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The Essentials of the Catholic Faith. Part Four: Lord, Teach Us To Pray, The Lordís Prayer
TheRealPresence.org ^ | 2002 | Pocket Catholic Catechism

Posted on 11/23/2009 10:13:17 PM PST by Salvation

Part Four:  

Lord, Teach Us To Pray

The Lord’s Prayer


Table of Contents    



The Lord's Prayer - Convent of the Pater Noster By every standard of comparison, the most popular prayer in existence is the Our Father. One sign of its popularity is the number of polyglot collections of the Lord’s Prayer which have been published at various times since the invention of printing. Already in 1787 the Spaniard Hervaz printed the Pater Noster in three hundred and seven dialects and languages, and the practice of multi-lingual editions has been going on ever since.

But the Lord’s Prayer is not only the most popular prayer in existence, it is also the most important. According to St. Augustine, “whatever else we say when we pray, if we pray as we should, we are only saying what is already contained in the Lord’s Prayer” (Letter 121, 12).

The Recitation of the Lord’s Prayer has been woven into the fabric of popular devotion since the days of the catacombs. It forms part of the Divine Office and has been so closely associated with the Sacrifice of the Mass that some have mistakenly thought that without the Pater Noster there would be no valid consecration of the Holy Eucharist.

One more reflection: If the Our Father is so popular and so important, is it also the perfect model of what all our prayers should be? Yes. One Father and Doctor of the church after another – Saints Cyprian and Augustine, Teresa of Avila and Robert Bellarmine – did not hesitate to say that the Lord’s Prayer is the divinely revealed pattern of what all Christian prayers should be.


Brevity and Scope

The brevity of the Our Father is remarkable, because the number of its petitions could hardly be shorter and yet more exalted. The special merit of this brevity is that it can be easily memorized. Since the early days of the Church, those preparing for baptism were expected to recite the Lord’s Prayer by heart.

Moreover, we are thereby reminded that there is no need of much talking when we pray. Why not? Because we are speaking to God who knows what we need before we ask Him. What is nore important is the devotion and fervor of spirit with which we pray.

The masters of the spiritual life found in the Our Father a proof of the wisdom of Christ, who compressed into a few words all the desires and aspirations of the human heart in its intimate communication with God.


Perfection of the Lord’s Prayer

Among the many saintly commentators on the Lord’s Prayer, St. Thomas Aquinas explains why it must be the most perfect prayer that we can say.

The Pater Noster was taught us by Christ Himself. It was also the only prayer He taught us to say. And He gave it to us in answer to the request of His disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

However, what makes it also commendable is that the structure of the Our Father is perfect.

Since prayer is an interpretation of our desires, we should only pray for those things which are proper for us to desire….
Now in the Lord’s Prayer what we are asking for from God is everything that we may lawfully ambition. It is, therefore, not only a catalogue of petitions but also, and especially, a corrective for our affections….
Thus the first object of our desires is our last end; then the means to arrive at this end. But our end is God, to whom our affections incline in two ways: the one in desiring the glory of God, the other in wishing to enjoy this divine glory. The first belongs to charity by which we love God in Himself; the second to charity by which we love ourselves in God. So, the first petition, “Hallowed beThy name,” asks for the glory of God; and the second, “Thy Kingdom come,” asks that we may come to the enjoyment of this glory….
Moreover, we are directed to the end of our existence either by something which is essential or by something which is accidental as a means of salvation. But, it can be essential again either directly, according to the merit by which we deserve beatitude because we are obedient to God, and in this sense we ask: “They will be done on earth as it is in heaven”; or it may be only instrumental, although essential, because it helps us to merit heaven. And in this respect we say: “Give us this day our daily bread,” whether we understand this of the sacramental bread of the Eucharist, the daily use of which is profitable to salvation, or of the bread of the body, which is symbolic for a sufficiency of food….
We are also directed to heaven, accidentally, by the removal of obstacles to beatitude; 1) sin, which directly excludes man from the kingdom of God. Therefore, we pray “Forgive us our trespasses”; 2) temptation, which leads us into sin. Hence our sixth petition, “Lead us not into temptation”; 3) temporal evils, the consequence of sin, which make the burden of life too heavy. Consequently, our final petition, “Deliver us from evil” (Summa Theologica, II, II, 83).

Centuries before St. Thomas and ever since, theologians and mystics, exegetes and moralists have written extensively and in depth, explaining the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and applying its lessons to our daily lives.


Words of the Our Father

There are two versions of the Our Father in the gospels. The longer version is in St. Matthew’s Gospel, where it forms part of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. The Lord is explaining how we should pray, and warns His disciples not to multiply words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by talking a great deal, they will be heard. Christians are not to pray in this way. Why not? Because God already knows what we need before we ask Him. “In this manner therefore shall you pray:

  Our Father,who art in heaven hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation.
But deliver us from evil. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-15).

The foregoing is the text in the Latin Vulgate of the New Testament.

Already in apostolic times, the Pater Noster was part of the Eucharistic liturgy, where it was followed by the words, “For thine is the power and the glory, for evermore.” This ending occurs in the first-century liturgical manual, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (8:2). It was taken over by the Eastern Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and may be found in some gospel manuscripts. Since the Second Vatican Council, the liturgical addition called the embolism is part of the Eucharistic Prayer in the Latin Rite.

In St. Luke’s Gospel, the Lord’s Prayer occurs as part of the narrative in which the disciples find Jesus praying in a certain place. After He has finished praying, one of the disciples asks Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples.” He told them, “When you pray, say:

  Father, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:2-4).

The Church has adopted St. Matthew’s text for the liturgy and for its daily use by the faithful.

The Four Evangelists

Copyright © 2002 Inter Mirifica
Pocket Catholic Catechism


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; prayer
A new section on prayer starts tonight.
1 posted on 11/23/2009 10:13:20 PM PST by Salvation
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To: All
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith (Introduction)
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part One: The Apostles’ Creed, The Basic Profession of Faith
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part 1: The Apostles’ Creed, “I Believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth"
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part 1: The Apostles’ Creed: “And in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord”
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part One: The Apostles' Creed: “ Who Was Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary”

The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part One: The Apostles’ Creed: “Suffered Under Pontius Pilate, was Crucified, Died, and was Buried”
The Esstentials of the Catholic Faith, Part One: The Apostle's Creed: He Descended into Hell. On the Third Day He Rose Again from the Dead
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part One: The Apostles’ Creed: “He Ascended into Heaven, and is Seated at the Right Hand of God, The Father Almighty”
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part 1: The Apostles’ Creed: “From Thence He Shall Come to Judge the Living and the Dead”
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part 1: The Apostles’ Creed, “ I Believe in the Holy Spirit”

The Essentials of the Catholic Faith,Part 1: Apostles’ Creed: "The Holy CatholicChurch: The Communion of Saints”
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part One: The Apostles’ Creed: “The Forgiveness of Sins”
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part One: The Apostles’ Creed: “The Resurrection of the Body”
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part One: The Apostles’ Creed: “Life Everlasting”


The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Two: Channels of Grace, The Sacraments
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Two: Channels of Grace, Baptism
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Two: Channels of Grace, Confirmation
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Two: Channels of Grace: The Eucharist
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Two: Channels of Grace, Penance

The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Two: Channels of Grace, Anointing of the Sick
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Two: Channels of Grace, Holy Orders


The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Christian Morality
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, The Ten Commandments
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, First Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Second Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Third Commandment

The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Fourth Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Fifth Commandment
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Sixth and Ninth Commandments
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Three: The Will of God, Seventh and Tenth Commandments
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith; Part Three: The Will of God, Eighth Commandment


The Essentials of the Catholic Faith. Part Four: Lord, Teach Us To Pray, The Lord’s Prayer

2 posted on 11/23/2009 10:17:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

3 posted on 11/23/2009 10:23:34 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith. Part Four: Lord, Teach Us To Pray, The Lord’s Prayer Our Father
Lord, Teach Us To Pray: The Lord’s Prayer [Ecumenical]
Lead Us Not into Temptation . . .

THY WILL BE DONE(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus meditaion St Peter Julian Eymard)
My Will v. Thy Will Be Done
The Our Father in the Catechesis of Teens
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father - In Heaven (Dr. Scott Hahn)

The 'Our Father': Appropriate gestures for prayer
The “Our Father” of “La Civiltà Cattolica” - (comparison to Muslim version)
Our Father
HOLDING HANDS AT THE OUR FATHER?
Our Father ... in Heaven

4 posted on 11/23/2009 10:42:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

To busy to get the daily Rosary Prayer Done?

Here is a tip, everytime you wash your hands say an Our Father per wash followed by a Hail Mary per next few washes.

I am a healthcare provider and I really dislike the smell of bottled sanitizers.


5 posted on 11/23/2009 11:05:58 PM PST by Global2010 (Strange We Can Believe In)
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To: Salvation

Thank you for this thread. I’ve always loved the Our Father because it starts out with praise and quickly moves into asking God to keep us safe and give us what we really need. I feel it validates petition in prayer and that Christ was telling us it’s okay to ask!


6 posted on 11/24/2009 7:46:19 AM PST by Melian ("Here's the moral of the story: Catholic witness has a cost." ~Archbishop Charles Chaput)
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To: Global2010

Good tip. I’ve read that we should sing “Happy Birthday” to ourselves as we wash our hands. I’ve changed it to two Hail Mary’s said with meaning. I like your Our Father idea.

I’ve also heard that the important thing is to really rinse your hands well. The germs cling to the soap, so it is essential to get all the soap residue off your hands.


7 posted on 11/24/2009 7:48:32 AM PST by Melian ("Here's the moral of the story: Catholic witness has a cost." ~Archbishop Charles Chaput)
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To: Melian
I feel it validates petition in prayer and that Christ was telling us it’s okay to ask!

Christ doesn't just tell us it's OK to ask. He insists that we should ask ... repeatedly and at length..

See Luke 18:1-8, for example.

8 posted on 11/24/2009 7:54:39 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I love that passage! I have been pestering the Judge for 30 years for the gift of faith for my husband. I’m not giving up until the last breath I take. Maybe I’m not being “insistent” enough!


9 posted on 11/24/2009 8:03:06 AM PST by Melian ("Here's the moral of the story: Catholic witness has a cost." ~Archbishop Charles Chaput)
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To: Melian; Salvation

Perhaps your FRiends could join with you in prayer ...


10 posted on 11/24/2009 8:07:21 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Why, thank you, ArrogantBustard!

I have heard it said that prayers offered during the Consecration are especially pleasing to Christ, since they are united to his sacrifice. I often send up my petitions then.

I struggle with the thought that I am not good enough; that I must not be a good enough example for my husband; or with the thought that faith is a gift and he may not be given it. I also enlist the help of St. Monica, who understands, I’m sure. I’ve been going to Mass alone for 30 years and it’s beginning to get old. I think I need to up the ante and become more of a pest in my prayers!


11 posted on 11/24/2009 4:02:51 PM PST by Melian ("Here's the moral of the story: Catholic witness has a cost." ~Archbishop Charles Chaput)
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To: Melian

No need to put a guilt trip on yourself. It just sounds like your husband has a mind of his own.

Sending you a FReepmail.


12 posted on 11/24/2009 8:32:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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