St. Wulfric of Haselbury
Feast of St. Wulfric of Haselbury

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 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.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2746-2751, 2758 – The Prayer of the Hour of Jesus

clock September 11, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the prayer of Jesus in John 17. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s Tractates on the Gospel of John.

Article 3

THE PRAYER OF THE HOUR OF JESUS

2746 When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father.43 His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church.

2747 Christian Tradition rightly calls this prayer the "priestly" prayer of Jesus. It is the prayer of our high priest, inseparable from his sacrifice, from his passing over (Passover) to the Father to whom he is wholly "consecrated."44

2748 In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ:45 God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity.

2749 Jesus fulfilled the work of the Father completely; his prayer, like his sacrifice, extends until the end of time. The prayer of this hour fills the end-times and carries them toward their consummation. Jesus, the Son to whom the Father has given all things, has given himself wholly back to the Father, yet expresses himself with a sovereign freedom46 by virtue of the power the Father has given him over all flesh. The Son, who made himself Servant, is Lord, the Pantocrator. Our high priest who prays for us is also the one who prays in us and the God who hears our prayer.

2750 By entering into the holy name of the Lord Jesus we can accept, from within, the prayer he teaches us: "Our Father!" His priestly prayer fulfills, from within, the great petitions of the Lord's Prayer: concern for the Father's name;47 passionate zeal for his kingdom (Glory);48 The accomplishment of the will of the Father, of his plan of salvation;49 and deliverance from evil.50

2751 Finally, in this prayer Jesus reveals and gives to us the "knowledge," inseparably one, of the Father and of the Son,51 which is the very mystery of the life of prayer.

IN BRIEF

2758 The prayer of the hour of Jesus, rightly called the "priestly prayer" (cf ⇒ Jn 17), sums up the whole economy of creation and salvation. It fulfills the great petitions of the Our Father.

St. Augustine discusses the prayer of Jesus in John 17 in his “Tractate 104 on the Gospel of John”.

2. When, therefore, He had told them on what account He had spoken all things, namely, that in Him they might have peace while having distress in the world, and had exhorted them to be of good cheer, because He had overcome the world; having thus finished His discourse to them, He then directed His words to the Father, and began to pray. For so the evangelist proceeds to say: These things spoke Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son. The Lord, the Only-begotten and coeternal with the Father, could in the form of a servant and out of the form of a servant, if such were needful, pray in silence; but in this other way He wished to show Himself as one who prayed to the Father, that He might remember that He was still our Teacher. Accordingly, the prayer which He offered for us, He made also known to us; seeing that it is not only the delivering of discourses to them by so great a Master, but also the praying for them to the Father, that is a means of edification to disciples. And if so to those who were present to hear what was said, it is certainly so also to us who were to have the reading of it when written. Wherefore in saying this, Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, He showed that all time, and every occasion when He did anything or suffered anything to be done, were arranged by Him who was subject to no time: since those things, which were individually future in point of time, have their efficient causes in the wisdom of God, wherein there are no distinctions of time. Let it not, then, be supposed that this hour came through any urgency of fate, but rather by the divine appointment. It was no necessary law of the heavenly bodies that tied to its time the passion of Christ; for we may well shrink from the thought that the stars should compel their own Maker to die. It was not the time, therefore, that drove Christ to His death, but Christ who selected the time to die: who also fixed the time, when He was born of the Virgin, with the Father, of whom He was born independently of time. And in accordance with this true and salutary doctrine, the Apostle Paul also says, But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son; Galatians 4:4 and God declares by the prophet, In an acceptable time have I heard You, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; Isaiah 49:8 and yet again the apostle, Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 He then may say, Father, the hour has come, who has arranged every hour with the Father: saying, as it were, Father, the hour, which we fixed together for the sake of men and of my glorification among them, has come, glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.

Footnotes

43 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17.
44 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:11, ⇒ 13, ⇒ 19.
45 Cf. ⇒ Eph 1:10.
46 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:11, ⇒ 13, ⇒ 19, ⇒ 24.
47 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:6, ⇒ 11, ⇒ 12, ⇒ 26.
48 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:1, 5, ⇒ 10, ⇒ 22, ⇒ 23-26.
49 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:2, 4, 6, 9, ⇒ 11, ⇒ 12, ⇒ 24.
50 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:15.
51 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:3, ⇒ 6-10, ⇒ 25.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2629-2633, 2646 – Prayer of Petition

clock August 27, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss prayer of petition. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s “Exposition on Psalm 62”.

II. Prayer of Petition

2629 The vocabulary of supplication in the New Testament is rich in shades of meaning: ask, beseech, plead, invoke, entreat, cry out, even "struggle in prayer."102 Its most usual form, because the most spontaneous, is petition: by prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him.

2630 The New Testament contains scarcely any prayers of lamentation, so frequent in the Old Testament. In the risen Christ the Church's petition is buoyed by hope, even if we still wait in a state of expectation and must be converted anew every day. Christian petition, what St. Paul calls {"groaning," arises from another depth, that of creation "in labor pains" and that of ourselves "as we wait for the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved."103 In the end, however, "with sighs too deep for words" the Holy Spirit "helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words."104

2631 The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"105 It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that "we receive from him whatever we ask."106 Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer.

2632 Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ.107 There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community.108 It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer.109 By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom.

2633 When we share in God's saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition. Christ, who assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by what we ask the Father in his name.110 It is with this confidence that St. James and St. Paul exhort us to pray at all times.111

IN BRIEF

2646 Forgiveness, the quest for the Kingdom, and every true need are objects of the prayer of petition.

St. Augustine discusses the prayer of repentance in his “Exposition on Psalm 62”.

15. That thirst of the Church, would fain drink up that man also whom you see. At the same time also, in order that you may know how many in the mixed multitude of Christians with their mouth do bless, and in their heart curse, this man having been a Christian and a believer returns as a penitent, and being terrified by the power of the Lord, turns him to the mercy of the Lord. For having been led astray by the enemy when he was a believer, long time he has been an astrologer, led astray, leading astray, deceived, deceiving, he has allured, has beguiled, many lies he has spoken against God, That has given to men power of doing that which is good, and of not doing that which is evil. He used to say, that one's own will did not adultery, but Venus; one's own will did not manslaying, but Mars; and God did not what is just, but Jupiter; and many other blasphemous things, and not light ones. From how many Christians do ye think he has pocketed money? How many from him have bought a lie, to whom we used to say, Sons of men, how long are you dull of heart, wherefore love ye vanity, and seek a lie? Now, as of him must be believed, he has shuddered at his lie, and being the allurer of many men, he has perceived at length that by the devil he has himself been allured, and he turns to God a penitent. We think, brethren, that because of great fear of heart it has come to pass. For what must we say? If out of a heathen an astrologer were converted, great indeed would be the joy: but nevertheless it might appear, that, if he had been converted, he was desiring the clerical office in the Church. A penitent he is, he seeks not anything save mercy alone. He must be recommended therefore both to your eyes and hearts. Him whom you see in hearts love ye, with eyes guard ye. See ye him, mark ye him, and wherever he shall have gone his way, to the rest of the brethren that now are not here, point him out: and such diligence is mercy; lest that leader astray drag back his heart and take it by storm. Guard ye him, let there not escape you his conversation, his way: in order that by your testimony it may be proved to us that truly to the Lord he has been turned. For report will not be silent about his life, when to you he is thus presented both to be seen and to be pitied. You know in the Acts of the Apostles how it is written, that many lost men, that is, men of such arts, and followers of naughty doctrines, brought unto the Apostles all their books; and there were burned so many volumes, that it was the writer's task to make a valuation of them, and write down the sum of the price. Acts 19:19 This truly was for the glory of God, in order that even such lost men might not be despaired of by Him that knew how to seek that which had been lost. Therefore this man had been lost, is now sought, found, Luke 15:32 led hither, he brings with him books to be burned, by which he had been to be burned, so that when these have been thrown into the fire, he may himself pass over into a place of refreshment. Know ye that he, brethren, once knocked at the Church door before Easter: for before Easter he began to ask of the Church Christ's medicine. But because the art wherein he had been practised is of such sort as that it was suspected of lying and deceit, he was put off that he might not tempt; at length however he was admitted, that he might not more dangerously be tempted. Pray for him through Christ. Straightway today's prayer pour out for him to the Lord our God. For we know and are sure, that your prayer effaces all his impieties. The Lord be with you.

Footnotes

101 Cf. St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 62,16: PL 36, 757-758.
102 Cf. ⇒ Rom 15:30; ⇒ Col 4:12.
103 ⇒ Rom 8:22-24.
104 ⇒ Rom 8:26.
105 ⇒ Lk 18:13.
106 ⇒ 1 Jn 3:22; cf. ⇒ 1:7- ⇒ 2:2.
107 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:10, ⇒ 33; ⇒ Lk 11:2, ⇒ 13.
108 Cf. ⇒ Acts 6:6; ⇒ 13:3.
109 Cf. ⇒ Rom 10:1; ⇒ Eph 1:16-23; Phil 1911; ⇒ Col 1:3-6; ⇒ 4:3-4, ⇒ 12.
110 Cf. ⇒ Jn 14:13.
111 Cf. ⇒ Jas 1:5-8; ⇒ Eph 5:20; ⇒ Phil 4:6-7; ⇒ Col 3:16-17;  ⇒ 1 Thess 5:17-18.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2558-2565 – Prayer in the Christian Life

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

Today’s Catechism sections begin the 4th part of the Catechism, which is devoted to prayer. Supporting material comes from the Sermons of St. Augustine.

PART FOUR:

CHRISTIAN PRAYER

SECTION ONE

PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

2558 "Great is the mystery of the faith!"

The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles' Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three).

This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer.

WHAT IS PRAYER?

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy.1

Prayer as God's gift

2559 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."2
But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart?3
He who humbles himself will be exalted;4 humility is the foundation of prayer,
Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought,"5 are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer.
"Man is a beggar before God."6

2560 "If you knew the gift of God!"7
The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being.
It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God's desire for us.
Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.8

2561 "You would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."9
Paradoxically our prayer of petition is a response to the plea of the living God:
"They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water!"10
Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of the only Son of God.11

Prayer as covenant

2562 Where does prayer come from?
Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays.
But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times).
According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays.
If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.

2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw."
The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others;
only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully.
The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives.
It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death.
It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation:
it is the place of covenant.

2564 Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ.
It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.

Prayer as communion

2565 In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit.
The grace of the Kingdom is "the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity . . . with the whole human spirit."12
Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him.
This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ.13
Prayer is Christian insofar as it is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is his Body.
Its dimensions are those of Christ's love.14

St. Augustine discusses prayer in his “Sermon 55 on the New Testament” (6).

6. See other three things: Who is there of you, whom if his son ask a loaf, will he give him a stone? Or who is there of you of whom if his son ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? Or if he ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him! Let us then again consider these three things, if haply there be not here those three, faith, hope, charity; but the greatest of these is charity. Set down then these three things, a loaf, a fish, an egg; the greatest of these is a loaf. Therefore in these three things do we well understand charity by the loaf. On which account He has opposed a stone to a loaf; because hardness is contrary to charity. By a fish we understand faith. A certain holy man has said, and we are glad to say it too; The 'good fish' is a godly faith. It lives amidst the waves, and is not broken or dissolved by the waves. Amidst the temptations and tempests of this world, lives godly faith; the world rages, yet it is uninjured. Observe only that serpent is contrary to faith. For My faith is she betrothed to whom it is said in the Song of Songs, Come from Lebanon, My spouse, coming and passing over to Me from the beginning of faith. Therefore betrothed too, because faith is the beginning of betrothal. For something is promised by the bridegroom, and by this plighted faith is he held bound. Now to the fish the Lord opposed the serpent, to faith the devil. Wherefore to this betrothed one does the Apostle say, I have betrothed you to One Husband, to present you a chaste virgin to Christ. And, I fear lest as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds also should be corrupted from the purity which is in Christ; that is, which is in the faith of Christ. For he says, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. Therefore let not the devil corrupt our faith, let him not devour the fish.

Footnotes

1 St. Therese of Lisieux, Manuscrits autobiographiques, C 25r.
2 St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 3, 24: PG 94,1089C.
3 ⇒ Ps 130:1.
4 Cf. ⇒ Lk 18:9-14.
5 ⇒ Rom 8:26.
6 St. Augustine, Sermo 56, 6, 9: PL 38, 381.
7 ⇒ Jn 4:10.
8 Cf. St. Augustine De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus 64, 4: PL 40, 56.
9 ⇒ Jn 4:10.
10 ⇒ Jer 2:13.
11 Cf. ⇒ Jn 7:37-39; ⇒ 19:28; ⇒ Isa 12:3; ⇒ 51:1; ⇒ Zech 12:10; ⇒ 13:1.
12 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio, 16, 9: PG 35, 945.
13 Cf. ⇒ Rom 6:5.
14 Cf. ⇒ Eph 3:18-21.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2548-2550, 2557 – The Vision of God

clock August 17, 2013 01:01 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the desire to see God. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s “City of God”.

IV. "I Want to See God"

2548 Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to the goods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God. "The promise [of seeing God] surpasses all beatitude.... In Scripture, to see is to possess.... Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive."343

2549 It remains for the holy people to struggle, with grace from on high, to obtain the good things God promises. In order to possess and contemplate God, Christ's faithful mortify their cravings and, with the grace of God, prevail over the seductions of pleasure and power.

2550 On this way of perfection, the Spirit and the Bride call whoever hears them344 to perfect communion with God:

There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted. There true peace will reign, where no one will experience opposition either from self or others. God himself will be virtue's reward; he gives virtue and has promised to give himself as the best and greatest reward that could exist.... "I shall be their God and they will be my people...." This is also the meaning of the Apostle's words: "So that God may be all in all." God himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness. This gift, this state, this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all.345

IN BRIEF

2557 "I want to see God" expresses the true desire of man. Thirst for God is quenched by the water of eternal life (cf In 4:14).

St. Augustine discusses the rejoicing in Heaven at the vision of God in his lengthy work, “City of God” (22, 30).

How great shall be that felicity, which shall be tainted with no evil, which shall lack no good, and which shall afford leisure for the praises of God, who shall be all in all! For I know not what other employment there can be where no lassitude shall slacken activity, nor any want stimulate to labor. I am admonished also by the sacred song, in which I read or hear the words, Blessed are they that dwell in Your house, O Lord; they will be still praising You. All the members and organs of the incorruptible body, which now we see to be suited to various necessary uses, shall contribute to the praises of God; for in that life necessity shall have no place, but full, certain, secure, everlasting felicity. For all those parts of the bodily harmony, which are distributed through the whole body, within and without, and of which I have just been saying that they at present elude our observation, shall then be discerned; and, along with the other great and marvellous discoveries which shall then kindle rational minds in praise of the great Artificer, there shall be the enjoyment of a beauty which appeals to the reason. What power of movement such bodies shall possess, I have not the audacity rashly to define, as I have not the ability to conceive. Nevertheless I will say that in any case, both in motion and at rest, they shall be, as in their appearance, seemly; for into that state nothing which is unseemly shall be admitted. One thing is certain, the body shall immediately be wherever the spirit wills, and the spirit shall will nothing which is unbecoming either to the spirit or to the body. True honor shall be there, for it shall be denied to none who is worthy, nor yielded to any unworthy; neither shall any unworthy person so much as sue for it, for none but the worthy shall be there. True peace shall be there, where no one shall suffer opposition either from himself or any other. God Himself, who is the Author of virtue, shall there be its reward; for, as there is nothing greater or better, He has promised Himself. What else was meant by His word through the prophet, I will be your God, and you shall be my people, Leviticus 26:12 than, I shall be their satisfaction, I shall be all that men honorably desire—life, and health, and nourishment, and plenty, and glory, and honor, and peace, and all good things? This, too, is the right interpretation of the saying of the apostle, That God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:28 He shall be the end of our desires who shall be seen without end, loved without cloy, praised without weariness. This outgoing of affection, this employment, shall certainly be, like eternal life itself, common to all.

Footnotes

343 St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus 6: PG 44, 1265A.
344 Cf. ⇒ Rev 22:17.
345 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 22, 30: PL 41, 801-802; cf. ⇒ Lev 26:12; cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 15:28.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2488-2492, 2510-2511 – Respect for the Truth

clock August 10, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss respect for the truth. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s “On Lying”.

IV. Respect for the Truth

2488 The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional. Everyone must conform his life to the Gospel precept of fraternal love. This requires us in concrete situations to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.

2489 Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.282

2490 The secret of the sacrament of reconciliation is sacred, and cannot be violated under any pretext. "The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason."283

2491 Professional secrets - for example, those of political office holders, soldiers, physicians, and lawyers - or confidential information given under the seal of secrecy must be kept, save in exceptional cases where keeping the secret is bound to cause very grave harm to the one who confided it, to the one who received it or to a third party, and where the very grave harm can be avoided only by divulging the truth. Even if not confided under the seal of secrecy, private information prejudicial to another is not to be divulged without a grave and proportionate reason.

2492 Everyone should observe an appropriate reserve concerning persons' private lives. Those in charge of communications should maintain a fair balance between the requirements of the common good and respect for individual rights. Interference by the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes upon their privacy and freedom.

IN BRIEF

2510 The golden rule helps one discern, in concrete situations, whether or not it would be appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it.

2511 "The sacramental seal is inviolable" (⇒ CIC, can. 983 # 1). Professional secrets must be kept. Confidences prejudicial to another are not to be divulged.

In “On Lying”, St. Augustine discusses whether there are circumstance where it is allowable to lie for a good purpose.

5. But whether a lie be at some times useful, is a much greater and more concerning question. Whether, as above, it be a lie, when a person has no will to deceive, or even makes it his business that the person to whom he says a thing shall not be deceived although he did wish the thing itself which he uttered to be false, but this on purpose that he might cause a truth to be believed; whether, again, it be a lie when a person willingly utters even a truth for the purpose of deceiving; this may be doubted. But none doubts that it is a lie when a person willingly utters a falsehood for the purpose of deceiving: wherefore a false utterance put forth with will to deceive is manifestly a lie. But whether this alone be a lie, is another question. Meanwhile, taking this kind of lie, in which all agree, let us inquire, whether it be sometimes useful to utter a falsehood with will to deceive. They who think it is, advance testimonies to their opinion, by alleging the case of Sarah, who, when she had laughed, denied to the Angels that she laughed: of Jacob questioned by his father, and answering that he was the elder son Esau: likewise that of the Egyptian midwives, who to save the Hebrew infants from being slain at their birth, told a lie, and that with God's approbation and reward: and many such like instances they pick out, of lies told by persons whom you would not dare to blame, and so must own that it may sometimes be not only not blameworthy, but even praiseworthy to tell a lie. They add also a case with which to urge not only those who are devoted to the Divine Books, but all men and common sense, saying, Suppose a man should take refuge with you, who by your lie might be saved from death, would you not tell it? If a sick man should ask a question which it is not expedient that he should know, and might be more grievously afflicted even by your returning him no answer, will you venture either to tell the truth to the destruction of the man's life, or rather to hold your peace, than by a virtuous and merciful lie to be serviceable to his weak health? By these and such like arguments they think they most plentifully prove, that if occasion of doing good require, we may sometimes tell a lie.

6. On the other hand, those who say that we must never lie, plead much more strongly, using first the Divine authority, because in the very Decalogue it is written You shall not bear false witness; under which general term it comprises all lying: for whoso utters any thing bears witness to his own mind. But lest any should contend that not every lie is to be called false witness, what will he say to that which is written, The mouth that lies slays the soul: and lest any should suppose that this may be understood with the exception of some liars, let him read in another place, You will destroy all that speak leasing. Whence with His own lips the Lord says, Let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil. Hence the Apostle also in giving precept for the putting off of the old man, under which name all sins are understood, says straightway, Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye truth.

Footnotes

282 Cf. ⇒ Sir 27:16; ⇒ Prov 25:9-10.
283 ⇒ CIC, Can. 983 # 1.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2337-2345, 2392-2395 – The Vocation to Chastity

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

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the vocation to chastity. Supporting material comes from the “Summa Theologica”.

II. The Vocation to Chastity

2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.
The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.

The integrity of the person

2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.124

2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.125 "Man's dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end."126

2340 Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God's commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. "Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into multiplicity."127

2341 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason.

2342 Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life.128 The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.

2343 Chastity has laws of growth which progress through stages marked by imperfection and too often by sin. "Man . . . day by day builds himself up through his many free decisions; and so he knows, loves, and accomplishes moral good by stages of growth."129

2344 Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is "an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society."130 Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life.

2345 Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort.131 The Holy Spirit enables one whom the water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.132

IN BRIEF

2392 "Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being" (FC 11).

2393 By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.

2394 Christ is the model of chastity. Every baptized person is called to lead a chaste life, each according to his particular state of life.

2395 Chastity means the integration of sexuality within the person. It includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery.

In the “Summa Theologica” (Secunda Secundæ Partis, 151, 1), St. Thomas Aquinas discusses the virtue of chastity.

Article 1. Whether chastity is a virtue?

Objection 1. It would seem that chastity is not a virtue. For here we are treating of virtues of the soul. But chastity, seemingly, belongs to the body: for a person is said to be chaste because he behaves in a certain way as regards the use of certain parts of the body. Therefore chastity is not a virtue.

Objection 2. Further, virtue is "a voluntary habit," as stated in Ethic. ii, 6. But chastity, apparently, is not voluntary, since it can be taken away by force from a woman to whom violence is done. Therefore it seems that chastity is not a virtue.

Objection 3. Further, there is no virtue in unbelievers. Yet some unbelievers are chaste. Therefore chastity is not a virtue.

Objection 4. Further, the fruits are distinct from the virtues. But chastity is reckoned among the fruits (Galatians 5:23). Therefore chastity is not a virtue.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Decem Chord. [Serm. ix de Tempore]): "Whereas thou shouldst excel thy wife in virtue, since chastity is a virtue, thou yieldest to the first onslaught of lust, while thou wishest thy wife to be victorious."

I answer that, Chastity takes its name from the fact that reason "chastises" concupiscence, which, like a child, needs curbing, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. iii, 12). Now the essence of human virtue consists in being something moderated by reason, as shown above (I-II, 64, 1). Therefore it is evident that chastity is a virtue.

Reply to Objection 1. Chastity does indeed reside in the soul as its subject, though its matter is in the body. For it belongs to chastity that a man make moderate use of bodily members in accordance with the judgment of his reason and the choice of his will.

Reply to Objection 2. As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 18), "so long as her mind holds to its purpose, whereby she has merited to be holy even in body, not even the violence of another's lust can deprive her body of its holiness, which is safeguarded by her persevering continency." He also says (De Civ. Dei i, 18) that "in the mind there is a virtue which is the companion of fortitude, whereby it is resolved to suffer any evil whatsoever rather than consent to evil."

Reply to Objection 3. As Augustine says (Contra Julian. iv, 3), "it is impossible to have any true virtue unless one be truly just; nor is it possible to be just unless one live by faith." Whence he argues that in unbelievers there is neither true chastity, nor any other virtue, because, to wit, they are not referred to the due end, and as he adds (Contra Julian. iv, 3) "virtues are distinguished from vices not by their functions," i.e. their acts, "but by their ends."

Reply to Objection 4. Chastity is a virtue in so far as it works in accordance with reason, but in so far as it delights in its act, it is reckoned among the fruits.

Footnotes

124 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:37.
125 Cf. ⇒ Sir 1:22.
126 GS 17.
127 St. Augustine, Conf. 10, 29, 40: PL 32, 796.
128 Cf. ⇒ Titus 2:1-6.
129 FC 34.
130 GS 25 # 1.
131 Cf. ⇒ Gal 5:22.
132 Cf. ⇒ 1 Jn 3:3.