I probably think about things too much, but lately I've been reflecting a little on the introduction to the Our Father at the beginning of the Communion Rite. Probably for most of us it's not a big deal, just a transitional phrase to get from one part of the Mass of to another. Some of this, at least from the point of view of the priest, probably has to do with the usual arrangement of American sacramentaries, in which the prayer after the Our Father is on the top of a new page. Since most priests know the Our Father, it is usually this page that one turns to after the doxology, and so the introductions to the Our Father are rarely consulted.
I think most of us do this introduction ad lib, or at least with some phrase that we have made habitual for ourselves, even though it's not one of those places where the rubrics allow for 'these or similar words.' I've always done this myself, with some introduction that is close to, or incorporates parts from the actual text in the sacramentary, but not following along exactly. Some of this comes from early experiences offering the Mass; as a new priest, there's a great relief in having arrived at this moment in the liturgy, and with that feeling one feels a bit more loose moving forward.
I've often said something like option A, Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us, or option D, Let us pray for the coming of the kingdom as Jesus taught us. I don't know why, but lately I've started to wonder about the theological adequacy of these statements. Maybe it's because one of the other priests here in the friary always introduces the Our Father with a version of the classic introduction: "Faithful to the Savior's command, and formed by the Word of God, we dare to say..."
What bothers me is this sense of the prayer 'that Jesus taught us' or 'the words our Savior gave us.' Yes, Jesus teaches us to pray the Our Father, but does he not also command us to offer the whole of the Mass? I worry that these introductions could import a subtle distinction between the Our Father as the prayer that is from Jesus, as opposed to the rest of the Mass.
Maybe hanging out with students has made me overly sensitive to such a thing; sometimes I perceive in them impious understandings of the faith having crept in as ordinary assumptions. I was speaking to one beginning theology student about the Old Testament. When I asked him, 'Isn't the Old Testament about Christ?' he responded that the early Christians had reinterpreted it as such. As if Christ came to exist because the 'early Christians' dreamed him up! And yet sometimes such assumptions, which belong properly to the unbelieving and confused world, can find their way unquestioned into the ordinary discourse of the theological classroom.
That's why, if I'm going to invite people to pray 'as Jesus taught us' or 'in the words our Savior gave us,' I'm going to do it before Mass begins, in reference to the whole of the prayer and sacrifice Jesus Christ gave us and commanded us to offer, including the Our Father.
In any case, this is another question that will be moot when the new translation goes into effect. There are no longer options for this moment in the Mass, only At the Savior's command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say: