Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CIC Cann. 35-47





Can. 35 A singular administrative act, whether it is a decree, a precept, or a rescript, can be issued by one who possesses executive power within the limits of that person’s competence, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 76, §1.

Can. 36 §1. An administrative act must be understood according to the proper meaning of the words and the common manner of speaking. In a case of doubt, those which refer to litigation, pertain to threatening or inflicting penalties, restrict the rights of a person, injure the acquired rights of others, or are contrary to a law which benefits private persons are subject to a strict interpretation; all others are subject to a broad interpretation.

§2. An administrative act must not be extended to other cases besides those expressed.

Can. 37 An administrative act which regards the external forum must be put in writing.

Furthermore, if it is given in commissariat form, the act of its execution must be put in writing.

Can. 38 An administrative act, even if it is a rescript given motu proprio, lacks effect insofar as it injures the acquired right of another or is contrary to a law or approved custom, unless the competent authority has expressly added a derogating clause.

Can. 39 Conditions in an administrative act are considered added for validity only when they are expressed by the particles if (si), unless (nisi), or provided that (dummodo).

Can. 40 The executor of any administrative act invalidly carries out his or her function before receiving the relevant letter and verifying its authenticity and integrity, unless previous notice of the letter had been communicated to the executor by authority of the one who issued the act.

Can. 41 The executor of an administrative act to whom is entrusted merely the task of execution cannot refuse the execution of this act unless it clearly appears that the act itself is null or cannot be upheld for another grave cause, or the conditions attached to the administrative act itself have not been fulfilled. Nevertheless, if the execution of the administrative act seems inopportune due to the circumstances of person or place, the executor is to suspend the execution. In such cases the executor is to inform immediately the authority who issued the act.

Can. 42 The executor of an administrative act must proceed according to the norm of the mandate. If, however, the executor did not fulfill the essential conditions attached to the relevant letter and did not observe the substantial form of proceeding, the execution is invalid.

Can. 43 The executor of an administrative act can, according to his or her prudent judgment, substitute another as executor unless substitution has been forbidden, the executor has been chosen for personal qualifications, or a substitute has been predetermined. In these cases, however, the executor may entrust the preparatory acts to another.

Can. 44 The executor’s successor in office can also execute an administrative act unless the executor was chosen for personal qualifications.

Can. 45 If the executor has erred in any way in the execution of an administrative act, the executor is permitted to execute the same act again.

Can. 46 An administrative act does not cease when the authority of the one who established it expires unless the law expressly provides otherwise.

Can. 47 The revocation of an administrative act by another administrative act of a competent authority takes effect only from the moment at which the revocation is legitimately made known to the person for whom it has been given.

Monday, November 14, 2011

CIC Cann. 29-34



Can. 29 General decrees, by which a competent legislator issues common prescripts for a community capable of receiving law, are laws properly speaking and are governed by the prescripts of the canons on laws.

Can. 30 A person who possesses only executive power is not able to issue the general decree mentioned in ⇒ can. 29 unless, in particular cases, it has been expressly granted to that person by a competent legislator according to the norm of law and the conditions stated in the act of the grant have been observed.

Can. 31 §1. Those who possess executive power are able to issue, within the limits of their competence, general executory decrees, namely, those which more precisely determine the methods to be observed in applying the law or which urge the observance of laws.

§2. With respect to the promulgation and suspensive period (vacatio) of the decrees mentioned in §1, the prescripts of ⇒ can. 8 are to be observed.

Can. 32 General executory decrees oblige those who are bound by the laws whose methods of application the same decrees determine or whose observance they urge.

Can. 33 §1. General executory decrees, even if they are issued in directories or in documents of another name, do not derogate from laws, and their prescripts which are contrary to laws lack all force.

§2. Such decrees cease to have force by explicit or implicit revocation made by competent authority as well as by cessation of the law for whose execution they were given. They do not, however, cease when the authority of the one who established them expires unless the contrary is expressly provided.

Can. 34 §1. Instructions clarify the prescripts of laws and elaborate on and determine the methods to be observed in fulfilling them. They are given for the use of those whose duty it is to see that laws are executed and oblige them in the execution of the laws. Those who possess executive power legitimately issue such instructions within the limits of their competence.

§2. The ordinances of instructions do not derogate from laws. If these ordinances cannot be reconciled with the prescripts of laws, they lack all force.

§3. Instructions cease to have force not only by explicit or implicit revocation of the competent authority who issued them or of the superior of that authority but also by the cessation of the law for whose clarification or execution they were given.

Monday, October 10, 2011

CIC Cann. 23-28


CUSTOM (Cann. 23 - 28)

Can. 23 Only that custom introduced by a community of the faithful and approved by the legislator according to the norm of the following canons has the force of law.

Can. 24 §1. No custom which is contrary to divine law can obtain the force of law.

§2. A custom contrary to or beyond canon law (praeter ius canonicum) cannot obtain the force of law unless it is reasonable; a custom which is expressly reprobated in the law, however, is not reasonable.

Can. 25 No custom obtains the force of law unless it has been observed with the intention of introducing a law by a community capable at least of receiving law.

Can. 26 Unless the competent legislator has specifically approved it, a custom contrary to the canon law now in force or one beyond a canonical law (praeter legem canonicam) obtains the force of law only if it has been legitimately observed for thirty continuous and complete years. Only a centenary or immemorial custom, however, can prevail against a canonical law which contains a clause prohibiting future customs.

Can. 27 Custom is the best interpreter of laws.

Can. 28 Without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 5, a contrary custom or law revokes a custom which is contrary to or beyond the law (praeter legem). Unless it makes express mention of them, however, a law does not revoke centenary or immemorial customs, nor does a universal law revoke particular customs.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

CIC Cann. 7-22



Can. 7 A law is established when it is promulgated.

Can. 8 §1. Universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the official commentary, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, unless another manner of promulgation has been prescribed in particular cases. They take force only after three months have elapsed from the date of that issue of the Acta unless they bind immediately from the very nature of the matter, or the law itself has specifically and expressly established a shorter or longer suspensive period (vacatio).

§2. Particular laws are promulgated in the manner determined by the legislator and begin to oblige a month after the day of promulgation unless the law itself establishes another time period.

Can. 9 Laws regard the future, not the past, unless they expressly provide for the past.

Can. 10 Only those laws must be considered invalidating or disqualifying which expressly establish that an act is null or that a person is effected.

Can. 11 Merely ecclesiastical laws bind those who have been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, possess the efficient use of reason, and, unless the law expressly provides otherwise, have completed seven years of age.

Can. 12 §1. Universal laws bind everywhere all those for whom they were issued.

§2. All who are actually present in a certain territory, however, are exempted from universal laws which are not in force in that territory.

§3. Laws established for a particular territory bind those for whom they were issued as well as those who have a domicile or quasi-domicile there and who at the same time are actually residing there, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 13.

Can. 13 §1. Particular laws are not presumed to be personal but territorial unless it is otherwise evident.

§2. Travelers are not bound:

1/ by the particular laws of their own territory as long as they are absent from it unless either the transgression of those laws causes harm in their own territory or the laws are personal;

2/ by the laws of the territory in which they are present, with the exception of those laws which provide for public order, which determine the formalities of acts, or which regard immovable goods located in the territory.

§3. Transients are bound by both universal and particular laws which are in force in the place where they are present.

Can. 14 Laws, even invalidating and disqualifying ones, do not oblige when there is a doubt about the law. When there is a doubt about a fact, however, ordinaries can dispense from laws provided that, if it concerns a reserved dispensation, the authority to whom it is reserved usually grants it.

Can. 15 §1. Ignorance or error about invalidating or disqualifying laws does not impede their effect unless it is expressly established otherwise.

§2. Ignorance or error about a law, a penalty, a fact concerning oneself, or a notorious fact concerning another is not presumed; it is presumed about a fact concerning another which is not notorious until the contrary is proven.

Can. 16 §1. The legislator authentically interprets laws as does the one to whom the same legislator has entrusted the power of authentically interpreting.

§2. An authentic interpretation put forth in the form of law has the same force as the law itself and must be promulgated. If it only declares the words of the law which are certain in themselves, it is retroactive; if it restricts or extends the law, or if it explains a doubtful law, it is not retroactive.

§3. An interpretation in the form of a judicial sentence or of an administrative act in a particular matter, however, does not have the force of law and only binds the persons for whom and affects the matters for which it was given.

Can. 17 Ecclesiastical laws must be understood in accord with the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context. If the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be made to parallel places, if there are such, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and to the mind of the legislator.

Can. 18 Laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation.

Can. 19 If a custom or an express prescript of universal or particular law is lacking in a certain matter, a case, unless it is penal, must be resolved in light of laws issued in similar matters, general principles of law applied with canonical equity, the jurisprudence and practice of the Roman Curia, and the common and constant opinion of learned persons.

Can. 20 A later law abrogates, or derogates from, an earlier law if it states so expressly, is directly contrary to it, or completely reorders the entire matter of the earlier law. A universal law, however, in no way derogates from a particular or special law unless the law expressly provides otherwise.

Can. 21 In a case of doubt, the revocation of a pre-existing law is not presumed, but later laws must be related to the earlier ones and, insofar as possible, must be harmonized with them.

Can. 22 Civil laws to which the law of the Church yields are to be observed in canon law with the same effects, insofar as they are not contrary to divine law and unless canon law provides otherwise.

Monday, May 16, 2011

CIC Cann. 1-6

BOOK I : GENERAL NORMS (Cann. 1 - 6)

Can. 1 The canons of this Code concern only the latin Church.

Can. 2 For the most part the Code does not determine the rites to be observed in the celebration of liturgical actions. Accordingly, liturgical laws which have been in effect hitherto retain their force, except those which may be contrary to the canons of the Code.

Can. 3 The canons of the Code do not abrogate, nor do they derogate from, agreements entered into by the Apostolic See with nations or other civil entities. For this reason, these agreements continue in force as hitherto, notwithstanding any contrary provisions of this Code.

Can. 4 Acquired rights, and likewise privileges hitherto granted by the Apostolic See to either physical or juridical persons, which are still in use and have not been revoked, remain intact, unless they are expressly revoked by the canons of this Code.

Can. 5 §1 Universal or particular customs which have been in effect up to now but are contrary to the provisions of these canons and are reprobated in the canons of this Code, are completely suppressed, and they may not be allowed to revive in the future. Other contrary customs are also to be considered suppressed, unless the Code expressly provides otherwise, or unless they are centennial or immemorial: these latter may be tolerated if the Ordinary judges that, in the circumstances of place and person, they cannot be removed.

§2 Customs apart from the law, whether universal or particular, which have been in effect hitherto, are retained.

Can. 6 §1 When this Code comes into force, the following are abrogated:

1° the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917;

2° other laws, whether universal or particular, which are contrary to the provisions of this Code, unless it is otherwise expressly provided in respect of particular laws;

3° all penal laws enacted by the Apostolic See, whether universal or particular, unless they are resumed in this Code itself;

4° any other universal disciplinary laws concerning matters which are integrally reordered by this Code.

§2 To the extent that the canons of this Code reproduce the former law, they are to be assessed in the light also of canonical tradition.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

CCC 2855-2865



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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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. Lk 1:38.

Monday, May 2, 2011

CCC 2803-2854



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.


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


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


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

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 and to thank him, 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


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 relation ship. 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

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


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
63 Ps 42:7.
64 Cf. Lk 22:14; 12:50.
65 Cf. 1 Cor 15:28.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
133 Cf. Lk 15:11-32; 18:13.
134 Col 1:14; Eph 1:7.
135 Cf. Mt 26:28; 20:23.
136 Cf. 1 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.
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.
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, quæsumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris, ut, ope misericordiæ tuæ adiuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi: expectantes beatam spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

CCC 2777-2802





2777 In the Roman liturgy, the Eucharistic assembly is invited to pray to our heavenly Father with filial boldness; the Eastern liturgies develop and use similar expressions: "dare in all confidence," "make us worthy of. . . . " From the burning bush Moses heard a voice saying to him, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."26 Only Jesus could cross that threshold of the divine holiness, for "when he had made purification for sins," he brought us into the Father's presence: "Here am I, and the children God has given me."27

Our awareness of our status as slaves would make us sink into the ground and our earthly condition would dissolve into dust, if the authority of our Father himself and the Spirit of his Son had not impelled us to this cry . . . 'Abba, Father!' . . . When would a mortal dare call God 'Father,' if man's innermost being were not animated by power from on high?"28

2778 This power of the Spirit who introduces us to the Lord's Prayer is expressed in the liturgies of East and of West by the beautiful, characteristically Christian expression: parrhesia, straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble boldness, the certainty of being loved.29


2779 Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord's Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn "from this world." Humility makes us recognize that "no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him," that is, "to little children."30 The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area "upon him" would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us.

The expression God the Father had never been revealed to anyone. When Moses himself asked God who he was, he heard another name. The Father's name has been revealed to us in the Son, for the name "Son" implies the new name "Father."31

2780 We can invoke God as "Father" because he is revealed to us by his Son become man and because his Spirit makes him known to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God.32

2781 When we pray to the Father, we are in communion with him and with his Son, Jesus Christ.33 Then we know and recognize him with an ever new sense of wonder. The first phrase of the Our Father is a blessing of adoration before it is a supplication. For it is the glory of God that we should recognize him as "Father," the true God. We give him thanks for having revealed his name to us, for the gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of his Presence in us.

2782 We can adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son: by Baptism, he incorporates us into the Body of his Christ; through the anointing of his Spirit who flows from the head to the members, he makes us other "Christs."

God, indeed, who has predestined us to adoption as his sons, has conformed us to the glorious Body of Christ. So then you who have become sharers in Christ are appropriately called "Christs."34

The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, "Father!" because he has now begun to be a son.35

2783 Thus the Lord's Prayer reveals us to ourselves at the same time that it reveals the Father to us.36

O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you lowered your eyes to the earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant you have become a good son. . . . Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say: "Our Father. . . . " But do not claim any privilege. He is the Father in a special way only of Christ, but he is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us. Then also say by his grace, "Our Father," so that you may merit being his son.37

2784 The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life. Praying to our Father should develop in us two fundamental dispositions:

First, the desire to become like him: though created in his image, we are restored to his likeness by grace; and we must respond to this grace.

We must remember . . . and know that when we call God "our Father" we ought to behave as sons of God.38

You cannot call the God of all kindness your Father if you preserve a cruel and inhuman heart; for in this case you no longer have in you the marks of the heavenly Father's kindness.39

We must contemplate the beauty of the Father without ceasing and adorn our own souls accordingly.40

2785 Second, a humble and trusting heart that enables us "to turn and become like children":41 for it is to "little children" that the Father is revealed.42

[The prayer is accomplished] by the contemplation of God alone, and by the warmth of love, through which the soul, molded and directed to love him, speaks very familiarly to God as to its own Father with special devotion.43

Our Father: at this name love is aroused in us . . . and the confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask. . . . What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift of being his children?44


2786 "Our" Father refers to God. The adjective, as used by us, does not express possession, but an entirely new relationship with God.

2787 When we say "our" Father, we recognize first that all his promises of love announced by the prophets are fulfilled in the new and eternal covenant in his Christ: we have become "his" people and he is henceforth "our" God. This new relationship is the purely gratuitous gift of belonging to each other: we are to respond to "grace and truth" given us in Jesus Christ with love and faithfulness.45

2788 Since the Lord's Prayer is that of his people in the "end-time," this "our" also expresses the certitude of our hope in God's ultimate promise: in the new Jerusalem he will say to the victor, "I will be his God and he shall be my son."46

2789 When we pray to "our" Father, we personally address the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By doing so we do not divide the Godhead, since the Father is its "source and origin," but rather confess that the Son is eternally begotten by him and the Holy Spirit proceeds from him. We are not confusing the persons, for we confess that our communion is with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, in their one Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is consubstantial and indivisible. When we pray to the Father, we adore and glorify him together with the Son and the Holy Spirit.

2790 Grammatically, "our" qualifies a reality common to more than one person. There is only one God, and he is recognized as Father by those who, through faith in his only Son, are reborn of him by water and the Spirit.47 The Church is this new communion of God and men. United with the only Son, who has become "the firstborn among many brethren," she is in communion with one and the same Father in one and the same Holy Spirit.48 In praying "our" Father, each of the baptized is praying in this communion: "The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul."49

2791 For this reason, in spite of the divisions among Christians, this prayer to "our" Father remains our common patrimony and an urgent summons for all the baptized. In communion by faith in Christ and by Baptism, they ought to join in Jesus' prayer for the unity of his disciples.50

2792 Finally, if we pray the Our Father sincerely, we leave individualism behind, because the love that we receive frees us from it. The "our" at the beginning of the Lord's Prayer, like the "us" of the last four petitions, excludes no one. If we are to say it truthfully, our divisions and oppositions have to be overcome.51

2793 The baptized cannot pray to "our" Father without bringing before him all those for whom he gave his beloved Son. God's love has no bounds, neither should our prayer.52 Praying "our" Father opens to us the dimensions of his love revealed in Christ: praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ may "gather into one the children of God."53 God's care for all men and for the whole of creation has inspired all the great practitioners of prayer; it should extend our prayer to the full breadth of love whenever we dare to say "our" Father.


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 In 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


2797 Simple and faithful trust, humble and joyous assurance are the proper dispositions for one who prays the Our Father.

2798 We can invoke God as "Father" because the Son of God made man has revealed him to us. In this Son, through Baptism, we are incorporated and adopted as sons of God.

2799 The Lord's Prayer brings us into communion with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. At the same time it reveals us to ourselves (cf. GS 22 § 1).

2800 Praying to our Father should develop in us the will to become like him and foster in us a humble and trusting heart.

2801 When we say "Our" Father, we are invoking the new covenant in Jesus Christ, communion with the Holy Trinity, and the divine love which spreads through the Church to encompass the world.

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.

26 Ex 3:5.
27 Heb 1:3; 2:13.
28 St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 71,3:PL 52,401CD; cf. Gal 4:6.
29 Cf. Eph 3:12; Heb 3:6; 4:16; 10:19; 1 Jn 2:28; 3:21; 5:14.
30 Mt 11:25-27.
31 Tertullian, De orat. 3:PL 1,1155.
32 Cf. Jn 1:1; 1 Jn 5:1.
33 Cf. 1 Jn 1:3.
34 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 3,1:PG 33,1088A.
35 St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 9:PL 4,525A.
36 Cf. GS 22 § 1.
37 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 5,4,19:PL 16:450-451.
38 St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 11:PL 4:526B.
39 St. John Chrysostom, De orat Dom. 3:PG 51,44.
40 St. Gregory Of Nyssa, De orat. Dom. 2:PG 44,1148B.
41 Mt 18:3.
42 Cf. Mt 11:25.
43 St. John Cassian, Coll. 9,18:PL 49,788C.
44 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 2,4,16:PL 34,1276.
45 Jn 1:17; cf. Hos 2:21-22; 6:1-6.
46 Rev 21:7.
47 Cf. 1 Jn 5:1; Jn 3:5.
48 Rom 8:29; Cf. Eph 4:4-6.
49 Acts 4:32.
50 Cf. UR 8; 22.
51 Cf. Mt 5:23-24; 6:14-15.
52 Cf. NA 5.
53 Jn 11:52.
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 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.

Friday, March 11, 2011

CCC 2761-2776



2761 The Lord's Prayer "is truly the summary of the whole gospel."7 "Since the Lord . . . after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, 'Ask and you will receive,' and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer [the Lord's Prayer] is said first, as the foundation of further desires."8


2762 After showing how the psalms are the principal food of Christian prayer and flow together in the petitions of the Our Father, St. Augustine concludes:

Run through all the words of the holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord's Prayer.9
2763 All the Scriptures - the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms - are fulfilled in Christ.10 The Gospel is this "Good News." Its first proclamation is summarized by St. Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount;11 the prayer to our Father is at the center of this proclamation. It is in this context that each petition bequeathed to us by the Lord is illuminated:

The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. . . . In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.12
2764 The Sermon on the Mount is teaching for life, the Our Father is a prayer; but in both the one and the other the Spirit of the Lord gives new form to our desires, those inner movements that animate our lives. Jesus teaches us this new life by his words; he teaches us to ask for it by our prayer. The rightness of our life in him will depend on the rightness of our prayer.


2765 The traditional expression "the Lord's Prayer" - oratio Dominica - means that the prayer to our Father is taught and given to us by the Lord Jesus. The prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique: it is "of the Lord." On the one hand, in the words of this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him:13 he is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, he knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us: he is the model of our prayer.

2766 But Jesus does not give us a formula to repeat mechanically.14 As in every vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father. Jesus not only gives us the words of our filial prayer; at the same time he gives us the Spirit by whom these words become in us "spirit and life."15 Even more, the proof and possibility of our filial prayer is that the Father "sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'"16 Since our prayer sets forth our desires before God, it is again the Father, "he who searches the hearts of men," who "knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."17 The prayer to Our Father is inserted into the mysterious mission of the Son and of the Spirit.


2767 This indivisible gift of the Lord's words and of the Holy Spirit who gives life to them in the hearts of believers has been received and lived by the Church from the beginning. The first communities prayed the Lord's Prayer three times a day,18 in place of the "Eighteen Benedictions" customary in Jewish piety.

2768 According to the apostolic tradition, the Lord's Prayer is essentially rooted in liturgical prayer:

[The Lord] teaches us to make prayer in common for all our brethren. For he did not say "my Father" who art in heaven, but "our" Father, offering petitions for the common body.19
In all the liturgical traditions, the Lord's Prayer is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office. In the three sacraments of Christian initiation its ecclesial character is especially in evidence:

2769 In Baptism and Confirmation, the handing on (traditio) of the Lord's Prayer signifies new birth into the divine life. Since Christian prayer is our speaking to God with the very word of God, those who are "born anew". . . through the living and abiding word of God"20 learn to invoke their Father by the one Word he always hears. They can henceforth do so, for the seal of the Holy Spirit's anointing is indelibly placed on their hearts, ears, lips, indeed their whole filial being. This is why most of the patristic commentaries on the Our Father are addressed to catechumens and neophytes. When the Church prays the Lord's Prayer, it is always the people made up of the "new-born" who pray and obtain mercy.21

2770 In the Eucharistic liturgy the Lord's Prayer appears as the prayer of the whole Church and there reveals its full meaning and efficacy. Placed between the anaphora (the Eucharistic prayer) and the communion, the Lord's Prayer sums up on the one hand all the petitions and intercessions expressed in the movement of the epiclesis and, on the other, knocks at the door of the Banquet of the kingdom which sacramental communion anticipates.

2771 In the Eucharist, the Lord's Prayer also reveals the eschatological character of its petitions. It is the proper prayer of "the end-time," the time of salvation that began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and will be fulfilled with the Lord's return. The petitions addressed to our Father, as distinct from the prayers of the old covenant, rely on the mystery of salvation already accomplished, once for all, in Christ crucified and risen.

2772 From this unshakeable faith springs forth the hope that sustains each of the seven petitions, which express the groanings of the present age, this time of patience and expectation during which "it does not yet appear what we shall be."22 The Eucharist and the Lord's Prayer look eagerly for the Lord's return, "until he comes."23


2773 In response to his disciples' request "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk 11:1), Jesus entrusts them with the fundamental Christian prayer, the Our Father.

2774 "The Lord's Prayer is truly the summary of the whole gospel,"24 the "most perfect of prayers."25 It is at the center of the Scriptures.

2775 It is called "the Lord's Prayer" because it comes to us from the Lord Jesus, the master and model of our prayer.

2776 The Lord's Prayer is the quintessential prayer of the Church. It is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office and of the sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Integrated into the Eucharist it reveals the eschatological character of its petitions, hoping for the Lord, "until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26).

7 Tertullian, De orat. 1:PL 1,1155.
8 Tertullian, De orat. 10:PL 1,1165; cf. Lk 11:9.
9 St. Augustine, Ep. 130,12,22:PL 33,503.
10 Cf. Lk 24:44.
11 Cf. Mt 5-7.
12 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II,83,9.
13 Cf. Jn 17:7.
14 Cf. Mt 6:7; 1 Kings 18:26-29.
15 Jn 6:63.
16 Gal 4:6.
17 Rom 8:27.
18 Cf. Didache 8,3:SCh 248,174.
19 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Mt. 19,4:PG 57,278.
20 1 Pet 1:23.
21 Cf. 1 Pet 2:1-10.
22 1 Jn 3:2; cf. Col 3:4.
23 1 Cor 11:26.
24 Tertullian, De orat. 1:PL 1,1251-1255.
25 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II,83,9.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CCC 2759-2760



2759 Jesus "was praying at a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'"1 In response to this request the Lord entrusts to his disciples and to his Church the fundamental Christian prayer. St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions,2 while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions.3 The liturgical tradition of the Church has retained St. Matthew's text:

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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

2760 Very early on, liturgical usage concluded the Lord's Prayer with a doxology. In the Didache, we find, "For yours are the power and the glory for ever."4 The Apostolic Constitutions add to the beginning: "the kingdom," and this is the formula retained to our day in ecumenical prayer.5 The Byzantine tradition adds after "the glory" the words "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." The Roman Missal develops the last petition in the explicit perspective of "awaiting our blessed hope" and of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.6 Then comes the assembly's acclamation or the repetition of the doxology from the Apostolic Constitutions.

1 Lk 11:1.
2 Cf. Lk 11:2-4.
3 Cf. Mt 6:9-13.
4 Didache 8,2:SCh 248,174.
5 Apostolic Constitutions, 7,24,1:PG 1,1016.
6 Titus 2:13; cf. Roman Missal 22, Embolism after the Lord's Prayer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CCC 2746-2758




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.


2752 Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter. The battle of prayer is inseparable from the necessary "spiritual battle" to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as we live, because we live as we pray.

2753 In the battle of prayer we must confront erroneous conceptions of prayer, various currents of thought, and our own experience of failure. We must respond with humility, trust, and perseverance to these temptations which cast doubt on the usefulness or even the possibility of prayer.

2754 The principal difficulties in the practice of prayer are distraction and dryness. The remedy lies in faith, conversion, and vigilance of heart.

2755 Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia - a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement.

2756 Filial trust is put to the test when we feel that our prayer is not always heard. The Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the conformity of our prayer to the desire of the Spirit.

2757 "Pray constantly" (1 Thess 5:17). It is always possible to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and Christian life are inseparable.

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.

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.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Of Arms, Lex Natura, and Lesser Evils

Why do we bear arms? To effectively protect our lives and liberties, to enforce the Natural Law.

Why do State Fathers seek to disarm us? Paraphrasing Machiavelli, they distrust us either for cowardice or want of loyalty.

What is Lex Natura? Natural Law is that precept that states:

"The life and liberty of the individual must not be infringed upon."

As rational men, it is only just for Lex Natura to be enforced, for life and liberty to be safeguarded through whatever means necessary. This notion leads us to a problem:

"Which is the greater evil: spilling the blood of a man, or allowing him to spill the blood of ten?"

In both cases, Lex Natura is being infringed: in the former, by yourself; in the latter, by he whose flesh you stayed your blade from. When you think of it, the man who chose the former is far more merciful than he who chose the latter, for the blood of one man is on his hands in the first case, while the blood of ten men taint those hands in the second.

The desire of some State Fathers to disarm Lawful Juan is, in hindsight, foolish. Why? Simple: What they want is to paint a bull's-eye on Lawful Juan for Lawless Pedro and Oppressive Jose to shoot at with utter impunity, knowing that Juan no longer has a fighting chance against either. What they desire will only reinforce the culture of impunity that this society is notorious for. What they desire will only tighten the grip of Jose on Juan, until all that is left of the latter is a broken corpse--such is the usual fate of those victimized by totalitarianism.

How does Lex Natura fall into this? What these State Fathers seek is depriving law-abiding citizens of what is, frankly, one of the most efficient means of protecting their lives and liberties. It threatens Lex Natura. As disarming lawful citizens is an affront on the Natural Law, it can be considered unjust--and, per St. Augustine, the unjust law is no law.

If one were to say "Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword," it is only fitting to counter with "Those who bear no arms will always be at the mercy of those who do." Such is the harsh reality of the human state. Those who deny that fact will realize its veracity when they are in a situation in which there is nothing that can be done about it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On the use of firecrackers--a New Year rubric

Firecrackers are like firearms: You DO NOT dick with them inappropriately unless you're looking to see something or someone (most likely yourself) blown to bits.

I mean, how hard can it be to use these explosive implements RESPONSIBLY? Common sense in using these implements of revelry, tree-and-animal nazis (the tree- and animal-huggers who freak like Hitler on Jews or al-Qaeda on non-Muslims or Jack Chick on Catholics when they see the things) be damned (because they have a mad-on for these explosive devices), can be found in such simple things:

1. Responsible, SOBER adults should light them up. If your kids are that responsible, however... Good for you.

2. When they blow up, keep your distance.

3. When they fail, douse them IMMEDIATELY. With water, unless you want all sorts of hell to break loose.

4. When some idiot (hopefully NOT you) gets himself injured because he went too close or dicked around, have him treated.

5. DO NOT use fireARMS in place of or along with fireCRACKERS. God help you if you do.

6. Buy Legal. It may cost more, but you can enjoy assured that your five-second fuse is five seconds instead of just two or, heaven forbid, a split-second.

Follow these tips, and you need not worry about blowing something or someone up. God help you if that tickles your fancy, you psychotic fuck.

Happy New Year!

CCC 2725-2745





2725 Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.


2726 In the battle of prayer, we must face in ourselves and around us erroneous notions of prayer. Some people view prayer as a simple psychological activity, others as an effort of concentration to reach a mental void. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words and postures. Many Christians unconsciously regard prayer as an occupation that is incompatible with all the other things they have to do: they "don't have the time." Those who seek God by prayer are quickly discouraged because they do not know that prayer comes also from the Holy Spirit and not from themselves alone.

2727 We must also face the fact that certain attitudes deriving from the mentality of "this present world" can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant. For example, some would have it that only that is true which can be verified by reason and science; yet prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives. Others overly prize production and profit; thus prayer, being unproductive, is useless. Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life.

2728 Finally, our battle has to confront what we experience as failure in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness that, because we have "great possessions,"15 we have not given all to the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth. The conclusion is always the same: what good does it do to pray? To overcome these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance.


Facing difficulties in prayer

2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.16

2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. The bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: "'Come,' my heart says, 'seek his face!'"17

2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit."18 If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.19

Facing temptations in prayer

2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart: "Apart from me, you can do nothing."20

2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."21 The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.


2734 Filial trust is tested - it proves itself - in tribulation.22 The principal difficulty concerns the prayer of petition, for oneself or for others in intercession. Some even stop praying because they think their petition is not heard. Here two questions should be asked: Why do we think our petition has not been heard? How is our prayer heard, how is it "efficacious"?

Why do we complain of not being heard?

2735 In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

2736 Are we convinced that "we do not know how to pray as we ought"?23 Are we asking God for "what is good for us"? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him,24 but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants.25

2737 "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."26 If we ask with a divided heart, we are "adulterers";27 God cannot answer us, for he desires our well-being, our life. "Or do you suppose that it is in vain that the scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us?'"28 That our God is "jealous" for us is the sign of how true his love is. If we enter into the desire of his Spirit, we shall be heard.

Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.29

God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.30

How is our prayer efficacious?

2738 The revelation of prayer in the economy of salvation teaches us that faith rests on God's action in history. Our filial trust is enkindled by his supreme act: the Passion and Resurrection of his Son. Christian prayer is cooperation with his providence, his plan of love for men.

2739 For St. Paul, this trust is bold, founded on the prayer of the Spirit in us and on the faithful love of the Father who has given us his only Son.31 Transformation of the praying heart is the first response to our petition.

2740 The prayer of Jesus makes Christian prayer an efficacious petition. He is its model, he prays in us and with us. Since the heart of the Son seeks only what pleases the Father, how could the prayer of the children of adoption be centered on the gifts rather than the Giver?

2741 Jesus also prays for us - in our place and on our behalf. All our petitions were gathered up, once for all, in his cry on the Cross and, in his Resurrection, heard by the Father. This is why he never ceases to intercede for us with the Father.32 If our prayer is resolutely united with that of Jesus, in trust and boldness as children, we obtain all that we ask in his name, even more than any particular thing: the Holy Spirit himself, who contains all gifts.


2742 "Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father."33 St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints."34 For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing."35 This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

2743 It is always possible to pray: The time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.36 Our time is in the hands of God:

It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.37

2744 Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin.38 How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?

Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy. . . . For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin.39

Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.40

2745 Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father's plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same love for all men, the love with which Jesus has loved us. "Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he [will] give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."41

He "prays without ceasing" who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing.42

15 Cf. Mk 10:22.
16 Cf. Mt 6:21,24.
17 Ps 27:8.
18 Jn 12:24.
19 Cf. Lk 8:6,13.
20 Jn 15:5.
21 Mt 26:41.
22 Cf. Rom 5:3-5.
23 Rom 8:26.
24 Cf. Mt 6:8.
25 Cf. Rom 8:27.
26 Jas 4:3; cf. the whole context: Jas 4:1-10; 1:5-8; 5:16.
27 Jas 4:4.
28 Jas 4:5.
29 Evagrius Ponticus, De oratione 34:PG 79,1173.
30 St. Augustine, Ep. 130,8,17:PL 33,500.
31 Cf. Rom 10:12-13; 8:26-39.
32 Cf. Heb 5:7; 7:25; 9:24
33 1 Thess 5:17; Eph 5:20.
34 Eph 6:18.
35 Evagrius Ponticus, Pract. 49:PG 40,1245C.
36 Cf. Mt 28:20; Lk 8:24.
37 St. John Chrysostom, Ecloga de oratione 2:PG 63,585.
38 Cf. Gal 5:16-25.
39 St. John Chrysostom, De Anna 4,5:PG 54,666.
40 St. Alphonsus Liguori, Del gran Mezzo della preghiera.
41 Jn 15:16-17.
42 Origen, De orat. 12:PG 11,452c.