PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section Two: The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”
Article 1, “The Summary of the Whole Gospel”
III. The Prayer of the Church (cont’d)
§ 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 [invocation of the Holy Spirit] 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 [the End-Times] 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” (1 John 3:2; cf. Colossians 3:4). The Eucharist and the Lord’s Prayer look eagerly for the Lord’s return, “until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
§ 2773 In response to His disciples’ request, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 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” (DeO 1: PL 1, 1251-1255), the “most perfect of prayers” (STh II-II, 83, 9). 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 [exemplary] 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).
Tomorrow – Article 2, “Our Father Who Art in Heaven”
(Part IV, Section 2 – 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]”
- “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.)
- “STh” – St. Thomas Aquinas, “Summa Theologiae [Summary of Theology]”