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Newly Launched Book in Kenya Aims to Give Deeper Insight into Lord’s Prayer: Author

A poster announcing the April 15 Book Launch in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. Credit : Pauline Publications Africa

The author of a new book has, at its launch in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, said that readers are expected to gain deeper insight into and have appreciation of the Lord’s prayer.

“It is my hope and prayer that this book will help people to have a deeper understanding of the richness of the Lord’s Prayer,” the Bishop emeritus Rodrigo Mejía Saldarriaga who authored the book said during the Thursday, April 15 virtual event that was also broadcast on Capuchin Television.

Published under the title, “When We Pray, We Say Our Father”, the book targets all Christians because “is not just a prayer but a way of life,” Bishop Mejía who, in January 2014 at the age of 75, retired as the Local Ordinary of Ethiopia's Soddo Apostolic Vicariate further said.

The Colombian-born member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) added, “Our Father is a prayer that all Christians, Catholic or not, learn as part of their first catechesis when they are young; but the understanding of the prayer is different.”

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“The disciples asked for a prayer and straight away, Jesus provided Our Father. That is because it is not just a prayer but a way of life and this is what moved me to deepen the meaning of each word of the prayer,” the Nairobi-based Bishop explained. 

Bishop Mejía went on to recall how he got inspired to write, highlighting the Holy Father’s 2013 series of public audiences and the Papal Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.

“Coincidentally, Pope Francis’ series of public audiences in the Vatican where he explained the Lord’s prayer came when I was thinking about this book,” Bishop Mejía who had ministered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya before going to Ethiopia said.

Recalling the inspiration from the Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti, the Bishop said that in October 2020 document, Pope Francis appeals for fraternity, which is only possible if humanity acknowledges that “We are all brothers because we have one Father.”

Published by the Nairobi-based Pauline Publications Africa, the 136-page book consisting of 11 chapters explains different phrases of the Lord’s prayer. 

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Highlighting the expression that acknowledges the value of God’s Kingdom, Bishop Mejía explained, “By saying your Kingdom comes, we say that God’s program may be heard not that it comes from heaven without doing anything. It also calls us to respond actively to receive and believe in the Kingdom.”

The expression, “lead us not into temptation,” which is mistaken to mean that God tempts His people “is a mistake in the English translation,” the 82-year-old Bishop said.

“The Gospel was written in Greek and translated to other languages. In Spanish, the words translate to ‘do not abandon us in the time of temptation,’” he explained, adding that “God cannot tempt us ... but He can test us like he did with Job and Abraham.”

Addressing the expression, “forgive us our trespasses”, the Jesuit Bishop said, “The greatest challenge in the prayer is to forgive.”

“Forgiving is difficult; it is almost impossible to forgive without the grace of God. We have to pray not just to be forgiven but to receive the grace to be forgiving others. That is the greatest spirit of the prayer,” explained Bishop Mejía who was at the helm of Ethiopia’s Soddo Apostolic Vicariate from March 2007 till his retirement said.

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Speaking during the April 15 book launch event, a Kenyan couple dedicated to nurturing marriages through counselling, Tom Lichuma and Lynette Lichuma, encouraged the people of God to read the book.

 

“The Book deepens our understanding of the Lord’s prayer. It has gone deeper into explaining the prayer of our Lord,” Tom said.

He highlighted the expression, “give us this day our daily bread” explained in the book saying, this part is “relevant to couples and families because challenges come when we struggle to fend for our families.”

“The book helps us to understand our daily challenges, temptations and the need for forgiveness,” Tom further said. 

On her part, Lynette said, “The Bishop explains the prayer in a way that we will easily understand.”

“Normally, when we are praying the Lord’s prayer, we just narrate it but when we read the book, you understand it a lot better,” she added.

Sold at US$8.00, the Book is available at Pauline bookshops in Nairobi and in soft copy at www.paulinesafrica.org.