Friday, June 7, 2024

The difficulty of loving and forgiving our enemies.

St. Augustine’s focus on the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, forgiveness. The difficulty of loving and forgiving our enemies.

 

From Sermon 6 on the New Testament, to catechumens preparing for Baptism. 

 

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Touching this petition again we need no explanation, that it is for ourselves that we pray. For we beg that our debts may be forgiven us. For debtors are we, not in money, but in sin. You are saying perchance at this moment, And you too. We answer, Yes, we too. What, you Holy Bishops, are you debtors? Yes, we are debtors too. (St. Augustine was at that time Bishop of Hippo.) What you! Be it far from you, do not yourself this wrong. I do myself no wrong, but I say the truth; we are debtors: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 

We have been baptized, and yet are we debtors. Not that anything then remained, which was not remitted to us in Baptism, but because in our lives we are contracting ever what needs daily forgiveness. They who are baptized, and immediately depart out of this life, come up from the font without any debt; without any debt they leave the world. But they who are baptized and are still kept in this life, contract defilements by reason of their mortal frailty, by which though the ship be not sunk, yet have they need of recourse to the pump. For otherwise little by little will that enter in by which the whole ship will be sunk. And to offer this prayer, is to have recourse to the pump. 

 

But we ought not only to pray, but to do alms also, because when the pump is used to prevent the ship from sinking, both the voices and hands are at work. Now we are at work with our voices, when we say, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And we are at work with our hands when we do this, break your bread to the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house. Shut up alms in the heart of a poor man, and it shall intercede for you unto the Lord. 

 

Although therefore all our sins were forgiven in the laver of regeneration, we should be driven into great straits, if there were not given to us the daily cleansing of the Holy Prayer. Alms and prayers purge away sins; only let not such sins be committed, for which we must necessarily be separated from our daily Bread; avoid we all such debts to which a severe and certain condemnation is due. Call not yourselves righteous, as though ye had no cause to say, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. Though you abstain from idolatry, from the consolations of astrologers, from the cures of enchanters, though ye abstain from the seductions of heretics, from the divisions of schismatics; though ye abstain from murders, from adulteries and fornications, from thefts and plunderings, from false witnessings, and all such other sins which I do not name, as have a ruinous consequence [….]; yet after all these are excepted, still there is no want of occasions whereby a man may sin. 

 

A man sins in seeing with pleasure what he ought not to see. Yet who can hold in the quickness of the eye? For from this the eye is said to have received its very name, from its quickness. Who can restrain the ear or eye? The eyes may be shut when you will, and are shut in a moment, but the ears you can only with an effort close: you must raise the hand and reach them, and if any one hold your hand, they are kept open, nor can you close them against reviling, impure, or flattering, and seducing words. And when you hear any things you ought not to hear, though you do it not, do you not sin with the ear? For you hear something that is bad with pleasure? How great sins does the deadly tongue commit! Yea, sometimes sins of such a nature, that a man is separated from the altar for them. To the tongue pertains the whole matter of blasphemies, and many idle words again are spoken, which are not convenient.

 

But let the hand do nothing wrong, let the feet run not to any evil, nor the eye be directed to immodesty; let not the ear be open with pleasure to filthy talk; nor the tongue move to indecent speech; yet tell me, who can restrain the thoughts? How often do we pray, my brethren, and our thoughts are elsewhere, as though we forgot before whom we are standing, or before whom we are prostrating ourselves! If all these things be collected together against us, will they not therefore not overwhelm us, because they are small faults? What matter is it whether lead or sand overwhelm us? The lead is all one mass, the sand is small grains, but by their great number they overwhelm you. So your sins are small. Do you see not how the rivers are filled, and the lands are wasted by small drops? They are small, but they are many.

 

Let us therefore say every day; and say it in sincerity of heart, and do what we say, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. It is an engagement, a covenant, an agreement that we make with God. The Lord your God says to you, Forgive, and I will forgive. You have not forgiven; you retain your sins against yourself, not I. I pray you, my dearly beloved children, since I know what is expedient for you in the Lord's Prayer, and most of all in that sentence of it, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors; hear me. You are about to be baptized, forgive everything; whatsoever any man have in his heart against any other, let him from his heart forgive it. So enter in, and be sure, that all your sins which you have contracted, whether from your birth of your parents after Adam with original sin, for which sins’ sake ye run with babes to the Savior's grace, or whatever after sins you have contracted in your lives, by word, or deed, or thought, all are forgiven; and you will go out of the water as from before the presence of your Lord, with the sure discharge of all debts.

 

Now because by reason of those daily sins of which I have spoken, it is necessary for you to say, in that daily prayer of cleansing as it were, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors; what will you do? You have enemies. For who can live on this earth without them? Take heed to yourselves, love them. In no way can your enemy so hurt you by his violence, as you hurt yourself if you love him not. For he may injure your estate, or flocks, or house, or your man-servant, or your maid-servant, or your son, or your wife; or at most, if such power be given him, your body. But can he injure your soul, as you can yourself? Reach forward, dearly beloved, I beseech you, to this perfection. But have I given you this power? He only has given it to whom you say, Your will be done as in heaven so in earth. Yet let it not seem impossible to you. 

 

I know, I have known by experience, that there are Christian men who do love their enemies. If it seem to you impossible, you will not do it. Believe then first that it can be done, and pray that the will of God may be done in you. For what good can your neighbor's ill do you? If he had no ill, he would not even be your enemy. Wish him well then, that he may end his ill, and he will be your enemy no longer. For it is not the human nature in him that is at enmity with you, but his sin. Is he therefore your enemy, because he has a soul and body? In this he is as you are: you have a soul, and so has he: you have a body, and so has he. He is of the same substance as you are; you were made both out of the same earth, and quickened by the same Lord. In all this he is as you are. Acknowledge in him then your brother. The first pair, Adam and Eve, were our parents; the one our father, the other our mother; and therefore we are brethren. 

 

But let us leave the consideration of our first origin. God is our Father, the Church our Mother, and therefore are we brethren. But you will say, my enemy is a heathen, a Jew, a heretic, of whom I spoke some time ago on the words, Your will be done as in heaven so in earth. O Church, your enemy is the heathen, the Jew, the heretic; he is the earth. If you are heaven, call on your Father which is in heaven, and pray for your enemies: for so was Saul an enemy of the Church; thus was prayer made for him, and he became her friend. He not only ceased from being her persecutor, but he labored to be her helper. And yet, to say the truth, prayer was made against him; but against his malice, not against his nature. So let your prayer be against the malice of your enemy, that it may die, and he may live. For if your enemy were dead, you have lost it might seem an enemy, yet have you not found a friend. But if his malice die, you have at once lost an enemy and found a friend.

 

But still you are saying, Who can do, who has ever done this? May God bring it to effect in your hearts! I know as well as you, there are but few who do it; great men are they and spiritual who do so. Are all the faithful in the Church who approach the altar, and take the Body and Blood of Christ, are they all such? And yet they all say, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. What, if God should answer them, Why do ye ask me to do what I have promised, when you do not what I have commanded? What have I promised? To forgive your debts. What have I commanded? That ye also forgive your debtors. How can you do this, if you do not love your enemies? 

 

What then must we do, brethren? Is the flock of Christ reduced to such a scanty number? If they only ought to say, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors, who love their enemies; I know not what to do, I know not what to say. For must I say to you, If you do not love your enemies, do not pray? I dare not say so; yea, pray rather that you may love them. But must I say to you, If you do not love your enemies, say not in the Lord's Prayer, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors? Suppose that I were to say, Do not use these words. If you do not, your debts are not forgiven; and if you do use them, and do not act thereafter, they are not forgiven. In order therefore that they may be forgiven, you must both use the prayer, and do thereafter.

 

I see some ground on which I may comfort not some few only, but the multitude of Christians: and I know that you are longing to hear it. Christ has said, Forgive, that you may be forgiven. And what do ye say in the Prayer which we have now been discussing? Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. So, Lord, forgive, as we forgive. This you say, O Father, which art in heaven, so forgive our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. For this ye ought to do, and if you do it not, you will perish. 

 

When your enemy asks pardon, at once forgive him. And is this much for you to do? Though it were much for you to love your enemy when violent against you, is it much to love a man who is a supplicant before you? What have you to say? He was before violent, and then you hated him. I had rather you had not hated him even then: I had rather then when you were suffering from his violence, you had remembered the Lord, saying, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. I would have then much wished that even at that time when your enemy was violent against you, you had had regard to the Lord your God speaking thus.

 

But perhaps you will say, He did it, but then He did it as being the Lord, as the Christ, as the Son of God, as the Only-Begotten, as the Word made flesh. But what can I, an infirm and sinful man, do? If your Lord be too high an example for you, turn your thoughts upon your fellow-servant. The holy Stephen was being stoned, and as they stoned him, on bended knees did he pray for his enemies, and say, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. They were casting stones, not asking pardon, yet did he pray for them. I would you were like him; reach forth. Why are you for ever trailing your heart along the earth? Hear, Lift up your heart, reach forward, love your enemies. If you can not love him in his violence, love him at least when he asks pardon. Love the man who says to you, Brother, I have sinned, forgive me. If you then forgive him not, I say not merely, that you dost blot this prayer out of your heart, but you shall be blotted yourself out of the book of God.

 

But if you then at least forgive him, or let go hatred from your heart, it is hatred from the heart I bid you forego, and not proper discipline. What if one who asks my pardon, be one who ought to be chastised by me! Do what you will, for I suppose that you love your child even when you chastise him. Thou regardest not his cries under the rod, because you are reserving for him his inheritance. This I say then, that you forego from your heart all hatred, when your enemy asks pardon of you.

 

But perhaps you will say, he is playing false, he is pretending. O you judge of another's heart, tell me your own father's thoughts, tell me your own thoughts yesterday. He asks and petitions for pardon; forgive, by all means forgive him. If you will not forgive him, it is yourself you hurt, not him, for he knows what he has to do. You are not willing to forgive your own fellow-servant; he will go then to your Lord, and say to Him, Lord, I have prayer my fellow-servant to forgive me, and he would not; do Thou forgive me. Hath not the Lord power to release his servant's debts? So he, having obtained pardon from his Lord, returns loosed, while you remain bound. How bound? The time of prayer will come, the time must come for you to say, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors; and the Lord will answer you, Thou wicked servant, when you owed Me so great a debt, you asked Me, and I forgave you; should not you also have had compassion on your fellow-servant, even as I had pity on you? These words are out of the Gospel, not of my own heart. But if on being asked, you shall forgive him who begs for pardon, then you can say this prayer. And if you have not as yet the strength to love him in his violence, still you may offer this prayer, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

 

Source: https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/160306.htm

 

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Thursday, May 23, 2024

St. Thomas Aquinas on the Lord’s Prayer.

Since St. Thomas Aquinas can be difficult to follow, his discussion of the Lord’s prayer will be slightly modified from the way it is presented by the Saint in his Summa Theologica

 

Matthew 6: 9-13; Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our supersubstantial bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

 

Luke 11: 2-4; And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.

 

Part One.

 

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

 

I answer that, The authority of Christ, who composed this prayer, suffices.

 

The Lord’s Prayer is most perfect, because, as Augustine says "if we pray rightly and fittingly, we can say nothing else but what is contained in this prayer of our Lord." For since prayer interprets our desires, as it were, before God, then alone is it right to ask for something in our prayers when it is right that we should desire it. Now in the Lord’s Prayer not only do we ask for all that we may rightly desire, but also in the order wherein we ought to desire them, so that this prayer not only teaches us to ask, but also directs all our affections.

 

  • The first two petitions: "Hallowed be Thy name" and "Thy kingdom come."

     

Thus it is evident that the first thing to be the object of our desire is the end, and afterwards whatever is directed to the end. Now our end is God towards Whom our affections tend in two ways: first, by our willing the glory of God, secondly, by willing to enjoy His glory. The first belongs to the love whereby we love God in Himself, while the second belongs to the love whereby we love ourselves in God. Wherefore the first petition is expressed thus: "Hallowed be Thy name," and the second thus: "Thy kingdom come," by which we ask to come to the glory of His kingdom. 

 

  • Petitions three and four: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" and "Give us this day our daily bread."

     

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

 

  • Petitions five, six and seven: "Forgive us our trespasses." and "And lead us not into temptation," and "Deliver us from evil."

     

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

 

Part Two.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Luke 11: 2-4; And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.

 

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

 

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

 

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


Source:

https://www.newadvent.org/summa/3083.htm#article9


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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

St. Alphonsus de Liguori on the Lord’s Prayer.

The Church militant regards herself as entirely composed of sinners; she thinks herself unworthy to call God her Father, and to address to him the seven petitions, which in the name of the faithful she is going to address to him by reciting the Pater noster, (“The Our Father”). Hence she protests that she only dares to address to God this prayer because God himself has commanded her to do so. She then teaches us that we may venture to present to God the seven petitions which contain the whole economy of our salvation, because it is pleasing to him and he himself gives us the command. 

 

We are so miserable, and our mind is so limited, that we do not even know what graces we should ask of God in behalf of our own salvation. Regarding our poverty and our insufficiency, Jesus Christ himself deigned to compose our prayer or to indicate the subjects on which we should address Almighty God. He instructs us to say:

 

Pater noster, qui es in coelis (“Our Father, who art in heaven). The Apostle St. John says: Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. It is assuredly only by the effect of extreme love that we worms of the earth have been enabled to become the children of God, not by nature, but by adoption; and such is the immense grace that the Son of God has obtained for us by becoming man; for St. Paul says: You have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry, Abba (Father). Can a subject wish for greater happiness than to be adopted by his king? Or a creature to be adopted by its Creator? This is what God has done for us; and he wishes that we should address to him with filial confidence the following prayer:

 

1. Sanctificetur nomem tuum (“Hallowed be Thy name”). God cannot possess a greater sanctity than that which he possesses from all eternity, because he is infinite; hence what we ask in this prayer is merely that God may make known in every place his holy name, and that he may make himself loved by all men: by unbelievers, who know him not; by heretics, who do not know him in the right manner; and by sinners, who know him but do not love him.

 

2. Adveniat regnum tuum (“Thy kingdom come’’)· Two kinds of dominion God exercises over our souls—the dominion of grace and the dominion of glory. By these words we ask for both, namely, that the grace of God may reign among us in this life, that it may direct and govern us, so that one day we may be judged worthy of glory, and may have the happiness to possess God and be possessed by him for all eternity.

 

3. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo, et in terra (“Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”). The whole perfection of a soul consists in the perfect accomplishment of the will of God, as is done by the blessed in heaven. Hence Jesus Christ wishes us to ask the grace to accomplish the will of God upon earth, as the angels and saints accomplish it in heaven.

 

4. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie (“Give us this day our daily bread”). Such is the text as we find it in St. Luke [Luke 11:3]. By this prayer we ask God for the temporal goods of which we stand in need to sustain our present life. The words “Our daily bread’’ teach us that we should ask for this kind of goods with moderation, after the example of Solomon, who asked only what was necessary: (Give me only the necessaries of life).

 

It is to be remarked that in the Gospel of St. Matthew [Matt. 6:11], instead of the daily bread, we read, Give us this day our supersubstantial bread. By this supersubstantial bread we must understand, according to the explanation given by the Roman catechism, Jesus Christ himself in the Sacrament of the Altar, that is, in Holy Communion. We ask this heavenly bread every day, Give us this day, because every good Christian should communicate every day, if not really at least spiritually, as we are exhorted by the Council of Trent.

 

5. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris (“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us”). To eat worthily of this heavenly bread, we must be free from mortal sin, or at least be washed of it by the blood of the Lamb in the sacrament of penance. We say, free from mortal sin; but it must be observed that if anyone should communicate with an actual affection for some venial sin, he could not be said to communicate without offering some indignity to our Lord—at least if he communicates often.

 

6. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem (“And lead us not into temptation”). How are these words to be understood? Does God sometimes tempt us—does he lead us into temptation? No; for St. James says: God is not a tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man. This text we must understand as we do that of Isaias: Blind the heart of this people . . . lest they see. God never blinds any sinner, but he often refuses to grant to some, in punishment for their ingratitude, the light that he would have given them had they remained faithful and grateful.

 

Hence when it is said that God makes any one blind, it is meant that he withholds the light of his grace. This, therefore is the sense of the prayer, and lead us not into temptation; we ask God not to permit us to have the misfortune of being in those occasions of sin in which we might fall. Hence we should always watch and pray as the Lord exhorts us to do, in order not to fall into temptation: Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. To enter into temptation means the same as to find one’s self in the danger of falling into sin; we should therefore often say to God, Lord, lead us not into temptation.

 

7. Sed libera nos a malo (“But deliver us from evil”). There are three kinds of evils from which we should ask the Lord to deliver us—the temporal evils of the body, the spiritual evils of the soul, and the eternal evils of the next life. As for the temporal evils of this life, we ought always to be disposed to receive with resignation those that God sends us for the good of our souls, such as poverty, sickness, and desolation; and when we ask God to deliver us from temporal evils we should always do so on condition that they are not necessary nor useful for our salvation.

 

But the true evils from which we should absolutely pray to be delivered are spiritual evils, sins, which are the cause of eternal evils. Moreover, let us be convinced of this infallible truth, that in the present state of corrupt nature we cannot be saved unless we pass through the many tribulations with which this life is filled: Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.

 

The priest finishes the Lord’s prayer with the word Amen, which he pronounces in a low voice, because he represents the person of Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of all the divine promises. This word is a summary of all the petitions that have been made—petitions the repetition of which pleases the Lord, for the more we pray to God the more he will hear our prayers. The great people of this world are not pleased when they are importuned by petitions; but this importunity is pleasing to God, says St. Jerome. Cornelius a Lapide even assures us that God wishes that we should persevere in this importunity in our prayers.


St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Mass – the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Alpha Editions, 2020, pp. 58-62.


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