17, 2017

Prayer is the substance of eternal life.  It gives back to man, insofar as he is willing to live to capacity – that is to say, to give love and suffer pain – the beatitude without which he is incomplete; for it sets going, deepens, and at last perfects that mutual indwelling of two orders which redeems us from unreality, and in which the creative process reaches its goal.  There is, as Henri Bremond has said, even in the poorest and crudest prayer, “a touch of Pentecost.”  It awaits and expects the action of the Spirit, acknowledges the most mysterious and yet the most certain reality of our experience; the intercourse of the Transcendent God with fugitive man, and of fugitive man with the Transcendent God.  Yet all our [...]