When we pray the Our Father


When we pray the Our Father, is it to God the Father or to the whole Trinity? If you could give me a Church teaching about this, that would be good. (Please do not say that when we pray to one of the divine Persons, we are praying to all of them. I feel that is the easy way to answer the question.)


Hi MH,

When Jesus prayed the Father, he was not praying to himself. The three persons of the Trinity are distinct; acts can be attributed to them singly, inasmuch as they operate as one but each in a mode proper to them. Here’s how the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it :

258 The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine persons. For as the Trinity has only one and the same natures so too does it have only one and the same operation: “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation but one principle.” However, each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. Thus the Church confesses, following the New Testament, “one God and Father from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are”. It is above all the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit that show forth the properties of the divine persons.

So, yes, when we pray to the Father, we are praying to the whole Trinity, but we are appealing to the Father’s particular mode of existence, as the source of divine life and of everything that is.



I agree with Verbum, but would praise it slightly differently. There are three divine persons in the Trinity. Each is wholly and completely God. But there are not three Gods, only one God. That is the mystery of the Trinity. Thus, when we pray to either Father, Son or Holy Spirit, we are praying to the one God. Of the Nature of God, we then actually pray to all three divine persons.
Deacon Ed B


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