Plenarium, Augsburg

{found that sentence, when I was a Novice, written in an exercise book recording talks given to Novices a hundred years before. It is true. David's Psalms of Praise, composed when a shepherd boy, are beautiful in all languages, healing the souls of those who chant or read or hear them. So too is the Lord's Prayer a great gift, which comes down to us through the Greek, from Jesus' Aramaic, into all our languages, and with which we beg, before receiving the Bread and Wine, the gracious Gift of the Body and Blood of God, for which we in turn give Thanks. Today, in Greece, one still says ' evkaristo', 'eucharisto' 'I thank you'.

Women, in the Early Church, were the Catechists for women, beginning their teaching of them with the Lord's Prayer. Later, the Church only allowed women to write on the Lord's Prayer, permitting Teresa of Avila her treatise on it to our 'Eternal Majesty'. So much is concentrated in the writings of women on the Lord's Prayer because it includes us, sisters and mothers, as Christ says, with brothers, in the words 'Our Father'. We are there in the Gospel, there in the Lord's Prayer, there in the Magnificat, there in the Beatitudes.

Jesus, as one of us, clothed in our flesh and blood, was taught to pray by his mother, Mary. The first prayer a Hebrew mother teaches her son to pray is 'Into thy Hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit' , to be said by the child for the rest of his life before falling asleep, before death. Jesus would have heard her on the Sabbath Eve, at sunset on Friday, blessing the lamps, 'Blessed art thou, O Lord, King of the Universe, who hast given us Thy Commandments and bidst us light these Sabbath lights'. And then, following her, his father Joseph, say 'Blessed art Thou, O Lord, King of the Universe, who hast given us this bread to eat, this wine to drink, fruit of the earth, of the vine, and the work of human hands'.

Mary prayed the Magnificat. Jesus echoed her in the Beatitudes. But then his disciples asked to be taught how to pray, and he gave them a very Jewish prayer. Matthew gives the Prayer in rather crude Greek, behind which one can sense the original Hebrew, the original Aramaic, Matthew 6.9-15:

[AVINU SHEBA-SHAMAYYIM/ Our Father Who art in the heavens/ YITKADASH SHEMAYCHA/ Let Thy Name be sanctified (hallowed) / TAVO MALKUTAYCHA/ May Thy Kingdom come/ YE-ASSEH RETZONCHA/ Let Your Will take place/ K'MO BA-SHAMAYYIM KAIN BA-ARETZ/ as it is in the heavens, so also upon the earth/ ET LECHEM HUKAYNU TEN-LONU HA-YOM/ Give us today the bread for this day/ U-SLACH LONU ET HOVOTHEYNU/ Forgive us our sins (debts)/ KA-ASHER SOLACHNU GAM ANACHNU L'HA-YAVAYNU/  As we also have forgiven our debtors/ VIH-AL TIVI-AYNU LI-Y'DAY NISA-YON/ And lead us not into the hands of temptation/ KEE IM HAL-TZAYNU MIN HARAH/ And deliver us from evil from http://www.spiritheart.org/chapel/lordpryr.htm#hurtak_hebrew §

Pascale Sakr sang the 'Avoonan Dbishmaya' (Lord's Prayer) in the Aramaic from the Galilee: http://www.pascalesakr.com §

Dante said he wrote in the vernacular so that even women and children could read his Commedia. In Purgatorio he gives us the Lord's Prayer, said by those stooped under great stones, in humility countering their former pride. Which I have recorded being read by Carlo Poli, who was born where Giotto was, in the Mugello. Later, for centuries, the Church would forbid praying that was not in Latin. Imprisoning, for instance, Rosa Madiai and her husband, Francesco. Rosa is buried here in this English Cemetery in the heart of Florence. Then, after Vatican II, Catholic lay people could also read the Bible in their mother tongue, being liberated from Latin incomprehensibility. Here is the 'Padre nostro'.

Pray then in this way:

{ur Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
But rescue us from the evil one.
For the Lord's Prayer in Italian see http://www.umilta.net/padrenostro.html §
For the Lord's Prayer in Spanish see http://www.umilta.net/padrenuestro.html §
For the Aborigine Lord's Prayer see http://www.acc.asn.au/Liturgy.html#three §
The Pater Noster Convent in the Holy Land has a website giving the Lord's Prayer in all languages including Irish, for this prayer came to be said to the ends of the earth and beyond. See http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/index.html §

Artist Unknown, Wirramanu, South Australia







Tu sei nostro padre, la tua dimora è nei cieli, noi parliamo a te, Padre, tu sei buono.
Noi crediamo alla tua parola, Padre, dà oggi a noi, tuoi figli, il pane
Gli altri hanno fatto del male a noi; oggi, padre, proviamo dolore per loro.
Noi abbiamo commesso il male, proviamo contrizione, insegnaci tu, Padre, a non peccare più.
Impedisci a noi di compiere il male, Padre, salvaci dal maligno.
Tu sei nostro Padre, tu dimori nei cieli, noi parliamo a te, Padre, tu sei buono.

In Luke's sophisticated, yet far simpler, Greek version, 11. 2-4, this becomes:

While Mark gives us instead the Jewish Prayer of the Good Name, the Shema ,12.29-31: Which goes on to speak of the Lord's name as blessed and his kingdom as enduring for ever in the Jewish form of the Prayer. Then Mark's Gospel adds to it the prayer on our loving God with all one's heart, mind, soul, and strength, which is from the blessed Tau Prayer encapsulated upon the threshold of a Jewish home since the Exodus, and one's neighbour as oneself, phrases taken directly from Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

The Lord's Prayer echoes Jewish Prayers to God, hallowing his holy name, speaking of his kingdom, and of the Jubilee's forgiving of all debts, freeing of all slaves, Evelyn Underhill, the Anglican mystic, noting how its seven linked phrases are all in different ways from the Hebrew Scriptures. It combines the texts of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Strangely some of the best writing on the Lord's Prayer has come from women, from Jews, from outsiders to the Church. For 'Our Father' is the Father not just of sons, but also of daughters, not just of Christ's followers but of all humanity. It is inclusive, not exclusive. In these commentaries to the text the yearning to be free to God will be clear, whose service is perfect freedom. It will sound revolutionary but is not. Revolutions are of Lucifer. The Gospels, of God.

This is the Franciscan tertiary, Angela of Foligno, on Jesus praying, on the Lord's Prayer (Book of Angela Foligno (Instructions), Part II):

Andrea Della Robbia, Jesus in Prayer to the Father, Santa Croce, Sacristy

An aside on the art of the Della Robbia family is that they took the simple clay of the earth, baking it into 'terra cotta', as did God in creating Adam, ourselves, transforming it with white and blue glazes into Madonnas and Christs. So do we through prayer, and in particular, the Lord's Prayer, transform our mortal clay into the celestial blue/ white of Heaven. In Italian the words for 'Heaven', 'sky' and 'blue' are one: 'celi' 'celo', 'celeste'. This particular bust of Christ gives him also the green of the fruitful earth amidst the blue of his priestly robe.

In a medieval manuscript, contemporary with Julian of Norwich and which may have been written out by her and which is now in Norwich Castle , the original writer of the text, who knew Hebrew, divides the Prayer into seven parts, like the Jewish Candalabra in the Temple, like the seven days of the week, like the seven then-known planets in the heavens. He, or she, writes most movingly of these seven petitions that we make to God in the Prayer Jesus taught us. He and she may be Adam Easton and Julian of Norwich working together in collaboration.

Besides this most beautiful manuscript, with its initial letters in gold upon purple, the colours of wheat and grapes, much like those Boniface sought from English nuns like Lioba centuries earlier, we have also other texts written by women on the Lord's Prayer, Teresa of Avila in the Renaissance, and in our own past century, for instance, Evelyn Underhill's fine book, Abba, also Simone Weil' s superb essay, written when she was teaching it in Greek to her host, Gustave Thibon, and simultaneously reciting it in Greek while harvesting his grapes in southern France.

Norwich Castle Manuscript

Let us go through each of the seven petitions in turn, weaving together aspects from Julian of Norwich, from Teresa of Avila, from Evelyn Underhill, from Simone Weil, being aware that women writing on the 'Our Father ' turn patriarchy into catholicity, undoing all the apartheid of race, religion, class or gender that has crept into the centre of the Church from its edges. Evelyn Underhill even mentionsSt Teresa speaking of an old woman who spent an hour over the first two words, in reverence and in love. Let us, as we say these seven petitions, be like that reverent old woman, and too be like Jewish women lighting and hallowing the Sabbath lights, one for each petition, seven as a whole, healing the children, women and men of this world into God's kingdom of heaven.

I. Our Father, who art in Heaven.

Christ does not have us pray to him, for he calls himself humbly in the Gospels ' the son of man', in Hebrew this being ' Ben-Adam', for ' Adam' in Hebrew means also 'Everyman'. But he requests that we pray with him to 'Our Father ,' whom we share with him, 'Abba ' (Mark 14.36; Romans 8.15; Galatians 4.6), we being his brothers and sisters (Matthew 12.49-50, Mark 3.31-35, Luke 8.19-21). He becomes our brother, emptying himself, even becoming our servant (Philippians 2.5-11); he humbly and lovingly washes our feet, of which we are unworthy (John 13.3-20), and in this he copies Mary Magdalen's loving action and sacrament (Matthew 26.6-13, Mark 14.3-9, Luke 7.37-50, John 12.1-8, though the woman may not be Mary Magdalen). He says, 'Blessed art thou O Lord, King of the Universe who hast given us this wine and bread, fruit of the vine and the earth and the work of human hands' (which is the Jewish Sabbath Prayer said by the father and alluded to in Matthew 26.26-29, Mark 14.22-25, Luke 22.15-20, 1 Corinthians 10.16-22, 11.23-26). He later tragically says, 'Into thy hands, O Lord, I commit my soul' (Psalm 31.5, Luke 23.46). These are Jewish Prayers to God which Jesus prays.

But in Christ's Prayer, we now address God not only as Lord, King of the Universe, as his fearful slaves, but also as 'Abba' (Mark 14.36; Romans 8.15; Galatians 4.6), which is like saying 'Daddy' in English, 'Babbo' in Florentine Italian, as his beloved children, as his sons and daughters. We address someone whom we love and whom we can trust to love us in turn. A father, when his son, his daughter, his co-heirs, ask for bread, neither locks the door nor gives them a stone, nor, when they ask for a fish, does he give them a serpent (Matthew 7.10, Luke 11.11). Julian's Westminster Cathedral/Abbey Manuscript version of the Showings imitates this loving invocation in its opening address to '{ur gracious and good Lord . . . . ' We pray, in Christ's words, in Julian's words, for all our 'Evenchristians', as for ourselves; our brothers and sisters, as for ourselves (Matthew 12.46-50; Mark 3.31-35; Luke 8.19-21); in the love of God and of our neighbour (Mark 12.30-31); that we may all be one (John 17). St Cyprian reminds us that this prayer is not for oneself, but for all of us, not 'My Father . . . give me' but 'Our Father . . . give us this day, our daily bread'. And he then speaks of how this Prayer would have been said in that Upper Room of the Pentecost where the Mother of Jesus with other women and the disciples prayed together.

The learned Franco-Jewish philosopher Simone Weil, in her interpretation of the Lord's Prayer, will sometimes cull from the Greek and Platonic traditions, sometimes from the Hebraic. While Spanish Teresa of Avila, whose ancestry was also part Jewish, but who had had no formal education, will ramble in her conversational discourse to her Carmelite Sisters, yet always bring it back to 'His Majesty', King Jesus, a far greater King for her than that of Spain and all the Americas. There was a time when all books were removed from Teresa of Avila and her Sisters. 'Then Christ shall be my book in which I read ', she said, echoing Angela of Foligno. Here she tells her Sisters that it matters not how unruly and chatty one's own mind is in discourse and in prayer, what counts is that the Holy Spirit is present between such a Son and such a Father.

II. Hallowed be thy name.

If and because we hallow him, in the Lord's Prayer's second petition, we then can hallow ourselves, who are his image. But we doom ourselves if we try to hallow ourselves with wealth, power, esteem, riches, might, and love, with the World and the Flesh and the Devil we had promised to renounce at our Baptism. Is our name ' Legion', like the teeming unclean spirits that go into the herd of swine and drown themselves down the abyss (Luke 8.28-31), or is it 'Christian ', who 'one' ourselves with the Son, with the Father, with the Spirit, in Heaven? Dosteivsky in the 'Grand Inquisitor' episode in The Brothers Karamazov, described the need to reject the Devil's temptations, echoing Luke 4.2-8. The Norwich Castle Manuscript sees Pride as that sin which desires to hallow our own names, rather than God's.

'Israel ' in the Jewish 'Prayer of the Good Name ' Jesus prays in Mark 12.29, means 'God will rule', the Shekinah, the Presence of God. Jesus' own name we have failed to hallow, in Hebrew is ' Yeshuah', the ' jah' of 'Hallelujah' 'Alleluia', Joshua, Isaiah, and the ' el' of Israel, Ezekiel, Raphael, Michael, both meaning God. Jesus' name as 'Yeshuah ' means 'God saves'. By hallowing God's name we call down upon ourselves his presence, his Kingdom, in this world, saving us. In this prayer Julian has us ' one' ourselves with and in God. ' Not my name but thine be praised', the Norwich Castle Manuscript states. Yet in blessing and hallowing the Lord Jesus Himself is also paradoxically blessed and hallowed. And so are we all.

Simone Weil, from her Jewish heritage, notes that only God has the power to name himself and that that name is holiness. In hallowing it we free ourselves, she says, from the prison of self. Evelyn Underhill gives us St John of the Cross saying 'The Creation babbles to us, like a child which cannot articulate what it wants to say; for it is struggling to utter the one Word, the Name . . . of God'.

III. Thy kingdom come.

This is interpreted by Julian of Norwich, echoing Angela of Foligno, as meaning ' He is here, Emmanuel, the word made flesh dwelling in us, in the city of our soul, we being his throne.' Origen, On Prayer, XXII.5, p. 148, had said, 'Let our whole life as we pray without ceasing say '' Our Father, which art in heaven'', having its citizenship in no wise upon earth but in every way in the heavens which are God's thrones, inasmuch as the kingdom of God is set up in all those who bear the image of the heavenly and for that reason have become heavenly'.

The Norwich Castle Manuscript gave it as

The Norwich Castle Manuscript goes on to say that the opposite of this petition is Covetousness, to be counteracted by the prayer, 'Thy kingdom, not mine.' For the covetous want the kingdom for themselves.

Simone Weil speaks of it as the thirst we have for water, the cry from our whole being.

Outside Settignano, amongst olive groves is a small monastery, that of the Comunità dei figli di Dio, the Community of the Children of God. Its young monks and nuns walk to Mass, like grey sculpted columns. On the chapel's outer wall, so that passers-by may read, are these words:

Sergius of Radonez is Julian of Norwich's Russian contemporary. No writing by St Sergius has come down to us, the canticle being revealed to don Divo Barsotti, C.F.D., in a dream. Because he has deeply studied Julian of Norwich he gives us here Julian's sense of each of us as the throne of God and in whom the Father's Kingdom comes.

IV. Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

These lines of the 'Lord's Prayer' echo those of the Virgin at the Annunciation (Luke 1.38). They echo those of Christ at Gethsemani (Luke 23.42). They echo too those of Jesus said earlier (Matthew 12.46-50, Mark 3.31-35, Luke 8.19-21): 'Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother'. Julian adds, ' This is our Lord's will, that our prayer and our trust be both alike large .' In the Norwich Castle Manuscript this petition is given as the antidote to Envy, that God's will, not mine, be done, in charity, since God is love.

Simone Weil places this desire as that for eternity piercing through that of time. She also analogizes it to one dying of thirst for water, which if it is against God's will, must nevertheless be withheld. Evelyn Underhill gives us Nicholas of Cusa saying, ' I have learned that the place wherein Thou art found unveiled is girt round with the coincidence of contradictions'.

V. Give us this day our daily bread.

Jesus earned his bread as a carpenter, Peter, James and John as fishermen, Paul as a tentmaker. Matthew, when a tax-collector, was guilty of causing the lack of bread to others, but left the money table to follow Christ's simplicity.

Norwich Castle Manuscript says that we can not say 'our bread ' justly if we know of another who lacks it and to whom we do not give it. It adds that we must work for the common profit of our even-Christian, in giving, teaching, helping and comforting. That we are beggars , a phrase echoed in the later Lambeth Manuscript, and day by day beg our bread from God, adding that men who do not work and sweat, make this prayer unworthily. The manuscript adds that there should not be interdicts or excommunication, since no man or woman ought to be parted from Christ's body, Christ having given the sacrament even to Judas. Yet there should be counsel concerning the need to receive the sacrament worthily. The manuscript adds that this petition is the antidote to Sloth. Related to this material is the Latin American Grace: 'We pray that those who lack bread shall have it, and that those who have it, shall hunger and thirst for justice for those who have it not '. Jesus, the Norwich Castle Manuscript notes, said ' My meat is to do my father's will' (John 4.34), linking these two petitions.

Evelyn Underhill quotes a Spanish prayer, 'Thou feedest thy poor ones abundantly with heavenly loaves', and an Irish Gospel ' Give us this day for bread the Word of God from Heaven '. Simone Weil says that Christ is our bread. She adds that, like manna, we cannot store it. The paradox here is that the medieval Norwich Castle Manuscript is more Christian Marxist than is twentieth-century Simone Weil.

Fioretta Mazzei on patience notes that even a piece of bread requires a year of growing and the labour of many hands.

Prova ad avere pazienza: anche per un pezzo di pane

ci vuole un anno di lavoro e molte mani che collaborano.

Antonella Somigli
Try to be patient: Even for a piece of bread

a year of work and many hands are needed.

VI. Forgive us our sins, our debts, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

In the Hebrew Scriptures at the end of every seven times seven years, in the fiftieth year, the Trumpet shall be blown, the Trump of Doomsday blown, the Bell of Jubilee, the Liberty Bell (for it was the Quakers who had founded Philadelphia fifty years before that bell was cast) rung, all debts be forgiven, all slaves be freed, and the land lie fallow in a great Sabbath of Sabbaths. ' Let Liberty be proclaimed throughout the land ' (Leviticus 25.10).

The Norwich Castle Manuscript, speaking of the Sabbath of Sabbaths, states that those who trespass against us are our Evenchristians. In failing to forgive them, we trespass against God, not doing his will of charity. As David and Augustine said, all of us are debtors to God. Those who forgive are forgiven. The one who is wrathful towards his even-Christian is but 'flesh and worm's meat', and cannot have God's mercy. Augustine says, 'You take heed what man does against you, but not what you do against God, which is worse than what was done to you. For how can he forgive much when you will not forgive even the little debt ' (Matthew 18.21-35). Augustine says God has given it into our power and our will how we shall be judged at Doomsday. This petition is the antidote against the sin of Anger.

Today we learn that those who have been abused are condemned to abuse others in turn - unless they can forgive. Then they are freed from despair and from cruelty. The website Oliveleaf is about such empowering to forgive for freedom. Where we cannot and do not forgive, we are forever in bondage, forever in debt, to those whom we hate. But where we turn hatred into love, we become free. Where we forgive those who hurt us we overcome their evil, we overcome evil itself, and release wellsprings of goodness from our souls into the world, unravelling its harm. Revenge merely copies it, multiplies it, and inevitably damages innocent as well as criminal, storms in tea cups growing into global warfare, the terrible sowing and harvesting of dragons' teeth. The Sandinistas in Nicaragua, whose revolutionary junta included a poet priest, had a peace banner: 'Forgiveness is our revenge', displayed in their centres for re-educating their former Somozista torturers. Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela saw the need in South Africa for Truth and Justice hearings, listening to both sides of the story.

Simone Weil notes that everything we have is a debt. And that we owe also gratitude for any good we may have received as well as reparation for any wrong we think we have suffered. We must renounce the claim of the past on the future. The forgiveness of debts is a spiritual poverty, nakedness, death - turning into life. Evelyn Underhill notes that St Teresa said the saints rejoiced at injuries, because in forgiving them they had something to offer to God. I like my Mother Foundress Agnes Mason's comment, 'Rabbis say that on the Seventh day God could rest, because at last he had made something he could forgive'.

VII. And lead us not into temptation.

The Norwich Castle Manuscript states that 'Blessed is the one who is tried, for he shall win the crown of life', and gives this as the antidote to Gluttony. Lead us not into tempation, for instance the Devil's temptation to Christ that he turn stones into bread.

But deliver us from evil.

In France where this prayer is sung at Mass, it ends with the word 'male', 'evil ', on a high note, turning evil into utter beauty, the people in the congregation having sung the prayer in the Early Christian position of the orans , their hands held up and out into the reciprocating hands of God in blessing/crucifixion. The Norwich Castle Manuscript says of 'Libera nos a malo', at folio 78, that a good man and woman says the Pater Noster and Credo not just for themselves but for all Holy Church. The Manuscript gives this as the antidote to the deadly sin of Lechery, noting that in this request, that God deliver us from evil, we ask freedom for our soul, not thraldom. By hallowing the name of God, through Chastity, the evil of Good Friday becomes the Easter Uprising of the Sunday.

When I talked upon the Lord's Prayer, though I wished to retain most of the translated words, I begged that this line be changed into 'But free us from evil ', into a Julianesque Anglo-Saxon word, rather than a Latinate one. For we keep, in English, the lovely but antique word ' hallowed'. The Lord's Prayer, like the Exodus and its Tau mark, because it and we seek such a hallowing, can free us from sin and death.

I have been teaching a young gypsy mother from Romania how to read and to write. Her family had been too poor to pay for their daughters' schooling, only that of their sons, so she had never been to school. Remembering the medieval and Renaissance way of teaching children, I had her copy - and she prays from this - the Lord's Prayer in Italian, for we are together in Italy. She is Romanian Orthodox. She sings lullabies to her baby - whom I baptized - of 'Alleluia'. Her people were Christian slaves of Christians in her land for hundreds of years. She has been begging in the streets of Florence to support her family in Romania of seven, and recently was told she could not beg outside the churches. Though single alcoholic men can. This is the first time she copied out the Lord's Prayer, the 'Padre Nostro':

And then Vandana Culea, also from Romania, wrote out the Lord's Prayer in Romanian:

Tatal nostru care esti in cer+
Sintesca se numele tau+
Vie imparatica ta
Facase voia ta precum in cere+
Asa si pe pamint
Puinea noastra cea de toate zilele+
Dane nova astazi si ne iarta+
Noua greselile noastra precum si noi+
Iertam gresililo nostri+
Si nu ne duce per noi in ispita+
Si ne izvuiabeste de cel rau+

Simone Weil notes that the 'Lord's Prayer' begins with the word 'Father ', and ends with the word 'evil', that it goes from confidence to fear. She also sees how each petition interelates to all the others. She ends by noting:

Or, one could add, in the world, its hallowing back into Creation.

One imagines her earning her daily bread, picking grapes, in Southern France, and reciting this prayer in the Gospel's Greek, while yearning for her to say it in her own Hebrew. She fled from the Nazis to London and died there of anorexia. Another young Jewish woman philosopher, from Germany rather than France, wrote on Pseudo-Dionysius , became a Carmelite contemplative, like Teresa of Avila , and died in the war in a concentration camp. Her name - Edith Stein . Both were overcome physically by evil; both wrote texts on God, enabling us to overcome evil. These women, his sisters, the first outside the Church, dying unbaptised, the second become a Carmelite nun and today a Christian saint, image Jesus teaching us to pray the Our Father, our Abba.

Alan Oldfield, Revelations of Divine Love, 1987.
St Gabriel's Chapel, All Hallows Convent, Ditchingham
Photograph, Sister Pamela, C.A.H. Permission, Friends of Julian


The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 5673-1913.

The Greek New Testament. Ed. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, Allen Wikgren. Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1983.

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. Ed. Bruce M. Metzger, Roland E. Murphy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Norwich Castle Museum Manuscript 158.926/4g.5.

Origen. On Prayer. Ed. Eric Jay. London: S.P.C.K., 1954.

Stein, Edith. 'The Knowledge of God'. In Writings of Edith Stein. Ed & trans. Hilda Graef. London: Peter Owen, 1956. Pp. 61-95.

Teresa of Avila. Pater Noster . Extract from The Way of Perfection. ICS, 1982.

Underhill, Evelyn. The Fruits of the Spirit/ Light of Christ: With a Memoir by Lucy Menzies/ Abba: Meditations Based on the Lord's Prayer. London: Longman's, 1956.

Weil, Simone. 'Concerning the Our Father'. The Simone Weil Reader. Ed. George A. Panichas. New York: David McKay, 1977. Pp. 492-100.

A footnote on Viktor Frankl, speaking at nearly 90 in Vienna in an interview with Matthew Scully:

At the time of his deportation, from a train station just blocks from where he was now speaking, Frankl was putting the final touches on a book advancing these same points. He had a chance before the war to go to America to write his books and build a reputation. "Should I foster my brainchild, logotherapy . . . or should I concentrate on my duties as a real child of my parents" and stay by them? He arrived home from the American consulate, visa in hand, to find a large block of marble sitting on the table. Recovered by his father from a local synagogue razed by the Nazis, it was, Frankl recalled, a piece from a tablet bearing the first letters of the Commandment, "Honor thy father and mother that thy days may be long upon the land." He let his visa lapse.

Frankl is the rare intellectual called to live out his theories, and then rewarded against staggering odds for his faithfulness. Man's Search for Meaning itself attests to his notion of hyperintention. Had he used the visa and the excuse of professional obligation he would not be the same compelling witness. The camps, he wrote, reveal man much as Freud and others had described him-a creature driven by ego and instinct and sublimated drives. But they reveal something even more fundamental-our defining "capacity for self-transcendence." "Man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips." Frankl-who in the early thirties coined the word "existentialism"-is the man who reminded modern psychology of one detail it had overlooked, the patient's soul.

With especial thanks to Kate Lindeman in America who reminds me that St Teresa of Avila had also written on the Lord's Prayer and to Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, C.P., of Kilcullen, Ireland, who gave me a copy of the treatise.


This is a chapter from an E-Book in progress, Miriam and Aaron: The Bible and Women.




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