Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2855-2856, 2865 - The Final Doxology

clock September 25, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the final doxology of the Lord’s Prayer and the meaning of the word, “Amen”. Supporting material comes from Tertullian’s “On Prayer”. This is the final part in the Catechism Study Series. I hope you have been able to follow along and keep up with the daily readings. If not, you will notice that we concluded in slightly less than a year, giving you a few extra days to catch up and finish within a year.

Article 4

THE FINAL DOXOLOGY

2855 The final doxology, "For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever," takes up again, by inclusion, the first three petitions to our Father: the glorification of his name, the coming of his reign, and the power of his saving will. But these prayers are now proclaimed as adoration and thanksgiving, as in the liturgy of heaven.176 The ruler of this world has mendaciously attributed to himself the three titles of kingship, power, and glory.177 Christ, the Lord, restores them to his Father and our Father, until he hands over the kingdom to him when the mystery of salvation will be brought to its completion and God will be all in all.178

2856 "Then, after the prayer is over you say 'Amen,' which means 'So be it,' thus ratifying with our 'Amen' what is contained in the prayer that God has taught us."179

IN BRIEF

2865 By the final "Amen," we express our "fiat" concerning the seven petitions: "So be it".

In “On Prayer”, Tertullian summarizes the Lord’s Prayer.

Chapter 9. Recapitulation.

In summaries of so few words, how many utterances of the prophets, the Gospels, the apostles— how many discourses, examples, parables of the Lord, are touched on! How many duties are simultaneously discharged! The honour of God in the Father; the testimony of faith in the Name; the offering of obedience in the Will; the commemoration of hope in the Kingdom; the petition for life in the Bread; the full acknowledgment of debts in the prayer for their Forgiveness; the anxious dread of temptation in the request for Protection. What wonder? God alone could teach how he wished Himself prayed to. The religious rite of prayer therefore, ordained by Himself, and animated, even at the moment when it was issuing out of the Divine mouth, by His own Spirit, ascends, by its own prerogative, into heaven, commending to the Father what the Son has taught.

Footnotes

176 Cf. ⇒ Rev 1:6; ⇒ 4:11; ⇒ 5:13.
177 Cf. ⇒ Lk 4:5-6.
178 ⇒ 1 Cor 15:24-28.
179 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5,18: PG 33, 1124; cf. Cf. ⇒ Lk 1:38.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2850-2854, 2864 – But Deliver Us from Evil

clock September 24, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the final petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “But deliver us from evil.” Supporting material comes from Tertullian’s “On Prayer”.

VII "BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL"

2850 The last petition to our Father is also included in Jesus' prayer: "I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one."163 It touches each of us personally, but it is always "we" who pray, in communion with the whole Church, for the deliverance of the whole human family. The Lord's Prayer continually opens us to the range of God's economy of salvation. Our interdependence in the drama of sin and death is turned into solidarity in the Body of Christ, the "communion of saints."164

2851 In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who "throws himself across" God's plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ.

2852 "A murderer from the beginning, . . . a liar and the father of lies," Satan is "the deceiver of the whole world."165 Through him sin and death entered the world and by his definitive defeat all creation will be "freed from the corruption of sin and death."166 Now "we know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.
We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one."167

The Lord who has taken away your sin and pardoned your faults also protects you and keeps you from the wiles of your adversary the devil, so that the enemy, who is accustomed to leading into sin, may not surprise you. One who entrusts himself to God does not dread the devil. "If God is for us, who is against us?"168

2853 Victory over the "prince of this world"169 was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out."170 "He pursued the woman"171 but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring."172 Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus,"173 since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.

2854 When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ's return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades," who "is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."174

Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.175

IN BRIEF

2864 In the last petition, "but deliver us from evil," Christians pray to God with the Church to show forth the victory, already won by Christ, over the "ruler of this world," Satan, the angel personally opposed to God and to his plan of salvation.

Tertullian discusses the final petition of the Lord’s Prayer in “On Prayer”.

Chapter 8. The Seventh or Final Clause

For the completeness of so brief a prayer He added— in order that we should supplicate not touching the remitting merely, but touching the entire averting, of acts of guilt— Lead us not into temptation: that is, suffer us not to be led into it, by him (of course) who tempts; but far be the thought that the Lord should seem to tempt, as if He either were ignorant of the faith of any, or else were eager to overthrow it. Infirmity and malice are characteristics of the devil. For God had commanded even Abraham to make a sacrifice of his son, for the sake not of tempting, but proving, his faith; in order through him to make an example for that precept of His, whereby He was, by and by, to enjoin that he should hold no pledges of affection dearer than God. He Himself, when tempted by the devil, demonstrated who it is that presides over and is the originator of temptation. This passage He confirms by subsequent ones, saying, Pray that you be not tempted; yet they were tempted, (as they showed) by deserting their Lord, because they had given way rather to sleep than prayer. The final clause, therefore, is consonant, and interprets the sense of Lead us not into temptation; for this sense is, But convey us away from the Evil One.”

Footnotes

163 ⇒ Jn 17:15.
164 Cf. RP 16.
165 ⇒ Jn 8:44; ⇒ Rev 12:9.
166 Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 125.
167 ⇒ 1 Jn 5:18-19.
168 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 5, 4, 30: PL 16, 454; cf. ⇒ Rom 8:31.
169 ⇒ Jn 14:30.
170 ⇒ Jn 12:31; ⇒ Rev 12:10.
171 ⇒ Rev 12:13-16.
172 ⇒ Rev 12:17.
173 ⇒ Rev 22:17,20.
174 ⇒ Rev 1:8, ⇒ 18; cf. ⇒ Rev 1:4; ⇒ Eph 1:10.
175 Roman Missal, Embolism after the Lord's Prayer, 126: Libera nos,quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris, ut, ope misericordiae tuae adiuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi: expectantes beatam spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2846-2849, 2863 – And Lead Us not into Temptation

clock September 23, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the petition, “and lead us not into temptation”. Supporting material comes from the “Catechetical Lectures” of St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

VI. "And Lead Us not into Temptation"

2846 This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to "lead" us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both "do not allow us to enter into temptation" and "do not let us yield to temptation."150 "God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one";151 on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle "between flesh and spirit"; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength.

2847 The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man,152 and temptation, which leads to sin and death.153 We must also discern between being tempted and consenting to temptation. Finally, discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a "delight to the eyes" and desirable,154 when in reality its fruit is death.
God does not want to impose the good, but wants free beings.... There is a certain usefulness to temptation. No one but God knows what our soul has received from him, not even we ourselves. But temptation reveals it in order to teach us to know ourselves, and in this way we discover our evil inclinations and are obliged to give thanks for the goods that temptation has revealed to us.155

2848 "Lead us not into temptation" implies a decision of the heart: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.... No one can serve two masters."156 "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."157 In this assent to the Holy Spirit the Father gives us strength. "No testing has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it."158

2849 Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer. It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony.159 In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own. Vigilance is "custody of the heart," and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: "Keep them in your name."160 The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch.161 Finally, this petition takes on all its dramatic meaning in relation to the last temptation of our earthly battle; it asks for final perseverance. "Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake."162

IN BRIEF

2863 When we say "lead us not into temptation" we are asking God not to allow us to take the path that leads to sin. This petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength; it requests the grace of vigilance and final perseverance.

In his “Catechetical Lectures” (23), St. Cyril of Jerusalem discusses the petition, “lead us not into temptation”.

17. And lead us not into temptation, O Lord. Is this then what the Lord teaches us to pray, that we may not be tempted at all? How then is it said elsewhere, a man untempted, is a man unproved ; and again, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various temptations James 1:2? But does perchance the entering into temptation mean the being overwhelmed by the temptation? For temptation is, as it were, like a winter torrent difficult to cross. Those therefore who are not overwhelmed in temptations, pass through, showing themselves excellent swimmers, and not being swept away by them at all; while those who are not such, enter into them and are overwhelmed. As for example, Judas having entered into the temptation of the love of money, swam not through it, but was overwhelmed and was strangled both in body and spirit. Peter entered into the temptation of the denial; but having entered, he was not overwhelmed by it, but manfully swam through it, and was delivered from the temptation. Listen again, in another place, to a company of unscathed saints, giving thanks for deliverance from temptation, You, O God hast proved us; You have tried us by fire like as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; You layed afflictions upon our loins. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and water; and you brought us out into a place of rest. You see them speaking boldly in regard to their having passed through and not been pierced. But You brought us out into a place of rest; now their coming into a place of rest is their being delivered from temptation.

Footnotes

150 Cf. ⇒ Mt 26 41.
151 Jas 113.
152 Cf. ⇒ Lk. 8:13-15; ⇒ Acts 14:22; ⇒ Rom 5:3-5; ⇒ 2 Tim 3:12.
153 Cf. ⇒ Jas 1:14-15.
154 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3:6.
155 Origen, De orat. 29 PG 11, 544CD.
156 ⇒ Mt 6:21, ⇒ 24.
157 ⇒ Gal 5:25.
158 ⇒ 1 Cor 10:13.
159 Cf. ⇒ Mt 4:1-11; ⇒ 26:36-44.
160 ⇒ Jn 17:11; Cf. ⇒ Mk 13:9, ⇒ 23, ⇒ 33-37; ⇒ 14:38; ⇒ Lk 12:35-40.
161 Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 16:13; ⇒ Col 4:2; ⇒ 1 Thess 5:6; ⇒ 1 Pet 5:8.
162 ⇒ Rev 16:15.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2838-2845, 2862 – Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

clock September 22, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the petition, “Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us”. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s “On Nature and Grace”.

V. "And Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as We Forgive Those Who Trespass AGAINST US"

2838 This petition is astonishing. If it consisted only of the first phrase, "and forgive us our trespasses," it might have been included, implicitly, in the first three petitions of the Lord's Prayer, since Christ's sacrifice is "that sins may be forgiven." But, according to the second phrase, our petition will not be heard unless we have first met a strict requirement. Our petition looks to the future, but our response must come first, for the two parts are joined by the single word "as."

and forgive us our trespasses . . .

2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him.133 Our petition begins with a "confession" of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, "we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."134 We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.135

2840 Now - and this is daunting - this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see.136 In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father's merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.

2841 This petition is so important that it is the only one to which the Lord returns and which he develops explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount.137 This crucial requirement of the covenant mystery is impossible for man. But "with God all things are possible."138

. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us

2842 This "as" is not unique in Jesus' teaching: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect"; "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful"; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."139 It is impossible to keep the Lord's commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make "ours" the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.140 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves "forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave" us.141

2843 Thus the Lord's words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end,142 become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord's teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: "So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."143 It is there, in fact, "in the depths of the heart," that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.

2844 Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies,144 transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God's compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another.145

2845 There is no limit or measure to this essentially divine forgiveness,146 whether one speaks of "sins" as in Luke (⇒ 11:4), "debts" as in Matthew (⇒ 6:12). We are always debtors: "Owe no one anything, except to love one another."147 The communion of the Holy Trinity is the source and criterion of truth in every relationship. It is lived out in prayer, above all in the Eucharist.148

God does not accept the sacrifice of a sower of disunion, but commands that he depart from the altar so that he may first be reconciled with his brother. For God can be appeased only by prayers that make peace. To God, the better offering is peace, brotherly concord, and a people made one in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.149

IN BRIEF

2862 The fifth petition begs God's mercy for our offences, mercy which can penetrate our hearts only if we have learned to forgive our enemies, with the example and help of Christ.

St. Augustine discusses this petition of the Lord’s Prayer in “On Nature and Grace”.

Chapter 70 [LX.]— Whether Any Man is Without Sin in This Life

Now, whether there ever has been, or is, or ever can be, a man living so righteous a life in this world as to have no sin at all, may be an open question among true and pious Christians; but whoever doubts the possibility of this sinless state after this present life; is foolish. For my own part, indeed, I am unwilling to dispute the point even as respects this life. For although that passage seems to me to be incapable of bearing any doubtful sense, wherein it is written, In your sight shall no man living be justified (and so of similar passages), yet I could wish it were possible to show either that such quotations were capable of bearing a better signification, or that a perfect and plenary righteousness, to which it were impossible for any accession to be made, had been realized at some former time in some one while passing through this life in the flesh, or was now being realized, or would be hereafter. They, however, are in a great majority, who, while not doubting that to the last day of their life it will be needful to them to resort to the prayer which they can so truthfully utter, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, Matthew 6:12 still trust that in Christ and His promises they possess a true, certain, and unfailing hope. There is, however, no method whereby any persons arrive at absolute perfection, or whereby any man makes the slightest progress to true and godly righteousness, but the assisting grace of our crucified Saviour Christ, and the gift of His Spirit; and whosoever shall deny this cannot rightly, I almost think, be reckoned in the number of any kind of Christians at all.

Footnotes

133 Cf. ⇒ Lk 15:11-32, ⇒ 18:13.
134 ⇒ Col 1:14; ⇒ Eph 1:7.
135 Cf. ⇒ Mt 26:28; ⇒ Jn 20:23.
136 Cf. ⇒ l Jn 4:20.
137 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:14-15; ⇒ 5:23-24; ⇒ Mk 11:25.
138 ⇒ Mt 19:26.
139 ⇒ Mt 5:48; ⇒ Lk 6:36; ⇒ Jn 13:34.
140 Cf. ⇒ Gal 5:25; ⇒ Phil 2:1,5.
141 ⇒ Eph 4:32.
142 Cf. ⇒ Jn 13:1.
143 Cf. ⇒ Mt 18:23-35.
144 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:43-44.
145 Cf. ⇒ 2 Cor 5:18-21; John Paul II, DM 14.
146 Cf. ⇒ Mt 18:21-22; ⇒ Lk 17:3-4.
147 ⇒ Rom 13:8.
148 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:23-24; ⇒ 1 Jn 3:19-24.
149 St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 23: PL 4, 535-536; cf. ⇒ Mt 5:24.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2828-2837, 2861 – Give us This Day Our Daily Bread

clock September 21, 2013 01:01 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the petition, “Give us this day our Daily Bread”. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s “Sermons on the New Testament”.

IV. "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

2828 "Give us": the trust of children who look to their Father for everything is beautiful. "He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."113 He gives to all the living "their food in due season."114 Jesus teaches us this petition, because it glorifies our Father by acknowledging how good he is, beyond all goodness.

2829 "Give us" also expresses the covenant. We are his and he is ours, for our sake. But this "us" also recognizes him as the Father of all men and we pray to him for them all, in solidarity with their needs and sufferings.

2830 "Our bread": the Father who gives us life cannot not but give us the nourishment life requires - all appropriate goods and blessings, both material and spiritual. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus insists on the filial trust that cooperates with our Father's providence.115 He is not inviting us to idleness,116 but wants to relieve us from nagging worry and preoccupation. Such is the filial surrender of the children of God:

To those who seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, he has promised to give all else besides. Since everything indeed belongs to God, he who possesses God wants for nothing, if he himself is not found wanting before God.117

2831 But the presence of those who hunger because they lack bread opens up another profound meaning of this petition. The drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family. This petition of the Lord's Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment.118

2832 As leaven in the dough, the newness of the kingdom should make the earth "rise" by the Spirit of Christ.119 This must be shown by the establishment of justice in personal and social, economic and international relations, without ever forgetting that there are no just structures without people who want to be just.

2833 "Our" bread is the "one" loaf for the "many." In the Beatitudes "poverty" is the virtue of sharing: it calls us to communicate and share both material and spiritual goods, not by coercion but out of love, so that the abundance of some may remedy the needs of others.120

2834 "Pray and work."121 "Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you."122 Even when we have done our work, the food we receive is still a gift from our Father; it is good to ask him for it with thanksgiving, as Christian families do when saying grace at meals.

2835 This petition, with the responsibility it involves, also applies to another hunger from which men are perishing: "Man does not live by bread alone, but . . . by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,"123 that is, by the Word he speaks and the Spirit he breathes forth. Christians must make every effort "to proclaim the good news to the poor." There is a famine on earth, "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD."124 For this reason the specifically Christian sense of this fourth petition concerns the Bread of Life: the Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist.125

2836 "This day" is also an expression of trust taught us by the Lord,126 which we would never have presumed to invent. Since it refers above all to his Word and to the Body of his Son, this "today" is not only that of our mortal time, but also the "today" of God.

If you receive the bread each day, each day is today for you. If Christ is yours today, he rises for you every day. How can this be? "You are my Son, today I have begotten you." Therefore, "today" is when Christ rises.127

2837 "Daily" (epiousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Taken in a temporal sense, this word is a pedagogical repetition of "this day,"128 to confirm us in trust "without reservation." Taken in the qualitative sense, it signifies what is necessary for life, and more broadly every good thing sufficient for subsistence.129 Taken literally (epi-ousios: "super-essential"), it refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the "medicine of immortality," without which we have no life within us.130 Finally in this connection, its heavenly meaning is evident: "this day" is the Day of the Lord, the day of the feast of the kingdom, anticipated in the Eucharist that is already the foretaste of the kingdom to come. For this reason it is fitting for the Eucharistic liturgy to be celebrated each day.

The Eucharist is our daily bread. The power belonging to this divine food makes it a bond of union. Its effect is then understood as unity, so that, gathered into his Body and made members of him, we may become what we receive.... This also is our daily bread: the readings you hear each day in church and the hymns you hear and sing. All these are necessities for our pilgrimage.131

The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who, sown in the Virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the Passion, baked in the oven of the tomb, reserved in churches, brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food from heaven.132

IN BRIEF

2861 In the fourth petition, by saying "give us," we express in communion with our brethren our filial trust in our heavenly Father. "Our daily bread" refers to the earthly nourishment necessary to everyone for subsistence, and also to the Bread of Life: the Word of God and the Body of Christ. It is received in God's "today," as the indispensable, (super - ) essential nourishment of the feast of the coming Kingdom anticipated in the Eucharist.

In his “Sermons on the New Testament” (8, 5), St. Augustine discusses the petition, “Give us this day our Daily Bread”.

5. There follows next, Give us this day our daily bread. It may be understood simply that we pour forth this prayer for daily sustenance, that we may have abundance: or if not that, that we may have no want. Now he said daily, for as long as it is called today. Daily we live, and daily rise, and are daily fed, and daily hunger. May He then give us daily bread. Why did He not say covering too, for the support of our life is in meat and drink, our covering in raiment and lodging. Man should desire nothing more than these. Forasmuch as the Apostle says, We brought nothing into this world, neither can we carry anything out: having food and covering, let us be therewith content. Perish covetousness, and nature is rich. Therefore if this prayer have reference to our daily sustenance, since this is a good understanding of the words, Give us this day our daily bread; let us not marvel, if under the name of bread other necessary things are also understood. As when Joseph invited his brethren, These men, says he, will eat bread with me today. Why, were they to eat bread only? No, but in the mention of bread only, all the rest was understood. So when we pray for daily bread, we ask for whatever is necessary for us in earth for our bodies' sake. But what says the Lord Jesus? Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Again, this is a very good sense of, Give us this day our daily bread, your Eucharist, our daily food. For the faithful know what they receive, and good for them it is to receive that daily bread which is necessary for this time present. They pray then for themselves, that they may become good, that they may persevere in goodness, and faith, and a holy life. This do they wish, this they pray for; for if they persevere not in this good life, they will be separated from that Bread. Therefore, Give us this day our daily bread. What is this? Let us live so,that we be not separated from Your altar. Again, the Word of God which is laid open to us, and in a manner broken day by day, is daily bread. And as our bodies hunger after that other, so do our souls after this bread. And so we both ask for this bread simply, and whatsoever is in this life needful both for our souls and bodies, is included in daily bread.

Footnotes

113 ⇒ Mt 5:45.
114 ⇒ PS 104:27.
115 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:25-34.
116 Cf. ⇒ 2 Thess 3:6-13.
117 St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 21 PL 4, 534A.
118 Cf. ⇒ Lk 16:19-31; ⇒ Mt 25:31-46.
119 Cf. AA 5.
120 Cf. ⇒ 2 Cor 8:1-15.
121 Cf. St. Benedict Regula, 20, 48.
122 Attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola, cf. Joseph de Guibert, SJ, The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice, (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1964), 148, n. 55.
123 ⇒ Deut 8:3; ⇒ Mt 4:4[ETML:C/].
124 ⇒ Am 8:11.
125 Cf. ⇒ Jn 6:26-58.
126 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:34; ⇒ Ex 16:19.
127 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 5, 4, 26: PL 16, 453A; cf. ⇒ Ps 2:7[ETML:C/].
128 Cf. ⇒ Ex 16:19-21.
129 Cf. ⇒ 1 Tim 6:8.
130 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20, 2 PG 5, 661; ⇒ Jn 6:53-56.
131 St. Augustine, Sermo 57, 7: PL 38, 389.
132 St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 67 PL 52, 392; Cf. ⇒ Jn 6:51.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2822-2827, 2860 – Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven

clock September 20, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven”.

III. "Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven"

2822 Our Father "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."95 He "is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish."96 His commandment is "that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."97 This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.

2823 "He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ . . . to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will."98 We ask insistently for this loving plan to be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven.

2824 In Christ, and through his human will, the will of the Father has been perfectly fulfilled once for all. Jesus said on entering into this world: "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God."99 Only Jesus can say: "I always do what is pleasing to him."100 In the prayer of his agony, he consents totally to this will: "not my will, but yours be done."101 For this reason Jesus "gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father."102 "and by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."103

2825 "Although he was a Son, [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered."104 How much more reason have we sinful creatures to learn obedience - we who in him have become children of adoption. We ask our Father to unite our will to his Son's, in order to fulfill his will, his plan of salvation for the life of the world. We are radically incapable of this, but united with Jesus and with the power of his Holy Spirit, we can surrender our will to him and decide to choose what his Son has always chosen: to do what is pleasing to the Father.105

In committing ourselves to [Christ], we can become one spirit with him, and thereby accomplish his will, in such wise that it will be perfect on earth as it is in heaven.106

Consider how Jesus Christ] teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say "thy will be done in me or in us," but "on earth," the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.107

2826 By prayer we can discern "what is the will of God" and obtain the endurance to do it.108 Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing "the will of my Father in heaven."109

2827 "If any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him."110 Such is the power of the Church's prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God111 and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:

It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," to mean: "in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself"; or "in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father."112

IN BRIEF

2860 In the third petition, we ask our Father to unite our will to that of his Son, so as to fulfill his plan of salvation in the life of the world.

In “On the Sermon on the Mount” (2, 6, 21), St. Augustine discusses the petition, “Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”.

21. And therefore, after that petition where we say, Your kingdom come, there follows, Your will be done, as in heaven so in earth: i.e., just as Your will is in the angels who are in heaven, so that they wholly cleave to You, and thoroughly enjoy You, no error beclouding their wisdom, no misery hindering their blessedness; so let it be done in Your saints who are on earth, and made from the earth, so far as the body is concerned, and who, although it is into a heavenly habitation and exchange, are yet to be taken from the earth. To this there is a reference also in that doxology of the angels, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill: so that when our goodwill has gone before, which follows Him that calls, the will of God is perfected in us, as it is in the heavenly angels; so that no antagonism stands in the way of our blessedness: and this is peace. Your will be done is also rightly understood in the sense of, Let obedience be rendered to Your precepts: as in heaven so on earth, i.e. as by the angels so by men. For, that the will of God is done when His precepts are obeyed, the Lord Himself says, when He affirms, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me; and often, I came, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me; and when He says, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. And therefore, in those at least who do the will of God, the will of God is accomplished; not because they cause God to will, but because they do what He wills, i.e. they do according to His will.

Footnotes

95 ⇒ 1 Tim 2:3-4.
96 ⇒ 2 Pet 3:9; cf. ⇒ Mt 18:14.
97 ⇒ Jn 13:34; cf. ⇒ 1 Jn 3; 4; ⇒ Lk 10:25-37.
98 ⇒ Eph 1:9-11.
99 ⇒ Heb 10:7; ⇒ Ps 40:7.
100 ⇒ Jn 8:29.
101 ⇒ Lk 22:42; cf. ⇒ Jn 4:34; ⇒ 5:30; ⇒ 6:38.
102 ⇒ Gal 1:4.
103 ⇒ Heb 10:10.
104 ⇒ Heb 5:8.
105 Cf. ⇒ Jn 8:29.
106 Origen, De orat. 26 PG 11, 501B.
107 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Mt. 19, 5 PG 57, 280.
108 ⇒ Rom 12:2; Cf. ⇒ Eph 5:17; Cf. ⇒ Heb 10:36.
109 ⇒ Mt 7:21.
110 ⇒ Jn 9:31; Cf. ⇒ 1 Jn 5:14.
111 Cf. ⇒ Lk 1:38, ⇒ 49.
112 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. 2, 6, 24: PL 34, 1279.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2816-2821, 2859 – Thy Kingdom Come

clock September 19, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come”. Supporting material comes from the Pastoral Constitution, “Gaudium et Spes”.

II. "Thy Kingdom Come"

2816 In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by "kingship" (abstract noun), "kingdom" (concrete noun) or "reign" (action noun). The Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. It is brought near in the Word incarnate, it is proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel, and it has come in Christ's death and Resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst. The kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to his Father:

It may even be . . . that the Kingdom of God means Christ himself, whom we daily desire to come, and whose coming we wish to be manifested quickly to us. For as he is our resurrection, since in him we rise, so he can also be understood as the Kingdom of God, for in him we shall reign.86

2817 This petition is "Marana tha," the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: "Come, Lord Jesus."

Even if it had not been prescribed to pray for the coming of the kingdom, we would willingly have brought forth this speech, eager to embrace our hope. In indignation the souls of the martyrs under the altar cry out to the Lord: "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?" For their retribution is ordained for the end of the world. Indeed as soon as possible, Lord, may your kingdom come!87

2818 In the Lord's Prayer, "thy kingdom come" refers primarily to the final coming of the reign of God through Christ's return.88 But, far from distracting the Church from her mission in this present world, this desire commits her to it all the more strongly. Since Pentecost, the coming of that Reign is the work of the Spirit of the Lord who "complete(s) his work on earth and brings us the fullness of grace."89

2819 "The kingdom of God (is) righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."90 The end-time in which we live is the age of the outpouring of the Spirit. Ever since Pentecost, a decisive battle has been joined between "the flesh" and the Spirit.91

Only a pure soul can boldly say: "Thy kingdom come." One who has heard Paul say, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies," and has purified himself in action, thought and word will say to God: "Thy kingdom come!"92

2820 By a discernment according to the Spirit, Christians have to distinguish between the growth of the Reign of God and the progress of the culture and society in which they are involved. This distinction is not a separation. Man's vocation to eternal life does not suppress, but actually reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the energies and means received from the Creator to serve justice and peace.93

2821 This petition is taken up and granted in the prayer of Jesus which is present and effective in the Eucharist; it bears its fruit in new life in keeping with the Beatitudes.94

IN BRIEF

2859 By the second petition, the Church looks first to Christ's return and the final coming of the Reign of God. It also prays for the growth of the Kingdom of God in the "today" of our own lives.

The Pastoral Constitution, “Gaudium et Spes” discusses the coming of the Kingdom.

45. While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention: that God's kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass. For every benefit which the People of God during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family stems from the fact that the Church is "the universal sacrament of salvation",(24) simultaneously manifesting and exercising the mystery of God's love.

For God's Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh so that as perfect man He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself. The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings.(25) He it is Whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at His right hand, making Him judge of the living and the dead. Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God's love: "To reestablish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth" (Eph. 11:10).

The Lord Himself speaks: "Behold I come quickly! And my reward is with me, to render to each one according to his works. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Rev. 22:12-13).

Footnotes

86 St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 13 PL 4, 528A.
87 Tertullian, De orat. 5: PL 1,1159A; cf. ⇒ Heb 4:11; ⇒ Rev 6:9; ⇒ 22:20.
88 Cf. ⇒ Titus 2:13.
89 Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 118.
90 ⇒ Rom 14:17.
91 Cf. ⇒ Gal 5:16-25.
92 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5, 13: PG 33, 1120A; cf. ⇒ Rom 6:12.
93 Cf. GS 22; 32; 39; 45; EN 31.
94 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:17-20; ⇒ Mt 5:13-16; ⇒ 6:24; ⇒ 7:12-13.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2807-2815, 2858 – Hallowed be Thy Name

clock September 18, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the second petition in the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be Thy Name”. Supporting material comes from “On Prayer” by Tertullian.

I. "Hallowed be Thy Name"

2807 The term "to hallow" is to be understood here not primarily in its causative sense (only God hallows, makes holy), but above all in an evaluative sense: to recognize as holy, to treat in a holy way. And so, in adoration, this invocation is sometimes understood as praise and thanksgiving.66 But this petition is here taught to us by Jesus as an optative: a petition, a desire, and an expectation in which God and man are involved. Beginning with this first petition to our Father, we are immersed in the innermost mystery of his Godhead and the drama of the salvation of our humanity. Asking the Father that his name be made holy draws us into his plan of loving kindness for the fullness of time, "according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ," that we might "be holy and blameless before him in love."67

2808 In the decisive moments of his economy God reveals his name, but he does so by accomplishing his work. This work, then, is realized for us and in us only if his name is hallowed by us and in us.

2809 The holiness of God is the inaccessible center of his eternal mystery. What is revealed of it in creation and history, Scripture calls "glory," the radiance of his majesty.68 In making man in his image and likeness, God "crowned him with glory and honor," but by sinning, man fell "short of the glory of God."69 From that time on, God was to manifest his holiness by revealing and giving his name, in order to restore man to the image of his Creator.70

2810 In the promise to Abraham and the oath that accompanied it,71 God commits himself but without disclosing his name. He begins to reveal it to Moses and makes it known clearly before the eyes of the whole people when he saves them from the Egyptians: "he has triumphed gloriously."72 From the covenant of Sinai onwards, this people is "his own" and it is to be a "holy (or "consecrated": the same word is used for both in Hebrew) nation,"73 because the name of God dwells in it.

2811 In spite of the holy Law that again and again their Holy God gives them - "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy" - and although the Lord shows patience for the sake of his name, the people turn away from the Holy One of Israel and profane his name among the nations.74 For this reason the just ones of the old covenant, the poor survivors returned from exile, and the prophets burned with passion for the name.

2812 Finally, in Jesus the name of the Holy God is revealed and given to us, in the flesh, as Savior, revealed by what he is, by his word, and by his sacrifice.75 This is the heart of his priestly prayer: "Holy Father . . . for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."76 Because he "sanctifies" his own name, Jesus reveals to us the name of the Father.77 At the end of Christ's Passover, the Father gives him the name that is above all names: "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."78

2813 In the waters of Baptism, we have been "washed . . . sanctified . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."79 Our Father calls us to holiness in the whole of our life, and since "he is the source of (our) life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and… sanctification,"80 both his glory and our life depend on the hallowing of his name in us and by us. Such is the urgency of our first petition.

By whom is God hallowed, since he is the one who hallows? But since he said, "You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy," we seek and ask that we who were sanctified in Baptism may persevere in what we have begun to be. And we ask this daily, for we need sanctification daily, so that we who fail daily may cleanse away our sins by being sanctified continually.... We pray that this sanctification may remain in us.81

2814 The sanctification of his name among the nations depends inseparably on our life and our prayer:

We ask God to hallow his name, which by its own holiness saves and makes holy all creation .... It is this name that gives salvation to a lost world. But we ask that this name of God should be hallowed in us through our actions. For God's name is blessed when we live well, but is blasphemed when we live wickedly. As the Apostle says: "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." We ask then that, just as the name of God is holy, so we may obtain his holiness in our souls.82
When we say "hallowed be thy name," we ask that it should be hallowed in us, who are in him; but also in others whom God's grace still awaits, that we may obey the precept that obliges us to pray for everyone, even our enemies. That is why we do not say expressly "hallowed be thy name 'in us,"' for we ask that it be so in all men.83

2815 This petition embodies all the others. Like the six petitions that follow, it is fulfilled by the prayer of Christ. Prayer to our Father is our prayer, if it is prayed in the name of Jesus.84 In his priestly prayer, Jesus asks: "Holy Father, protect in your name those whom you have given me."85

IN BRIEF

2858 By asking "hallowed be thy name" we enter into God's plan, the sanctification of his name - revealed first to Moses and then in Jesus - by us and in us, in every nation and in each man.

Tertullian discusses the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer in “On Prayer”.

Chapter 3. The Second Clause

The name of God the Father had been published to none. Even Moses, who had interrogated Him on that very point, had heard a different name. Exodus 3:13-16 To us it has been revealed in the Son, for the Son is now the Father's new name. I have come, says He, in the Father's name; John 5:43 and again, Father, glorify Your name; John 12:28 and more openly, I have manifested Your name to men. John 17:6 That name, therefore, we pray may be hallowed. Not that it is becoming for men to wish God well, as if there were any other by whom He may be wished well, or as if He would suffer unless we do so wish. Plainly, it is universally becoming for God to be blessed in every place and time, on account of the memory of His benefits ever due from every man. But this petition also serves the turn of a blessing. Otherwise, when is the name of God not holy, and hallowed through Himself, seeing that of Himself He sanctifies all others— He to whom that surrounding circle of angels cease not to say, Holy, holy, holy? In like wise, therefore, we too, candidates for angelhood, if we succeed in deserving it, begin even here on earth to learn by heart that strain hereafter to be raised unto God, and the function of future glory. So far, for the glory of God. On the other hand, for our own petition, when we say, Hallowed be Your name, we pray this; that it may be hallowed in us who are in Him, as well in all others for whom the grace of God is still waiting; Isaiah 30:18 that we may obey this precept, too, in praying for all, 1 Timothy 2:1 even for our personal enemies. Matthew 5:44 And therefore with suspended utterance, not saying, Hallowed be it in us, we say— in all.

Footnotes

66 Cf. ⇒ Ps 111:9; ⇒ Lk 1:49.
67 ⇒ Eph 1:9, 4.
68 Cf. ⇒ Ps 8; ⇒ Isa 6:3.
69 ⇒ Ps 8:5; ⇒ Rom 3:23; cf. ⇒ Gen 1:26.
70 ⇒ Col 3:10.
71 Cf. ⇒ Heb 6:13.
72 ⇒ Ex 15:1 cf. ⇒ 3:14.
73 Cf. ⇒ Ex 19:5-6.
74 ⇒ Ezek 20:9, ⇒ 14, ⇒ 22, ⇒ 39; cf. ⇒ Lev 19:2.
75 Cf. ⇒ Mt 1:21; ⇒ Lk 1:31, ⇒ Jn 8:28; ⇒ 17:8; ⇒ 17:17-19.
76 ⇒ Jn 17:11, ⇒ 19.
77 Cf. ⇒ Ezek 20:39; ⇒ 36:20-21; ⇒ Jn 17:6.
78 ⇒ Phil 2:9-11.
79 ⇒ 2 Cor 6:11.
80 ⇒ 1 Cor 1:30; cf. ⇒ 1 Thess 4:7.
81 St. Cyprian De Dom. orat. 12: PL 4, 527A; ⇒ Lev 20:26.
82 St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 71, 4: PL 52:402A; cf. ⇒ Rom 2:24; ⇒ Ezek 36:20-22.
83 Tertullian, De orat. 3: PL 1:1157A.
84 Cf. ⇒ Jn 14:13; ⇒ 15:16; ⇒ 16:24, ⇒ 26.
85 ⇒ Jn 17:11.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2803-2806, 2857 – The Seven Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer

clock September 17, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Supporting material comes from the “Summa Theologica”.

Article 3

THE SEVEN PETITIONS

2803 After we have placed ourselves in the presence of God our Father to adore and to love and to bless him, the Spirit of adoption stirs up in our hearts seven petitions, seven blessings. The first three, more theological, draw us toward the glory of the Father; the last four, as ways toward him, commend our wretchedness to his grace. "Deep calls to deep."63

2804 The first series of petitions carries us toward him, for his own sake: thy name, thy kingdom, thy will! It is characteristic of love to think first of the one whom we love. In none of the three petitions do we mention ourselves; the burning desire, even anguish, of the beloved Son for his Father's glory seizes us:64 "hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done...." These three supplications were already answered in the saving sacrifice of Christ, but they are henceforth directed in hope toward their final fulfillment, for God is not yet all in all.65

2805 The second series of petitions unfolds with the same movement as certain Eucharistic epicleses: as an offering up of our expectations, that draws down upon itself the eyes of the Father of mercies. They go up from us and concern us from this very moment, in our present world: "give us . . . forgive us . . . lead us not ... deliver us...." the fourth and fifth petitions concern our life as such - to be fed and to be healed of sin; the last two concern our battle for the victory of life - that battle of prayer.

2806 By the three first petitions, we are strengthened in faith, filled with hope, and set aflame by charity. Being creatures and still sinners, we have to petition for us, for that "us" bound by the world and history, which we offer to the boundless love of God. For through the name of his Christ and the reign of his Holy Spirit, our Father accomplishes his plan of salvation, for us and for the whole world.

IN BRIEF

2857 In the Our Father, the object of the first three petitions is the glory of the Father: the sanctification of his name, the coming of the kingdom, and the fulfillment of his will. The four others present our wants to him: they ask that our lives be nourished, healed of sin, and made victorious in the struggle of good over evil.

In the “Summa Theologica” (), St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

Article 9. Whether the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer are fittingly assigned?

Objection 1. It would seem that the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer are not fittingly assigned. It is useless to ask for that to be hallowed which is always holy. But the name of God is always holy, according to Luke 1:49, "Holy is His name." Again, His kingdom is everlasting, according to Psalm 144:13, "Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all ages." Again, God's will is always fulfilled, according to Isaiah 46:10, "All My will shall be done." Therefore it is useless to ask for "the name of God to be hallowed," for "His kingdom to come," and for "His will to be done."

Objection 2. Further, one must withdraw from evil before attaining good. Therefore it seems unfitting for the petitions relating to the attainment of good to be set forth before those relating to the removal of evil.

Objection 3. Further, one asks for a thing that it may be given to one. Now the chief gift of God is the Holy Ghost, and those gifts that we receive through Him. Therefore the petitions seem to be unfittingly assigned, since they do not correspond to the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Objection 4. Further, according to Luke, only five petitions are mentioned in the Lord's Prayer, as appears from the eleventh chapter. Therefore it was superfluous for Matthew to mention seven.

Objection 5. Further, it seems useless to seek to win the benevolence of one who forestalls us by his benevolence. Now God forestalls us by His benevolence, since "He first hath loved us" (1 John 4:19). Therefore it is useless to preface the petitions with the words our "Father Who art in heaven," which seem to indicate a desire to win God's benevolence.

On the contrary, The authority of Christ, who composed this prayer, suffices.

I answer that, The Lord's Prayer is most perfect, because, as Augustine says (ad Probam Ep. cxxx, 12), "if we pray rightly and fittingly, we can say nothing else but what is contained in this prayer of our Lord." For since prayer interprets our desires, as it were, before God, then alone is it right to ask for something in our prayers when it is right that we should desire it. Now in the Lord's Prayer not only do we ask for all that we may rightly desire, but also in the order wherein we ought to desire them, so that this prayer not only teaches us to ask, but also directs all our affections. Thus it is evident that the first thing to be the object of our desire is the end, and afterwards whatever is directed to the end. Now our end is God towards Whom our affections tend in two ways: first, by our willing the glory of God, secondly, by willing to enjoy His glory. The first belongs to the love whereby we love God in Himself, while the second belongs to the love whereby we love ourselves in God. Wherefore the first petition is expressed thus: "Hallowed be Thy name," and the second thus: "Thy kingdom come," by which we ask to come to the glory of His kingdom.

To this same end a thing directs us in two ways: in one way, by its very nature, in another way, accidentally. Of its very nature the good which is useful for an end directs us to that end. Now a thing is useful in two ways to that end which is beatitude: in one way, directly and principally, according to the merit whereby we merit beatitude by obeying God, and in this respect we ask: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"; in another way instrumentally, and as it were helping us to merit, and in this respect we say: "Give us this day our daily bread," whether we understand this of the sacramental Bread, the daily use of which is profitable to man, and in which all the other sacraments are contained, or of the bread of the body, so that it denotes all sufficiency of food, as Augustine says (ad Probam, Ep. cxxx, 11), since the Eucharist is the chief sacrament, and bread is the chief food: thus in the Gospel of Matthew we read, "supersubstantial," i.e. "principal," as Jerome expounds it.

We are directed to beatitude accidentally by the removal of obstacles. Now there are three obstacles to our attainment of beatitude. First, there is sin, which directly excludes a man from the kingdom, according to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, etc., shall possess the kingdom of God"; and to this refer the words, "Forgive us our trespasses." Secondly, there is temptation which hinders us from keeping God's will, and to this we refer when we say: "And lead us not into temptation," whereby we do not ask not to be tempted, but not to be conquered by temptation, which is to be led into temptation. Thirdly, there is the present penal state which is a kind of obstacle to a sufficiency of life, and to this we refer in the words, "Deliver us from evil."

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 5), when we say, "Hallowed be Thy name, we do not mean that God's name is not holy, but we ask that men may treat it as a holy thing," and this pertains to the diffusion of God's glory among men. When we say, "Thy kingdom come, we do not imply that God is not reigning now," but "we excite in ourselves the desire for that kingdom, that it may come to us, and that we may reign therein," as Augustine says (ad Probam, Ep. cxxx, 11). The words, "Thy will be done rightly signify, 'May Thy commandments be obeyed' on earth as in heaven, i.e. by men as well as by angels" (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 6). Hence these three petitions will be perfectly fulfilled in the life to come; while the other four, according to Augustine (Enchiridion cxv), belong to the needs of the present life.

Reply to Objection 2. Since prayer is the interpreter of desire, the order of the petitions corresponds with the order, not of execution, but of desire or intention, where the end precedes the things that are directed to the end, and attainment of good precedes removal of evil.

Reply to Objection 3. Augustine (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 11) adapts the seven petitions to the gifts and beatitudes. He says: "If it is fear God whereby blessed are the poor in spirit, let us ask that God's name be hallowed among men with a chaste fear. If it is piety whereby blessed are the meek, let us ask that His kingdom may come, so that we become meek and no longer resist Him. If it is knowledge whereby blessed are they that mourn, let us pray that His will be done, for thus we shall mourn no more. If it is fortitude whereby blessed ere they that hunger, let us pray that our daily bread be given to us. If it is counsel whereby blessed are the merciful, let us forgive the trespasses of others that our own may be forgiven. If it is understanding whereby blessed are the pure in heart, let us pray lest we have a double heart by seeking after worldly things which ere the occasion of our temptations. If it is wisdom whereby blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God, let us pray to be delivered from evil: for if we be delivered we shall by that very fact become the free children of God."

Reply to Objection 4. According to Augustine (Enchiridion cxvi), "Luke included not seven but five petitions in the Lord's Prayer, for by omitting it, he shows that the third petition is a kind of repetition of the two that precede, and thus helps us to understand it"; because, to wit, the will of God tends chiefly to this--that we come to the knowledge of His holiness and to reign together with Him. Again the last petition mentioned by Matthew, "Deliver us from evil," is omitted by Luke, so that each one may know himself to be delivered from evil if he be not led into temptation.

Reply to Objection 5. Prayer is offered up to God, not that we may bend Him, but that we may excite in ourselves the confidence to ask: which confidence is excited in us chiefly by the consideration of His charity in our regard, whereby he wills our good--wherefore we say: "Our Father"; and of His excellence, whereby He is able to fulfil it--wherefore we say: "Who art in heaven."

Footnotes

63 ⇒ Ps 42:7.
64 Cf. ⇒ Lk 22:14; ⇒ 12:50.
65 Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 15:28.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2794-2796, 2802 – Who Art in Heaven

clock September 16, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the concept of God “in Heaven”. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s homily “On the Sermon on the Mount”.

IV. "Who Art in Heaven"

2794 This biblical expression does not mean a place (“space"), but a way of being; it does not mean that God is distant, but majestic. Our Father is not "elsewhere": he transcends everything we can conceive of his holiness. It is precisely because he is thrice holy that he is so close to the humble and contrite heart.

"Our Father who art in heaven" is rightly understood to mean that God is in the hearts of the just, as in his holy temple. At the same time, it means that those who pray should desire the one they invoke to dwell in them.54
"Heaven" could also be those who bear the image of the heavenly world, and in whom God dwells and tarries.55

2795 The symbol of the heavens refers us back to the mystery of the covenant we are living when we pray to our Father. He is in heaven, his dwelling place; the Father's house is our homeland. Sin has exiled us from the land of the covenant,56 but conversion of heart enables us to return to the Father, to heaven.57 Jn Christ, then, heaven and earth are reconciled,58 for the Son alone "descended from heaven" and causes us to ascend there with him, by his Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension.59

2796 When the Church prays "our Father who art in heaven," she is professing that we are the People of God, already seated "with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" and "hidden with Christ in God;"60 yet at the same time, "here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling."61

[Christians] are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They spend their lives on earth, but are citizens of heaven.62

IN BRIEF

2802 "Who art in heaven" does not refer to a place but to God's majesty and his presence in the hearts of the just. Heaven, the Father's house, is the true homeland toward which we are heading and to which, already, we belong.

In his homily “On the Sermon on the Mount” (2, 5, 18), St. Augustine discusses the concept of God in Heaven.

18. And for the purpose of showing this, when we stand at prayer, we turn to the east, whence the heaven rises: not as if God also were dwelling there, in the sense that He who is everywhere present, not as occupying space, but by the power of His majesty, had forsaken the other parts of the world; but in order that the mind may be admonished to turn to a more excellent nature, i.e. to God, when its own body, which is earthly, is turned to a more excellent body, i.e. to a heavenly one. It is also suitable for the different stages of religion, and expedient in the highest degree, that in the minds of all, both small and great, there should be cherished worthy conceptions of God. And therefore, as regards those who as yet are taken up with the beauties that are seen, and cannot think of anything incorporeal, inasmuch as they must necessarily prefer heaven to earth, their opinion is more tolerable, if they believe God, whom as yet they think of after a corporeal fashion, to be in heaven rather than upon earth: so that when at any future time they have learned that the dignity of the soul exceeds even a celestial body, they may seek Him in the soul rather than in a celestial body even; and when they have learned how great a distance there is between the souls of sinners and of the righteous, just as they did not venture, when as yet they were wise only after a carnal fashion, to place Him on earth, but in heaven, so afterwards with better faith or intelligence they may seek Him again in the souls of the righteous rather than in those of sinners. Hence, when it is said, Our Father which art in heaven, it is rightly understood to mean in the hearts of the righteous, as it were in His holy temple. And at the same time, in such a way that he who prays wishes Him whom he invokes to dwell in himself also; and when he strives after this, practises righteousness—a kind of service by which God is attracted to dwell in the soul.

Footnotes

54 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 2, 5, 18: PL 34, 1277.
55 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5:11: PG 33, 1117.
56 Cf. ⇒ Gen 3.
57 ⇒ Jer 3:19- ⇒ 4:1a; ⇒ Lk 15:18, ⇒ 21.
58 Cf. ⇒ Isa 45:8; ⇒ Ps 85:12.
59 ⇒ Jn 3:13; ⇒ 12:32; ⇒ 14 2-3; ⇒ 16:28; ⇒ 20:17; ⇒ Eph 4:9-10; ⇒ Heb 1:3; ⇒ 2:13.
60 ⇒ Eph 2:6; ⇒ Col 3:3.
61 ⇒ 2 Cor 5:2; cf. ⇒ Phil 3:20; ⇒ Heb 13:14.
62 Ad Diognetum 5: PG 2, 1173.