PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section Two: The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”
Article 3, The Seven Petitions (cont’d)
VII. “But Deliver Us from Evil”
§ 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” (John 17:15). 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 [God’s plan for the salvation of man]. Our interdependence in the drama of sin and death is turned into solidarity in the Body of Christ, the “communion of saints” (cf. RP 16).
§ 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” (Jn 8:44; Revelation 12:9). 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” (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 125). 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” (1 Jn 5:18-19).
- “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?’” (DeS 5, 4, 30: PL 16, 454; cf. Romans 8:31)
§ 2853 Victory over the “prince of this world” (Jn 14:30) 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” (Jn 12:31; Rev 12:10). “He pursued the woman” (Rev 12:13-16) 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” (Rev 12:17). Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:17, 20), 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” (Rev 1:8, 18; cf. Rev 1:4; Ephesians 1:10).
- “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” (Roman Missal, Embolism [Insertion] after the Lord’s Prayer, 126).
Tomorrow – Article 4, The Final Doxology & “the final” In Brief
(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]”
- “DeS” – St. Ambrose, “De Sacramentis [Of the Sacraments]”
- “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.)
- “RP” – Pope St. John Paul II (Dec 1984), “Reconciliatio et Paenitentia [Reconciliation and Penance]”