Meditation on the Our Father

Meditation on the Our Father by an Unknown Author

translated by Br. Patrick Colbourne OFM Cap from the Italian text, introduction and notes by Costanzo Cargnoni O.F.M.Cap in "I Frati Cappuccini Documenti e Testimonianze del Primo Secolo", III/ 1 pp. 1568-1588.

This is a very practical example of the responses and emotions that can develop through meditating on the Our Father. Above all we can see how an unknown sixteenth century Capuchin used and put the method of Francesco da Jesi into practice. This is particularly evident in the preparatory acts where the “circumstances” and mind-set of the prayer, which Ripanti stressed so strongly, are brought into play.

In addition to the reasons already noted concerning the Capuchin origin of the codex (cf. AO 94 [1978] 378), what supports the supposition that the text was written by a Capuchin is the terminology that is used repeatedly to identify the Capuchin Order and which was so characteristic of the Capuchins: “Congregatione”, “santa religione”, “povera religione”, “la nostra povera Congregatione” and “nostra Congregatione”.

The various theological and biblical arguments that foster affective prayer are quite typical as are also the continuous repetition of having to beware of not yielding to sentimentalism and of keeping the soul reaching beyond itself in pure love.

The matter for meditation follows the text of the Our Father word for word. When meditating on the fatherhood of God, the unknown author refers to the value of creation, its conservation and its protection, while at the same time speaking about our vocation and the sanctification of mankind as the gift of being made in the image and likeness of God, thus referring to the excellence of the rational creature even in its body and finally mentioning the “admirable and divine nature” mankind has received from God. Then there is the gift of redemption and at this point, since this is the key concept of Franciscan and Capuchin meditation, examples are given of hundreds of the mysteries from the life of Christ, from his birth to his death on the cross. All of this is centred on the legacy of the Eucharist.

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