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.