GIVE. Grammatically speaking, we have hit a turning in the Lord’s Prayer.
It’s easier to see it in the Italian rather than in the English, so bear with me here. The first three verb phrases are as follows: sia sanctificato (hallowed be), venga (come), and sia fatta (be done). These are all in the subjunctive tense, which expresses a wish or desire. We desire His name to be hallowed, we hope for His kingdom to come, and we pray for His will to be done.
Then we arrive at today’s word, dacci – da, meaning give, attached to ci, which means us. The interesting thing to me is that at this point in the prayer we have now abandoned the subjunctive tense for the imperative: Give is not a wish or desire, it’s a command. Jesus teaches us to instruct God to give because, as the Catechism states, “it glorifies our Father by acknowledging how good he is, beyond all goodness” (CCC 2828).
To give a command implies that you expect the request to be done – often in a timely fashion. And so when we command that God give us our daily bread, we fully expect Him to actually give it to us.
And give He does.
When I think of the word give, it’s hard to ignore the message of Gaudium et Spes (which is the crux of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body). It says that “man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” Jesus, without a doubt, is the perfect example of such giving. Not only did He give His life once for the salvation of our souls, He continues to give Himself to us every day in the Eucharist.
We’re called to mirror that self-emptying, self-giving love in our own lives.
We must remember, too, that a gift requires both a giver and a receiver. If we’re going to ask for something, it goes without saying that we should be willing to receive it, right? And if we are willing to receive it, don’t you think we should use it?
In demanding and subsequently receiving the Eucharist – which is freely given to us – we are transformed, and become part of the Body of Christ. That does not come without responsibilities. Just as Jesus gives His body (of which we are now a part), we need to give our own lives to His mission: In the Prayer of St. Francis we say, “For it is in giving that we receive.” In John 20, Jesus tells His disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” In Mark 10 He tells us, “Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” In Romans 12, St. Paul tells us, “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (all emphases mine).
It’s a cycle of self-giving. We command God to give, so He gives. If we receive, He commands us to give in return.
The Catechism says that “the trust of children who look to their Father for everything is beautiful.” We have asked for, and the Giver has given, the gift. It’s there for us to take whenever we want it. The challenge for us is to be good and worthy receivers of the perfect Gift from the perfect Giver. It is only then that we are able give as He gives.
Anna Mitchell is the news director and anchor for the Son Rise Morning Show on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. She is also a contributor to the Integrated Catholic Life. Anna’s favorite hobby is collecting old books to add to her bookshelves in her trendy downtown apartment in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio University in 2006 with degrees in Journalism and History. She loves reading, writing, playing guitar, and watching Reds baseball, Ohio State football and Project Runway. Anna is learning Italian so she can live in Rome someday, and is also very active in the St. Gertrude 20s Group in Cincinnati.
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