Scott Hahn focuses on petitions of Our Father at Student Leadership Conference


Franciscan University hosted the Student Leadership Conference that aimed to give necessary training and direction to the future leaders of the church on January 16-17.

Scott Hahn, who holds a doctorate in systematic theology and has taught at Franciscan University for 25 years, and his wife, Kimberly were the keynote speakers and attracted a great number of students to the J.C. Williams Gentile Gallery.

David Schmiesing, vice president of Student Life, opened the conference. He addressed the students who will go out into the world upon graduation to lead the church in the right direction.

The theme of Scott Hahn’s talk was the Our Father and the seven petitions within that prayer. Even though the Our Father is the most common prayer, it is rarely carefully examined for its content, he said.

Scott Hahn divided the seven petitions into two parts. He said the first three petitions, “thy name,” “thy kingdom” and “thy will,” focus on understanding God as the heavenly Father and mankind’s relation to him and the last four petitions, “give us,” “forgive us,” “lead us,” and “deliver us,” focus on human needs.

“The prayer of Our Father was not something spontaneous,” said Scott Hahn as he explained how Jesus taught this prayer to his disciples and listed the petitions in the order in which they should be asked.

The opening line, “Our Father who art in heaven,” does not limit the infinite God into the finite understanding of earthly fathers, but rather allows people to be God’s sons and daughters who are away from their heavenly home, said Scott Hahn. He made a clear distinction between God as a creator and as father. To create infers beginning and, therefore, an ending, but to nurture as a father is eternal, he said.

Concerning the “thy name” petition, Scott Hahn said, “We cannot possibly make God’s name any more holy, but because we as his children bear his name, we need to be holier, and we ask to be sanctified.”

He continued with the “thy kingdom” petition. God does not start to love his children when they do good; it is because he loves them that they exist, said Scott Hahn. In the same way, they do not give consent to God’s commandments but accept the authority of God and his kingdom comes, he said.

The “thy will be done” petition ties everything together in the Our Father, said Scott Hahn.

“We are not asking God to change his plan, but we are asking to share His desire for us,” Scott Hahn said, “because He wants more for us than we could possibly want for ourselves.”

He said the four later petitions—give, forgive, lead, and deliver—all ask God for sanctification. Scott Hahn compared daily bread to the Eucharist, forgiveness to a way of loving his family, leadership to strength for trial and deliverance as protection against the source of sin.

On Friday night as a part of the Leadership Conference, Eucharistic Adoration was held in Christ the King Chapel followed by praise and worship. Those who attended the conference were left with examples and concepts that would aid them in living as leaders in the future.

The Student Leadership Conference was co-sponsored by the Center for Leadership, Residence Life and Student Life.

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