PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section Two: The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”
§ 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’” (Luke 11:1). 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 (cf. Lk 11:2-4), while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions (cf. Matthew 6:9-13). 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” (Di 8, 2: SCh 248, 174). The Apostolic Constitutions add to the beginning: “the kingdom,” and this is the formula retained to our day in ecumenical prayer (“Apostolic Constitutions”, 7, 24, 1: PG 1, 1016). 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 (Titus 2:13; cf. “Roman Missal” 22, Embolism after the Lord’s Prayer). Then comes the assembly’s acclamation or the repetition of the doxology from the Apostolic Constitutions.
Article 1, “The Summary of the Whole Gospel”
§ 2761 The Lord’s Prayer “is truly the summary of the whole gospel” (DeO 1: PL 1, 1155). “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” (DeO 10: PL 1, 1165; cf. Lk 11:9).
Tomorrow – At the Center of the Scriptures
(Part IV, Section 2, Article 1 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
- “DeO” – Tertullian, “De Oratione [Prayer]”
- “Di” – “Didache (Teachings of the Twelve Apostles – c.50-120 A.D.)”
- “PG” – “Patrologia Graeca [Greek Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Greek language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1857‑1866 A.D.)
- “PL” – “Patrologia Latina [Latin Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Latin language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1841‑1855 A.D.)
- “SCh” – “Sources Chrétiennes [Christian Sources]” (Paris: 1942- )