The Lord’s Prayer, or the “Our Father,” invites us to live with our neighbor in tender, loving intimacy of Jesus’ relationship with The One Who Is.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that if we are to begin praying this prayer truthfully, we must “overcome our divisions and oppositions.” Furthermore, before we even pray, “we must cleanse our hearts of false images drawn from ‘this world’ (#2779).”
Yet far too often white people of faith ignore and evade the ways we are malformed by white dominance in Church and society. The Lord’s Prayer calls us to recognize how we worship a false god of racial innocence and dominance. This false god blinds people of faith from recognizing our role in perpetuating the wound that is racism in the mystical body of Christ.
The Catechism is also clear that “heaven” is not a place, but rather a way of being in the world (#2802). Jesus’ way begins with humility—becoming vulnerable with and recognizing our need for people who bear the brunt of death-dealing racism—especially black and brown brothers and sisters who are crucified daily in our midst.
May the Lord’s prayer enkindle within us the fire of God’s love to hunger, thirst, and entrust ourselves to the well-being of all others, so that God’s will reign “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Questions for Reflection:
- How do you resist the evil of white dominance and innocence that lures us each day to deny Christ’s presence in our black, brown, yellow, and red brothers and sisters?
- How do you become a collaborative partner who co-creates God’s will for racial equity on earth as it is in heaven?
Alex Mikulich is a Catholic social ethicist and racial equity consultant. He is co-author of The Scandal of White Complicity in U.S. Hyper-Incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance (Palgrave 2013 and 2015). He co-edited and contributed to Interrupting White Privilege: Catholic Theologians Break the Silence (Orbis 2007) which won the Theological Book of the Year from the College Theology Society.