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Something to think and pray about this week

A Pilgrim Church

The popularity of the Lord’s Prayer may today partly spring from the perception that it has a universal application and can be shared by all who believe in a common creator God. For Christians, however, the prayer is above all a series of petitions addressed to the Father of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  And in saying the Our Father we are reminding ourselves that we together form a pilgrim Church. The idea of the Church as a people on pilgrimage to the promised land of heaven was a favourite one of Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries. In modern times it has been given a powerful place in Christian thinking by the Second Vatican Council’s stressing that the Catholic Church is much more than a multinational institution with its head office in Rome. Above all, it is God’s new People, a fulfillment of Israel, which the Council described as ‘making its pilgrim way in hope towards its goal, the heavenly fatherland’ (Decree on Ecumenism, 2). The Council confirmed this in a striking quotation from Augustine when it pronounced that ‘the Church, “like a pilgrim in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God”, announcing the cross and death of the Lord until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26)’ (Decree on the Church, 8). As such, just like ancient Israel in the desert, we need our daily bread.

Excerpted from Glimpses of the Gospels- Theological, Spiritual and Practical Reflections by Jack Mahoney SJ
(p: 22)