Fall has arrived. Crisp air permeates our days. Soon the trees will start shedding their leaves as they have year after year. As a book reviewer, there’s another guarantee; the fall publishing season. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. There is always a plethora of FANTASTIC books being released this time of year. That brings me to my latest read, Thy Kingdom Come: Living the Lord’s Prayer in Everyday Life by Father Jeffrey Kirby.
How often do we say the Lord’s Prayer? For starters, at least once a week at Mass. If you attend daily Mass, throw in a couple more. If you regularly pray the Rosary, add on a whole bunch more. But have you ever stopped to think about what you are praying? Have you thought to ponder the words that Jesus Christ taught us to pray? Have you ever paused to consider the magnitude of the fact that the Lord’s Prayer is THE prayer he gave us to pray? Buckle up because this book has the answers and so much more.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we are taught how to live as a son or daughter of God, a God who is a loving Father that loves us for who we are. All of our flaws, warts and blemishes considered, He still loves YOU. By diving into this book and gaining a greater understanding of what it is that we are praying, you will come to have a deeper appreciation of this, frankly, mind-boggling reality.
We are all familiar with the opening salutation, “Our Father who art in heaven.” Were you aware that the rest of the Lord’s Prayer is broken into seven tenets or signposts? Father Kirby takes a look at each of these tenets by committing one chapter to each. They are as follows:
Tenet 1 – Thy Name (Hallowed be thy name.)
Tenet 2 – Thy Kingdom (Thy kingdom come.)
Tenet 3 – Thy Will (Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.)
Tenet 4 – Give Us (Give us this day our daily bread.)
Tenet 5 – Forgive Us (Forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us.)
Tenet 6 – Lead Us (And lead us not into temptation)
Tenet 7 – Deliver Us (But deliver us from evil.)
And then, of course, we have the conclusion. These seven tenets, as Father Kirby explains, can be broken into two main sections. Tenets 1-3 are about God’s glory, and 4-7 are about our poverty. Each chapter includes a deep dive into one tenet. With each of the tenets, Father Kirby looks at ways to apply them to our world and circumstances today. Each chapter has an examination of conscience relative to the tenet covered.
Where the book gets very interesting is the School of Discipleship sections in each chapter. In this section, Father Kirby ties the tenet with one of the Gifts the Holy Spirit, a corresponding virtue, a beatitude and a sin. This makes for a wonderful opportunity to dive deeper into your faith journey and do some reflection on where you stand in your relationship with God. That’s not all. Each chapter concludes with various Scripture readings and, to top it off, additional reading resources. After going through this book, though perfectly suited for individual use, I believe it would make a superb resource for group study.
Are you “neglecting” the Lord’s Prayer? Has it become routine for you to utter the words with no second thought as to what you are saying? Thy Kingdom Come is the book for you. Accept the invitation to grow deeper in your relationship with God by gaining a deeper understanding of the words our Lord taught us to pray.
Pete: Why is the Our Father such an important prayer especially during these times of societal upheaval?
Father Jeffrey Kirby: First, most of us learned the Lord’s Prayer when we were still learning to speak so there’s a remarkable familiarity we have with this prayer. And yet, as much as we might know it, because we have known it for so long and we learn it when we are so little, often times the depth and the richness of the prayer can be lost. I really hope that by this book people can dive into the depth of the Lord’s Prayer. In particular, during our current times. First, because we have such uncertainty and anxiety we need to be reminded that we have a loving Father who is taking care of us, and at His providence cares and moves and guides all things. Second, the fact that he is OUR father. As we see division and tension amongst people on the streets and among races, we need to be reminded that we all share a common father, therefore we are all brothers and sisters. We should treat each other with a certain level of civility. There are so many layers and lessons that can be drawn at any time. I think that in particular right now the Lord’s Prayer can offer us really enlightening and encouraging lessons.
Full Interview link here.
By Pete Socks
Special to The Witness