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Catechising on Morality with the Our Father
The Lord’s Prayer can be very helpfully used as a prayerful focus for catechising in morality. One of the advantages of this is that those we teach will gain the vital perspective that how we live and act flows from our prayer and is an expression of it. One on the gravest errors of our time is the dichotomy between faith professed and the practice of lives.[ii] It will help all of us to remember, as well, that the commandments begin with God and our relationship with him. When teaching morality, it is important to present our final ‘end’, or goal, very clearly. Then we need to present how to reach that goal, cooperating with God’s grace. Finally, we explain and discuss how to behave towards others in the light of these convictions. The structure of the Our Father lends itself very well to this approach. Our true fulfilment is to draw close to God, whom we call Abba, Father. The ‘how’ is reflected in the central part of the prayer; and the prayer closes with an appeal for help in relationships with others and in remaining faithful to the life he has in mind for us. We cry out to our Father in heaven revering his name; life in its fullest sense consists in a loving relationship with him. We are created in his image and he has placed in us a desire for him.[iii] So in teaching morality the focus is to be on the Father, his kingdom,[iv] and our eternal destiny. When we adopt this perspective, challenges in daily life can be seen to help lead us to the very place where we learn to be our true selves, the heart of the Father.