The Father or Jesus?

Q. When I pray, am I praying to our Father, Our Lord, or Jesus? I know our Father is creator of heaven and earth.  

If Father and Son and Holy Spirit are one person, how could Jesus come to suffer for us? Wouldn’t that be the Father suffering? If you could help with this, I would be so grateful.  

B.P., Mondovi, Wis. 

A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:

All prayer, ultimately, is addressed to the Father. Yet we must pray through the Son. “No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” (Mt 11:27).  

The power to pray comes to us from the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes inexpressible groanings … the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will” (Rom 8:26-27). We pray to the Father through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God, but they are three Persons. By the theological principle of “appropriation,” we attribute certain operations to each one of the divine Persons, though all operations are those of the one God. Following the data of revelation, we speak of God as “Father,” of Son as “Redeemer,” of Holy Spirit as “Sanctifier.” By virtue of His incarnation, through His passion and death, the Son redeems the human race and, indeed, the whole of the cosmos.