卷四主禱文/THE LORD'S PRAYER

 

主禱文:
「我們的天父」

2759. 「有一天,耶穌在一個地方祈禱,停止以後,祂的一個門徒對祂說:『主,請教給我們祈禱,如同若翰教給了他的門徒一樣』」(路 11:1 )。主答應這請求,就將這基督徒的基本祈禱傳授給祂的門徒及祂的教會。聖路加的記載較短,只有五個祈求。聖瑪竇的記載較長,共七個祈求。教會禮儀傳統一向採用聖瑪竇的版本。

我們的天父,願祢的名受顯揚,

願祢的國來臨,
願祢的旨意奉行在人間,如同在天上。求祢今天賞給我們日用的食糧,
求祢寬恕我們的罪過,

如同我們寬恕別人一樣。

不要讓我們陷於誘惑,

但救我們免於凶惡。

2760. 很早的教會禮儀以光榮頌結束主禱文。在《十二宗徒訓言》中,有「權威與光榮永歸於祢,萬世常存」這一句;《宗徒訓誨錄》在全句之前又加上「萬國」一詞,成為今日合一祈禱採用的經文。東方拜占廷傳統,在「永歸於祢」之後加上「父、子、聖神」。《羅馬彌撒經書》則以明確的遠景發揮最後一祈求:「期待著永生的幸福」(鐸 2:13)和救主耶穌的來臨,然後才是信眾歡呼,就是《宗徒訓誨錄》的光榮頌。

第一條

全部福音的撮要

2761. 「主禱文確實是全部福音的撮要」。「主給了我們這篇經文之後,接著說:『你們求,必要給你們』(路 11:9)。每人都可以向天主祈求各自的需要,但常應以主禱文開始,因為它是祈禱的基礎」。

一、聖經的中心

2762.聖奧思定先闡明聖詠給基督徒提供祈禱的主要養料,並與主禱文內的祈求匯合,然後說:
「你們可以讀遍聖經中所有祈禱經文,我不相信你們能找到主禱文中所沒有的東西」。

2763. 全部聖經 (包括法律書、先知書、聖詠集)在基督內都實現了。福音就是這「喜訊」。聖瑪竇福音的山中聖訓是首次宣講這「喜訊」的撮要。而主禱文是這宣講的中心。在此 背景下,主所留給我們這禱文的各項祈求變得清楚易明。

聖多瑪斯,《神學大全》:主禱文是諸禱文中最完美的。……我們在此禱文中不但祈求我們能正直無邪地所渴望的一切,且渴望的順序也很適當。可見主禱文不僅教我們祈求,也培育我們的情操。

2764. 山中聖訓是生活之道,主禱文是祈禱。在這二者之中,上主的神以新的方式推動我們內心的願望,這內在的推動,使我們的生活生氣勃勃。有關這新生活,耶穌以祂的說話訓示我們,並教導我們以祈禱求取新生活。我們在基督內的生活是否正直,全在於祈求的是否正當。

二、主的禱文

2765. 傳統上所用的「主禱文」(Oratio Dominica),意指主耶穌給我們教導和傳授的、向在天之父的祈禱經文。祂親授的這篇祈禱文確是獨一無二的:它是「主的」禱文。首先,禱文中的話是子受之於父而傳給我們的,所以,主耶穌是我們祈禱的導師。另一方面,降生成人的聖言在其人性的內心深知其人類兄弟姊妹的需要,並將這些啟示給我們,所以,祂是我們祈禱的模範。

2766. 然而,耶穌所傳授的不是一篇要我們機械地重複的禱詞。其實一切口禱,都是聖神以天主聖言教導天主子女向他們的天父祈禱。耶穌不但授給我們子女祈禱的用語,同時也賜給我們聖神;透過聖神,言語在我們身上就成了「神和生命」(若 6:63)。抑有甚者,証實我們能作出子女的祈禱,是因為父「派遣了祂兒子的聖神,在我們心裡喊說:『阿爸,父啊!』(迦 4:6)。我們的祈禱在天主前說明我們內心的願望,仍然是「那位洞悉心靈的」父,「祂知道聖神的意願是甚麼,因為祂是按照天主的旨意代聖徒轉求」(羅 8:27)。向天父的祈禱是納入於聖子及聖神的奧秘使命中的。

三、教會的祈禱

2767. 教會從起初就已接納並活出那密不可分的禮物,即天主聖言和在信友心中賜予生命的聖神。初期的信友團體「每日三次」以主禱文祈禱,取代猶太人祈禱慣用的「十八端祝福」。

2768.按照宗徒傳統,主禱文本質上紮根於禮儀祈禱中。
金口聖若望,《瑪竇福音講道集》:主教導我們一起為所有弟兄祈禱;祂沒有說「我的天父」,而說「我們的」天父。祂教我們一心一德為整個教會團體祈禱。
在所有禮儀傳統中,主禱文都是日課主要時辰的構成部分。在入門聖事中,主禱文的教會性質更特別突出:

2769. 在聖洗堅振聖事中 ,主禱文的「授予」(traditio),意味著領洗者再生而獲得天主的生命。既然基督信友以天主聖言向天主訴說,那末「賴天主的聖言而重生的人」(伯前 1:23),就學習以天父必會垂允的唯一聖言呼求祂。他們從此能夠這樣祈求,因為聖神傅油的印記,已不可磨滅地印在他們的心上、耳上和嘴唇上,在他們身為天主子女的整個存有上。為此緣故,教父詮解主禱文,大都是以慕道者及新信友為對象。教會誦唸主禱文時,常是「重生」的天主子民在祈禱並獲得憐憫。

2770. 在感恩祭中,主禱文顯示為整個教會的祈禱,這顯出它圓滿的意義及效能。它安置在感恩經及領聖體之間,一方面綜合呼求聖神禱詞所表達的一切需要及轉求,另一方面,敲響天宴之門,而領聖體就是預先品嘗此盛宴。

2771. 主禱文在感恩祭中也顯示其祈求的末世性。它是典型的「末期」禱文,也是救恩時期的典型祈禱,這救恩的時期始於聖神降臨,並將於主的再臨時完成。主禱文與舊約時代的祈禱不同,因為所祈求的一切是以已實現的救贖奧跡為基礎,就是在死而復活的基督內,一次而永遠完成的救恩。

2772. 從這樣堅定的信德中,湧出熱切的望德,而激起主禱文的七個祈求。這七個祈求反映著現世的嘆息、忍耐與期待,因為在此時期,「我們將來如何,還沒有顯明」(若一 3:2)。在感恩祭和主禱文中,我們都翹首以待,期望著主的來臨,「的確,直到主的再來!」(格前 11:26)。

撮要
2773.回應門徒的要求──「主,教我們祈禱吧!」(路 11:1)──耶穌就傳授他們「我們的天父」這篇基本的基督徒祈禱文。
2774.「主禱文確實是全部福音的撮要」,「諸禱文中最完美的」。它是聖經的中心。
2775.這篇禱文被稱為「主禱文」,因為它來自我們祈禱的導師和模範──主耶穌。

2776. 主禱文是教會最卓越的祈禱,它是日課主要時辰、及基督徒入門聖事── 聖洗、堅振、感恩(聖體)聖事──的組成部分。它被納入於感恩祭內,顯示出其各項祈求的「末世」特徵,對主的期盼,「直到祂再度來臨」(格前 11:26)。

第二條

「我們的天父」
一、「滿懷信賴,敢到父前」

2777. 在羅馬禮儀中,教會邀請參加感恩祭的信友,懷著子女信賴之心,祈求我們的天父;東方諸禮使用並發展了類似的表達方式:「以完全的信賴膽敢」,「求賜我們堪當」。在焚而不毀的荊棘前,梅瑟聽到命令:「不可到這裡來!將你腳上的鞋脫下」(出 3:5)。天主聖德之門檻,只有耶穌能跨越:祂「在滌除了罪惡之後」(希 1:3),帶領我們到天父面前說:「看,我和祢所賞給我的孩子們」(希 2:13)。

金言聖伯多祿,《講道集》:意識到自己身為奴僕的境況,本應使我們覺得該鑽入地下,身處的塵世也該化為塵埃,但我們天父的權威和祂聖子之神,催迫我們喊說:『 阿爸,父啊!』(羅 8:15)除非人心深處受到來自上天德能的推動,一個軟弱有死的人,何時才敢稱天主為父呢?

2778. 東西方的教會禮儀,都以一個典型基督徒的美麗詞語 (parrhesia),來表達聖神引領我們使用主禱文的此種德能。這詞的含意是:純樸而率直,子女般的信賴,喜樂的信心,謙遜的大膽,深知被愛。

二、「父!」

2779. 「父」是主禱文首先發出的呼聲。然而,若要這呼聲化為我們的心聲,必須首先謙虛地淨化我們的心,揚棄此塵世的一些假象。謙虛之心使我們承認「除了子和子所願意啟示的人」,即「弱小者,沒有人認識父」 (瑪 11:25-27)。心的淨化涉及我們的「父」「母」形象,此形象出自我們的文化及個人的歷史背景,並影響我們同天主的關係。天主、我們的父,超越受造世界的範疇。借用塵世的觀念放在天主身上,或者用來反對祂,等於製造偶像來朝拜或推翻。向天父祈禱在於進入祂的奧秘,如其所是,就如子給我們啟示的。

戴都良,《論祈禱》:「天主父」這一稱呼,以前從未向任何人啟示過。當梅瑟親自問天主祂是誰時,他聽到的是另一個名字。「父」這名字是在子內啟示了給我們,這是父的新名字。

2780.現在我們可以呼求天主為「父」,因為祂藉降生成人的聖子,啟示給我們了,祂的聖神也引領我們認識祂。子對父的位際關係是人不能設想,大能的天使也無法窺測的。然而,聖子之神卻使我們能分享這位際關係,就是使我們這些相信耶穌是基督、而我們是由天主所生的人分享這關係。

2781. 我們向父祈禱時, 就是與祂共融, 也與祂的子耶 穌基督共融。所以我們是在一種常新的讚歎中認識祂,承認祂。主禱文的第一句是頌謝和朝拜,然後才是懇求。因為我們承認祂是真天主,是「父」,這就是祂的光榮。我們感謝祂給我們啟示了祂的名,使我們得以堅信祂並獲得祂臨在我們心中的恩賜。

2782. 我們能夠朝拜父,因為祂使我們在祂的獨生子內重生,而獲得祂的生命,祂收養我們在祂的獨生子內,做祂的子女:就是以聖洗聖事使我們成為基督的肢體,並以聖神的傅油,從「頭」灌注「肢體」中,使我們也成為「基督」(受傅者):

聖濟利祿•耶路撒冷,《釋奧期的教理講授》:實際上,天主預定收養我們為子女,塑造我們肖似基督光榮的身體;所以,從此以後,你們已加入基督成為肢體,名正言順地被稱為「基督」。

聖西彼廉,《論主禱文》:藉恩寵重生而回歸於天主的新人,首先喊說「父啊!」,因為他已成為兒子。
2783.如此,透過主禱文,天父向我們啟示祂的同時,也給我們揭示我們的真面 貌:

聖安博,《論聖事》:人啊!過去你不敢抬頭望天,而雙目向地。忽然獲得基督的恩寵,所有罪過都蒙赦免。原來是壞傭僕,如今成為好兒子……舉目向天父吧,祂藉著子救贖了你,你要說:「我們的父……」但是你不要求得任何特權。祂以特別的方式,是唯一基督的唯一父親,至於我們,卻是祂所造的。故此,你也可以憑藉恩寵說:「我們的父」,是為求得做祂的子女。

2784.天主無條件地收養我們為子女的這恩惠,要求我們不斷悔改和度新的生 活。向天父祈禱應在我們內培養兩種基本心態:
渴望並決意學習肖似祂。按照祂的肖象而受造的我們,是通過恩寵使我們再相似祂,我們應該對此作出回應。
止就應該相稱天主子女的身分。
金口聖若望,《論窄門及主禱文的講道》:冷酷而不仁之心無權稱至慈善的天主為父,因為你的心已失去了天父慈愛的標記。
聖額我略•尼撒,《主禱文的道理》:應該常常瞻仰天主的美善,讓我們的心靈浸淫其中。
2785.一個謙虛信賴的心使我們成為「如同小孩子一樣」(瑪 18:3);因為,天父樂意將自己啟示給「小孩子」(瑪 11:25):

聖若望•加祥,《會談集》:[祈禱]是對天主的注視,祂是偉大的愛火。靈魂融化於愛火中,浸入於聖愛深處,並與天主交談,猶如子女和親生父親,親如一家,充滿溫馨孺慕之情。

聖奧思定,《論山中聖訓》:「我們的父」這一稱呼,常會在祈禱中,使我們同時激發熱愛、深情,以及希望獲得我們所祈求的。祂既願意我們做祂的子女,怎麼會拒絕子女的祈求呢?

三、「我們的」父

2786.「我們的」父是對天主而言。此形容詞,對我們來說,並不表示我們擁有父,而是指出我們和天主之間的嶄新關係。

2787. 當我們說「我們的」父,就是首先承認,先知們預告天主因愛人而作出的承諾,已在基督新而永久的盟約內完全實現:現在我們已成為「祂的」子民,從此以後,祂是「我們的」天主。如此的新關係,是無條件施予的彼此從屬關係:我們應以愛情及忠誠,回應我們在基督內所得的「恩寵和真理」(若 1:17)。

2788. 由於主禱文是天主子民「末期」的禱文,「我們的」這一詞,也在表達我們寄望於天主的最後承諾,是確切可靠的:在新的耶路撒冷,祂將給勝利者宣布:「我要作他的天主,他要作我的兒子」(默 21:7)。

2789. 向「我們的」父祈禱,就是親自向我們主耶穌基督之父講話。我們並非將天主性分開,因為父是天主性的「本原」,而是我們承認於無始之始,子是由父所生,聖神自父而發。我們更不混淆天主的各個位格,因為我們宣認我們是在父子的唯一聖神內與父及子共融。至聖聖三是同性同體而不可分的,當我們向聖父祈禱時,就是偕同子和聖神朝拜祂、光榮祂。

2790. 在語法上,「我們的」這個形容詞,指多數人共有的事物。天主只有一個,凡信仰唯一聖子以水及聖神再生於祂的人,都認天主為父。教會就是天主與人之間新的共融:教會與唯一的子──「眾多弟兄中的長子」(羅 8:29)合而為一,她就和同一的父在同一的聖神內共融。向「我們的」父祈禱的信友,常是在此共融內的祈禱:因為「眾信友都是一心一意」(宗 4:32)。

2791. 因此,雖然基督徒之間有分歧,但向「我們的」父的祈禱,仍然是領洗者的共享的產業,也是一項為所有領洗者的緊急號召。所有藉信仰基督並藉洗禮而共融的基督徒,都應參與基督為門徒合一的祈禱。

2792. 最後,如果我們真誠地誦唸「我們的天父」,就能走出個人主義,因為我們所接受的愛,能從中解放我們。主禱文以「我們的」一詞開始,一如後面的四個祈求中的「我們」,不排斥任何人。為了確實真誠地誦唸主禱文,我們必須克服彼此的分歧與對立。

2793. 所有已領洗者,如果在天父台前不紀念其他的人──天主也曾為他們賜下了祂的愛子,就不能唸「我們的」天父。天父的愛沒有界限,我們的祈禱也應該如此。唸「我們的」天父使我們在基督內所顯示的愛的幅度敞開:就是伴同所有尚未認識天父的人祈禱並為他們代禱,使他們得以「聚集歸一」 (若 11:52)。天主關懷眾人及所有受造物,此種關懷曾經激勵那些偉大的祈禱者:每當我們敢說「我們的」天父時,應該以愛的心胸去擴展我們的祈禱。

四、「祢在天上」

2794. 這聖經用詞,並非指「空間」或「地方」,是指存有的方式;並不意味著天主的「遠」,而是天主的尊威。我們的父不在「別處」,祂「超越」我們關於祂的神聖性所能想像的一切。就是因為祂極度的神聖,祂特別親近謙虛痛悔的心:

聖奧思定,《論山中聖訓》:「我們的天父」這一句中的「天」,有理由將之理解為義人之心。天主居住在義人心內,猶如居住在殿堂內;因此,祈禱者也渴望他所呼求的天主,居住在他心中。

聖濟利祿•耶路撒冷,《釋奧期的教理講授》:「天」也可理解為胸懷天上世界的人們,天主就居住在他們內,並在他們內優游自得。

2795. 當我們祈求天父時,天的象徵使我們想起生活的盟約奧跡。祂在天上,這是祂的住所;父家是我們的「家鄉」。這就是盟約之地,而罪使我們與之遠離,是悔改之心促使我們歸向天上,歸向天父。現在是在基督內,天地之間和好了,因為聖子獨自「自天降下」,以十字架、復活、升天,帶領我們與祂一起返回天鄉。

2796. 教會在誦唸「我們的天父」時,宣認我們是天主的子民,已經「在基督耶穌內坐在天上」(弗 2:6),偕同基督「藏在天主內」(哥 3:3);同時「我們在此嘆息,切望住進那屬天上的住所」(格後 5:2):

天鄉的公民。 撮要
2797.誦唸「我們的天父」的適當態度是:純樸忠誠的信賴,謙虛而愉快的確信。
2798.我們之所以能夠呼天主為「父」,是因為降生成人的聖子給我們這樣啟示了;藉著聖洗使我們加入祂的身體,並被接納為天主的子女。
2799.主禱文使我們和天主父及其聖子、耶穌基督共融,同時也給我們揭示我們的真面貌。
2800.誦唸「我們的天父」時,應激發我們要肖似祂的決心,並培育一顆謙虛信賴的心。
2801.誦唸「我們的」天父時,我們重申在耶穌基督內的新盟約、與至聖聖三的共融,和天主通過教會而懷抱世界的慈愛。
2802.「在天上」這句話並非指某個地方,而是指天主的尊威及祂在義人心裡的臨在。天是父的居所、我們真正的家鄉、我們的歸向,我們已屬於它。第三條

七個祈求

 

2803. 主禱文先讓我們在天主、我們的父面前,朝拜祂、敬愛祂、讚頌祂。然後,孝愛之神啟發我們,從心中發出七項祈求、七項祝頌。前三項更指向天主,導引我們嚮往父的光榮;後四項猶如四條通往父的道路,將我們的可憐境遇,呈獻在祂的恩寵前:「深淵與深淵和唱」(詠 42:8)。

2804. 第一組祈求帶領我們朝向祂,並為祂而求:祢的名、祢的國、祢的旨意!愛的特性就是先想到我們所愛的那一位。前三項祈求完全不提及我們自己,但是,我們的心被祂的「鍾愛之子」,為了天父的光榮而有的那分熱切的「渴望」,甚至「焦慮」所佔有:「願……受顯揚,……來臨,…… 承行」,此三項懇求,在救主基督的祭獻中已蒙垂允;但是仍在希望中期待著最後圓滿的來臨,直到「天主成為萬物中的萬有」。

2805. 第二組祈求,在感恩祭一些呼求聖神禱詞中展開:這些祈求呈上我們的期望,引起慈悲之父的憐視。這些祈求自我們心中湧出,涉及我們此世目前的狀況:「賞賜我們……,寬恕我們……,勿讓我們……,解救我我就是祈禱的戰鬥。

2806. 前三項祈求,使我們懷有堅定的信德,殷切的望德,熱烈的愛德。我們作為受造物,而且是罪人,理應為我們自己祈求。我們把受限於世界及歷史的「我們」,呈獻於無限慈愛的天父,因為天父的救恩計劃,為拯救我們及全世界的計劃,是因著耶穌基督之名,及透過聖神的統治而實現。

一、「願祢的名受顯揚 (尊為聖)」

2807. 「聖化」這個詞的意思,在此並不側重於聖化的主因(只有天主能夠聖化,使之聖化),而是側重內心的尊敬對待:承認天主之名的神聖性,以神聖的方式對待它。如此,在朝拜中呼求天主的聖名,有時也可視為讚頌和感恩。但是耶穌教導我們的這項祈求,則有祝願的含意:是一項祈求、一個願望,也是一個期待,在此祈求中天主與人牽連在一起。從我們向天父呈上第一項祈求之時起,我們就已沉浸在祂天主性的奧秘和人類救恩的計劃中。向天父祈求,祝願祂的名受顯揚,帶領我們進入「祂在愛子內所預定的計劃」, 為使「我們在祂面前成為聖潔無瑕疵的」。

2808. 天主在救恩工程的任何決定性時刻,都顯示自己的名字,但祂總是以完成自己的工程來顯示祂的名。 可是,除非祂的聖名透過我們並在我們身上受顯揚,祂的工程便不能在我們身上實現。

2809. 天主的聖德是祂永恆奧秘不可接近的核心,由之顯示在創造和歷史中的,聖經稱之為光榮、天主尊威的光 耀。天主「照自己的肖象,按自己的模樣」造人(創 1:26),又以「光榮給他作冠冕」(詠 8:6)。可是人犯罪,「失掉了天主的光榮」(羅 3:23)。從此以後,天主就以啟示和賜給世人祂名字的做法,來顯示祂的神聖性,為使人能「照創造他者的肖象」而更新(哥 3:10)。

2810. 天主給亞巴郎許諾並附以誓言時 祂以自身為擔保,但是沒有啟示自己的名。天主對梅瑟才開始啟示祂的名,是祂在從埃及拯救出來的全體以色列子民之前啟示的:「祂滿身披著光榮」(出 15:1)。從西乃山的盟約開始,以色列子民是「屬於祂的」,並應是「聖潔的民族」(或被祝聖的,因為希伯來的聖與被祝聖是同一個字),因為天主的名居留在他們中間。

2811. 可是,儘管至聖天主一再賜給他們神聖的法律:「你們應該是聖的,因為我,上主,你們的天主,是聖的」(肋 19:2),同時祂也「為了自己名字的緣故」以耐心對待他們,他們還是背離以色列的聖者,並「在異民中褻瀆祂的聖名」。為此,舊約時代的義人,從流徙回國的窮苦人和先知們,都燃起對祂聖名的愛火。

2812. 最後,至聖天主的聖名,是在降生成人的救主耶穌身上啟示給我們並賜給祝聖」(若 17:19)。因為天主「祝聖」祂自己的名,而使耶穌把父的名「顯示」給我們(若 17:6)。在耶穌逾越的終點,父給了他一個超越一切名號的名號:耶穌是主,以光榮天主聖父。

2813. 我們在聖洗的水中,「因主耶穌基督之名,並因我們天主的聖神,已經淨化、聖化、成了義人」(格前 6:11)。在整個人生旅程中,「我們的父召叫我們成聖」(得前 4:7)。我們既是「由於天主得以結合在耶穌基督內,而基督成了我們的聖化者」(格前 1:30),那麼,天主聖名在我們身上並藉著我們受顯揚,就和祂的光榮以及我們的生命密切相關。主禱文第一項祈求的迫切性就在於此。

聖西彼廉,《論主禱文》:只有天主能聖化,那末誰能聖化天主呢?但因經上這句話的啟發:「你們於我應該是聖的,因為上主我是聖的」(肋 20:26),我們祈求天主賜給我們

恆心,使我們不斷活出在洗禮中已獲得的聖化大恩。我們每天為此祈求,因為我們天天有過犯,需要以不斷的聖化洗滌一切罪過……。我們求助於祈禱,祈求聖德常存於我們內。

2814.天主之名在萬邦中受顯揚,和我們的生活祈禱密切相關,無法分開:

金言聖伯多祿,《講道集》:我們祈求天主使祂的聖名受顯揚,因為天主是藉祂的聖德而拯救、並聖化整個受造界……。祂的名將救恩賜給墮落的世界,我們祈求祂這聖名因 我們的生活我們的生活而在我們身上受到顯揚。因為 我們生活得聖善,天主的名就受頌揚;我們生活得不善,天主的名受褻瀆。保祿宗徒說過:「天主的名在異民中因你們的緣故受了褻瀆」(羅 2:24;則 36:20-22)。所以,我們求天主,使我們在靈魂上堪獲同樣的聖德,就如「天主之名是聖的」那樣。

戴都良,《論祈禱》:當我們祈求「祢的名受顯揚」時,是希望祂的名在我們身 上受顯揚,在別人身上受顯揚。我們已經在祂內,但還有人尚未在祂內,天主恩寵正等待著他們。我們必須遵照祂的命令,為眾人祈禱為眾人祈禱為眾人祈禱;包括與為敵的仇人。因此我們祈求,願祂的名在眾人身上受顯揚,而不明地說:願祢的名在「我們身上」受顯揚。

2815. 這項祈求包括其他六項,並和其他祈求一樣,已藉基督的祈禱獲得垂允。因為,如果我們因耶穌之名向父祈禱,此祈禱就是我們的祈禱。耶穌在大司祭禱詞中求天父說:「聖父啊!求祢因祢的名,保全那些祢所賜給我的人」(若 17:11)。

二、「願祢的國來臨」

2816. 在新約中,Basileia一詞可譯為「王權」(抽象名詞)、「王國」(具體名詞)、「統治」(行動名詞)。天主的國在我們以前已存在,在降生成人的聖言內接近我們,藉福音而傳布,在基督的死和復活中已來到。天主的國從最後晚餐就已來臨,並在感恩祭裡臨於我們中間。最後,天國將在光榮中來臨,那時基督要將它歸還聖父:

聖西彼廉,《論主禱文》:甚至天主的國可指基督本身。我們天天呼求祂,仰望祂的來臨,急切期待希望的實現。基督是我們的復活,因為我們在祂內復活;祂也能是天主的國,因為我們將在祂身上實行統治。

2817.此項祈求就是 «Marana tha»,聖神與「新娘」同聲呼喊:「主耶穌,來吧」:

戴都良,《論祈禱》:縱使主禱文沒有說明祈求天國的來臨是一種義務,我們仍然會自動地呼喊,急切地期待我們的希望得以早日實現。殉道者的靈魂在祭台下大聲呼喊說:「聖潔而真實的主啊,祢不行審判,不向世上的居民為我們的血伸冤,要到幾時呢?」 (默 6:10)時間的終結一到,他們一定會獲得正義。主!求祢使天國早日來臨。

2818. 在主禱文中,主要是期盼透過基督的再度來臨,完成天主國的最後來臨。但是,此種期盼並不會使教會疏其在現世的使命;反而使其更投入。 因為自聖神降臨以來,天國的來臨乃是上主之神的事:「聖神在人間繼續完成祂的事業,並聖化一切」 。

2819. 「天國在於義德、平安,以及在聖神內的喜樂」(羅 14:17)。我們所生活的這末世時期,是聖神傾注的時期。從此,在「血肉」與聖神之間,進行著一場決定性的戰鬥:

聖濟利祿•耶路撒冷 ,《釋奧期的教理講授》:只有純潔的心才能堅定地說:「願祢的國來臨」。我們必須先向保祿學習說:「不要讓罪惡在你們必死的身體上為王」(羅 6:12)。凡思、言、行為上保持潔淨的人,才可以向天主說:「願祢的國來臨」。

2820. 基督徒依從聖神而作辨別時,應認清天國的成長與我們投身其中的社會及文化的進步,是兩回事。然而,此分別並非把兩者分開。人邁向永生的召叫不但沒有撤銷,反而加強其[現世]義務:善用造物主所賜的才能與方法,在此世為正義與和平服務。

2821.主禱文的這一項祈求,被納入於耶穌的祈禱中,而且已得蒙垂允,用在感恩祭中並產生實效;在遵守真福八端的新生活中結出果實。

三、「願祢祢的旨意奉行在人間,如同在天上」

2822. 我們天父的旨意是要「所有的人都得救,並得以認識真理」 (弟前 2:3-4)。「祂對你們含忍,不願任何人喪亡」(伯後 3:9)祂的那條誡命,即綜合一切其他誡命,並為我們宣示祂全部旨意的誡命就是:「你們應當彼此相親相愛,如同我愛了你們」(若 13:34)。

2823. 「祂已使我們知道,祂旨意的奧秘是全照祂在愛子內所預定愛的計劃……,使天上和地上的萬有總歸於基督元首。我們也是在基督內得作天主的產業,因為我們是由那位按照自己旨意的計劃施行萬事者早預定了的」(弗 1:9-11)。因此,我們懇切祈求這愛的計劃圓滿地在地上實現,如同在天上一樣。

2824. 基督因祂的人性意志,一次而為永遠、圓滿地實現了父的旨意。耶穌進入人世時,就對父說:「天主,我來為承行祢的旨意」(希 10:7;詠 40:7)。只有耶穌能說:「我常作祂喜悅的事」(若 8:29)。在山園祈禱中,祂完全服從父的意願:「不要隨我的意願,唯照祢的意願成就罷」(路 22:42)。為了這個緣故,「基督按照天主的旨意,為我們的罪而交付了自己」(迦 1:4)。「我們就是因這旨意,藉耶穌基督的身體的祭獻,得到了聖化」(希 10:10)。

2825. 耶穌,「雖然是天主子,卻由所受的苦難,學習了服從」(希 5:8)。我們乃受造物,又是罪人,既已在基督內成為嗣子,更應學習服從。我們祈求天父,以我們的意願結合於祂聖子的意願,以奉行父的旨意、即祂使世人獲得永生的救恩計劃。我們本身無此能力,但與耶穌合而為一,並藉聖神的德能,我們就能交出我們的自由意志,放在祂的手中,並能決定選擇祂聖子所常選擇的:做父所喜歡的事。

奧利振,《論祈禱》:我們依附基督,就能同祂心神合一,從而實現祂的旨意;如此,祂的旨意將圓滿實現在人間,如同在天上。

金口聖若望,《瑪竇福音講道集》:請你們想一想,耶穌基督怎樣教我們謙遜。祂要我們知道,修德不僅有賴於我們的努力,更要依靠天主的恩寵。在此,祂命令每一位信友要為普世祈禱;因為祂不說:「願祢的旨意奉行在我或你們身上」,卻說:「在普世人間」:使人間清除謬誤,使真理盛行,使惡習革除,使美德興旺,使塵世不再異於天鄉。

2826. 藉著祈禱,我們才能「辨認甚麼是天主的旨意」(羅 12:2;弗 5:17),和「獲得承行天主聖意的恆心」(希 10:36)。 耶穌教導我們,進入天國不靠空話,而靠「承行我在天之父的旨意」(瑪 7:21)。

2827. 「天主俯聽承行祂旨意的人」(若 9:31)。這正是教會因上主的名祈禱的力量,尤見於感恩祭;教會的祈禱是與至聖天主之母以及諸聖代禱的共融,他們只求承行天主的聖意,因而曾博得主的歡心:

聖奧思定,《論山中聖訓》:我們可以不損真理而把「願祢的旨意奉行在人間如同在天上」,譯成「在教會內如同在我們的主耶穌基督內;在已許配給基督的新娘 (教會)身上,如同在已完成天父旨意的新郎身上」。

四、「求祢今天賞給我們日用的食糧」」

2828. 「賞給我們」是兒女信賴父親的口吻,是很美的表達,因他們期待天父賜給他們一切。「祂使太陽上升光照惡人,也光照善人,降雨給義人,也給不義的人」(瑪 5:45);祂給芸芸眾生「按時分配飲食」 (詠 104:27)。耶穌教給我們這項祈求,因為此祈求光榮我們的父,承認祂的美善遠超任何美善之上。

2829. 「賞給我們」也是盟約的表示:我們是祂的,祂是我們的,也是為我們的。「我們」這詞使我們承認祂是眾人之父,我們也為眾人祈求父,因為他們的需求和痛苦與我們息息相關。

2830. 「我們的食糧」:父既然賦予我們生命,不會不給我們為生活必需的食糧,以及其他一切「適當的」物質和精神的財富。耶穌在山中聖訓中,強調應以子女般的信賴,與我們在天之父的眷顧合作。祂一點也不讓我們陷於被動;而是要我們解脫一切的焦慮不安和操心煩勞。這就是天主子女完全交付的心態:

聖西彼廉,《論主禱文》:誰若追求天主之國和祂的正義,祂承諾會另外加給一切。事實上,萬物都屬於天主:誰擁有天主,甚麼都有,只要天主擁有他。

2831. 可是世上常有缺乏食物而忍受飢餓的人,這就反映出此項祈求的另一層深刻意義。人類的饑餓喚醒真心誠意祈禱的基督信徒,無論在其個人的態度方面,或就其為人類大家庭的一分子來說,他們都應承擔起對弟兄們的實際責任。此項祈求不可與貧窮的拉匝祿和最後審判的比喻脫節。

2832. 猶如酵母在麵團中,天國的新意該在於憑著基督之神提昇大地。此創新,無論在個人及社會的關係上,或經濟及國際間的關係上,都應藉著建立正義的秩序而彰顯出來,切勿忘記,除非先有決心成為正義的人,不可能有正義的社會結構。

2833. 「我們的」食糧,意味著「一個」麵包是為「眾人的」。真福八端的神貧正是分享的美德:它要求我們出於愛心,而不是出於勉強,來互通並分享我們所有精神的及物質的財富。這樣,富有者就可彌補貧乏者的不足。

2834.「你要祈禱和勞作」。 「你們要祈禱,就如一切全靠天主;你們要勞作,就如一切全靠自己」。做好我們的工作,食物仍然是我們天父的恩賜;最好以感恩之心向祂祈求。在基督信友家中,飯前飯後的祝謝經的意義就在於此。

3835. 此外,這項祈求和與此有關的責任,也適用於另一種使人喪亡的飢餓:「人不單靠食物生活,也靠上主口中所發的一切言語」(申 8:3;瑪 4:4),就是天主的聖言和祂的聖神。基督徒應當全力以赴,「向窮苦人宣講福音」。世界上有一種飢餓,「並非無食物的飢餓及無水的口渴,而是要聽天主言語的飢渴」(亞 8:11)。可見為基督徒而言,主禱文的第四祈求,是指生命之糧:應以信德聆聽天主的聖言,在感恩祭中領受基督的聖體。

2836. 「今天」也是一種信賴的表達。這是主教導的,不是我們膽敢想出來的。既然這特別涉及天主的聖言和基督的聖體,此「今天」就不僅指轉瞬即逝的今天,而更是「天主的今天」。

聖安博,《論聖事》:如果你每天領受「食糧」,每天就是你的「今天」;如果基督今天屬於你,基督就每天為你復活。怎能如此?「你是我的兒子,我今日生了你」(詠 2:7)。因此,今天即基督復活之時。

2837. 「日用的」(epiousios)一詞在新約裡沒有在別處使用。從時間方面來說,這詞是「今天」的教學法上的重述,為使我們能堅定於「毫無保留」的信賴中。從質的一方面來說,這詞是指生活上的必需,或就更廣的意義來說,則指為生存所需要的一切照字面來解釋,是「超越本質」,直接指生命之糧,基督的身體,「常生的良藥」,沒有此靈藥,我們就沒有生命。最後,綜合上述,其屬於天上的意義是很明顯的:「這一天」,是指主的日子,天國筵席的日子,它提早實現在感恩祭中。感恩聖筵是未來天國盛宴的預嘗。因此,「每天」舉行感恩祭禮儀是適當的。

聖奧思定,《講道集》:聖體是我們的日用糧。此神糧的固有能力是一種團結力,它使我們與救主的身體結合而成為祂的肢體,使我們變成我們所領的基督身體。 ……日用糧也指你們在教會內每天所聆聽的讀經,所唱的聖歌。這一切為我們的朝聖旅程都是必需的。

在天之父勸勉我們以天上子女的身分,要求天上的食糧。基督「自己是食糧,被播種在童貞之胎,在肉軀內孕育,在苦難中被揉搓,在爐火似的墳墓中被烘烤,而庫存在教會內,供在祭台上,每天為信友提供天上之糧」。

五、「求祢寬恕我們的罪過,如同我們寬恕別人一樣」

2838. 這一祈求使人驚訝。假如這一祈求只限於「求祢寬恕我們的罪過」,似乎已隱約地包含在主禱文的前三項祈求中;因為基督的祭獻就是「為赦免罪過」。但我們祈求之獲垂允,要以實現第二短句的條件為前提。我們的祈求指向未來,但在祈求前我們應有所回應;這兩個句子是用「如同」連接起來。

「寬恕我們的罪過」 

2839. 藉著大膽的信賴,我們開始向天父祈禱。在求祂的名受顯揚時,我們也求祂日益聖化我們。可是,在穿上洗禮的白衣後,我們仍不斷地犯罪遠離天主。如今在此新祈求中,猶如浪子回歸父家;在祂面前,猶如稅吏,自認為罪人。我們的祈求是以「認罪」開始,同時承認我們的悲慘和天主的慈愛。我們的望德是堅定的,因為在祂聖子內「我們獲得了救贖和罪過的赦免」(弗 1:7;哥 1:14)。祂教會的各種聖事,都標誌著祂的寬恕是有效的和不容置疑的。

2840. 可是,令人生畏的是,要天主的慈悲進入我們心中,就必先以我們寬恕得罪我們的人為條件。就像基督的身體一樣,愛是不可分割的。如果我們不愛我們看得見的兄弟姊妹,我們就不能愛看不見的天主。如果我們拒絕寬恕兄弟姊妹,我們的心扉就緊閉起來。這心硬將使天父的慈愛滲透不進來。唯有坦誠認罪,才能對天主的恩寵敞開心胸。

2841. 此項要求如此重要,致使主基督只重複提到此唯一要求,且在山中聖訓中加以發揮。這項盟約奧跡的決定性的要求,為人是不可能的,但「為天主,一切都是可能的」(瑪 19:26)。

「如同我們寬恕別人一樣」

2842. 「如同……一樣」,不止一次出現在耶穌的訓誨中:「你們應當是成全的,如同你們的天父是成全的一樣」(瑪 5:48)。「你們應當慈悲,就像你們的父那樣慈悲」(路 6:36)。「我給你們一條新命令,你們該彼此相愛;如同我愛了你們;你們也該照樣彼此相愛」(若 13:34)。遵守主的誡命,若是僅從外表仿效祂的表率,那是做不到的;關鍵在於「從內心深處」,並在生活層面上分享天主的聖德、慈悲和愛。唯獨聖神、「我們的生命」,能將耶穌基督所懷有的心情,轉化成為我們的心情。這樣,寬恕的統合就成為可能:「我們互相寬恕,如同天主在基督內寬恕了我們一樣」(弗 4:32)。

2843. 這樣,主有關寬恕的言論就活了起來, 此種寬恕是愛到底的「愛」。冷酷無情僕人的比喻,是主有關教會共融的訓誨的頂峰,其結論是:「如果你們不從心裡寬恕自己的弟兄,我的天父也要這樣對待你們」。 其實一切「結」與「解」都發生在「深處」。對別人的冒犯,不再耿耿於懷或完全忘記,都不是我們能做得到的事;但是,如果把心獻給聖神,則可把傷害轉為同情,把冒犯化為代禱,藉以淨化記憶。

2844. 基督徒的祈禱要達到寬恕仇人的境界。祈禱轉化門徒,使他肖似自己的導師。寬恕是基督徒祈禱的高峰;唯有與天主慈悲相合的心,才能夠接受祈禱之恩。寬恕也証實, 在這世界上,愛比罪更強大有力。昔日與今日的殉道者,都為耶穌的寬恕作見証。寬恕是天主子女和天父之間,人與人之間和好的基本條件。

2845. 寬恕在本質上是屬於天主的,沒有限制和沒有尺度。說到冒犯(路 11:4稱之為「罪」,瑪 6:12稱之為「債」),我們常是欠債者:「除了彼此相愛外,你們不可再欠人甚麼」(羅 13:8)。聖三的共融是一切人際關係的泉源和真理的準則。 這共融在祈禱中,特別在感恩祭中,才能活出來。

聖西彼廉,《論主禱文》:挑撥離間、製造紛爭的人,天主不會悅納他們的祭獻,要他們先離開祭台,回去同兄弟和好。天主最喜歡求和平的祈禱。為天主最美好的禮物是和平、彼此和睦,是整個忠信子民在父、子和聖神內的合一。

六 、「 不要讓我們陷於誘惑」

2846. 主禱文的這一祈求觸及了上一祈求的根,因為我們的罪過就是順從誘惑的後果。我們祈求天父,勿使我們「陷」於誘惑。但是以一個單詞來譯出希臘文這個字是很困難的。原文有兩種意思:「勿讓我們墮入陷阱」,或「勿讓我們陷於誘惑」。「天主不會為惡事所誘惑,祂也不誘惑人」(雅 1:13),相反地,祂願意解救我們脫離罪惡。我們向天父祈求,勿讓我們走上犯罪的路。我們投身於「血肉與聖神之間」的戰鬥中。這項祈求就是在懇求聖神賜予明辨與剛毅之恩。

2847. 聖神使我們辨別考驗與誘惑兩者的不同;考驗為人內在的成長是必需的,因為「考驗生德行」(羅 5:3-5);誘惑則導致犯罪和死亡。我們也應辨別「感受」誘惑與「同意」誘惑。最後,辨別使人認清誘惑的真相──欺騙:放在眼前的看來是「好吃,好看,又令人羨慕」的 (創 3:6),但事實上,它的結果卻是死亡。

奧利振,《論祈禱》:天主不強迫人行善,祂喜愛人自由去作……從某方面看,誘惑能有些好處。除天主之外,無人知道人心從天主接受的是甚麼,連我們自己也不知道。但誘惑使之顯露出來,使我們學習認識自己,從而認清我們的悲慘,並為誘惑所顯露給我們的善而感謝天主。

2848. 「不要陷於誘惑」意味著內心的決定,因為「你的財寶在那裡,你的心也在那裡……沒有人能事奉兩個主人」(瑪 6:21,24)。「如果我們因聖神而生活,就應隨從聖神的引導而行事」(迦 5:25)。如果我們與聖神「認同」,天父自然會賜給我們勇德。「你們所受的試探,無非是普通人所能受的試探;天主是信實的,祂決不許你們受那超過你們能力的試探,天主如加給人試探,也必開一條出路,叫你們能夠承擔」(格前 10:13)。

2849. 這樣的戰鬥和勝利,只有在祈禱中才能達到。耶穌在傳教之初以及在山園祈禱的最後戰鬥,都是以祈禱戰勝誘惑。在向天父的這項祈求中,耶穌使我們結合於祂的戰鬥和臨終之苦。祂再三催促我們內心要警醒,同祂的警醒合一。警醒是「看守內心」,耶穌求父「因祂的名,保全我們 」(若 17:11)。聖神常提醒我們常常警醒。這項祈求對於我們在世戰鬥之最後誘惑來說,完全呈現出其震撼性的意義;它是祈求至死不渝的恆心。「看,我來猶如盜賊一樣;那醒著的人,才是有福的」(默 16:15)。

七、「但救我們免於凶惡」

2850. 主禱文的最後一項祈求,也納入耶穌的祈禱中:「我不求祢將他們從世上撤去,只求祢保護他們脫免邪惡」(若 17:15)。這祈求關係到我們每一個人,但常是「我們」在祈禱,是在與整個教會的共融中,為整個人類大家庭的解救而祈禱。主禱文經常要我們敞開胸襟,懷有救恩計劃的幅度。我們曾在罪惡、死亡的悲劇中相依為命,如今在基督奧體內團結一致,與「諸聖共融」。

2851. 在這祈求中,「凶惡」並非一抽象事物,而是指具有位格角色的撒殫、惡者、反對天主的天使。「魔鬼」 (dia-bolos)就是「投身反對」天主計劃的那一位;魔鬼企圖破壞天主在基督內所完成的「救恩事業」。

2852. 撒殫「從起初就是殺人的兇手;是撒謊者,而且又是撒謊者的父親」 (若 8:44),他「欺騙了全世界」(默 12:9)。罪惡與死亡藉著他而進入世界,由於他的決定性的失敗,整個受造世界才能「由罪惡與死亡中解脫」。「我們知道,凡由天主生的,就不犯罪過;而且由天主生的那一位必保全他,那惡者不能侵犯他。我們知道,我們屬於天主,而全世界卻屈服於惡者」 (若一 5:18-19):

聖安博,《論聖事》:主免除了你們的罪,寬赦了你們的過犯。魔鬼雖常攻打你們,主也保護你們免陷於他的陰謀詭計,如此,常引人犯罪的撒殫才不致於突然襲擊你們。依靠天主的人,不怕魔鬼:「若是天主偕同我們,誰能反對我們呢?」(羅 8:31)。

2853.耶穌在甘願捨身受死而賜給我們新生命的時辰,就一次而永遠地戰勝了「世界的首領」(若 14:30)。這也是審判此世界的時刻,此世的首領「已被摔下去了」(若 12:31;默 12:11),「就追趕女人」,卻抓不到她:新厄娃,「滿被聖神的恩寵」,擺脫了罪惡和死亡的敗壞(天主聖母卒世童貞瑪利亞的無玷始胎和蒙召升天)。「於是,那條龍便對那女人大發忿怒,遂去與她其餘的後裔交戰」(默 12:17)。為此緣故,聖神和教會一起祈求:「主耶穌,祢來吧」(默 22:17,20),因為祂的來臨將救我們脫離惡者。

2854. 我們祈求免除惡者的陷害,同時也祈求脫免現在、過去以及未來的一切災禍,而魔鬼正是災禍的製造者或唆使者。在這最後的祈求中,教會把世界的全部災難,帶到聖父面前。在祈求擺脫那重壓著人類的災禍時,教會還懇求和平的寶貴恩惠,以及恆心期待基督再度來臨的恩寵。藉這樣的祈求,教會懷著信德的謙遜,提前進行萬有和萬民在基督內的統合,祂「持有死亡和陰府的鑰匙」(默 1:18),祂是那「今在、昔在及將來永在的萬主之主」(默 1:8):

《羅馬彌撒經書》,主禱文後的附禱經:上主,求祢從一切災禍中拯救我們,恩賜我們的時代得享平安;更求祢大發慈悲,保佑我們脫免罪惡,並在一切困擾中,獲得安全,使我們虔誠期待永生的幸福,和救主耶穌的來臨。

最後的光榮頌

2855. 「天下萬國,普世權威,一切榮耀,永歸於祢」是主禱文最後的光榮頌。它重述並包含向天父的前三項祈求:祂聖名的光榮,祂神國的來臨,和祂救世旨意的能力。但是,此種反覆是以朝拜和感恩來表達,充盈著天上禮儀的氣氛。世界的首領,以撒謊擅自把王權、威能和光榮這三個名號加於己身;主基督將它們歸還於祂的父──也是我們的父,直到基督把全部神國歸還於父,那時, 救恩奧跡將圓滿地實現,天主將成為萬物中的萬有。

2856.「然後,祈禱結束了,你說:阿們,意思就是『願這一切得以實現』,即實現天主在此祈禱中所教導我們的一切」。
撮要

2857. 主禱文前三項祈求是以天父的光榮為對象:願祂的名受顯揚,願祂的國來臨,願祂的旨意承行。其他四項祈求是向祂表達我們的心願:求得有關我們生命的滋養,或求從罪惡中得到治療,這都有助我們以聖善戰勝邪惡的戰鬥。

2858. 誦唸「願祢的名受顯揚」時,我們便置身於天主的計劃中。祂的聖名── 首先給梅瑟,然後在耶穌身上啟示出來── 藉著我們,在我們內,也在每個民族和每個人之內受顯揚。

2859.在第二項祈求中,教會首先專注於基督的再來和天主王國最終的來臨;但亦求天國在我們生命的「今天」得以成長。
2860.在第三項祈求中,我們求天父將我們的旨意和祂聖子的旨意聯合一起,好使祂救恩的計劃能實現於世界的生命中。

2861. 在第四項祈求中,我們在說「賜給我們」時,正表示我們在兄弟共融中,向在天之父表示我們子女般的信賴。「我們的日用糧」是指為我們生存必需的現世食物,也指「生命之糧」:天主的聖言和基督的身體。這食糧是在天主的「今天」中領受,作為天國盛宴中不可缺少的(極為)需要的飲食,這是我們在感恩祭內所預嘗的。

2862.第五項祈求是為我們的罪過懇求天主的仁慈。除非我們師法基督和依恃祂的助佑而寬恕仇人,天主的仁慈不會進入我們的內心。
2863.誦唸「不要讓我們陷於誘惑」時,我們求天主不要讓我們走上犯罪的路;我們也呼求明辨和勇毅之神,以及懇求警醒的恩寵和至死不渝的恆心。

2864. 在最後的祈求中,「但救我們免於凶惡」中,信徒偕同教會祈求天主彰顯基督的勝利,因為祂已戰勝了「世界的首領」、戰勝了撒殫,即那起來反對天主和祂救恩計劃的天使。

2865.最後的「阿們」表示我們對於這七項祈求,說爾旨承行:「但願如此」。
全文結束

 SECTION TWO

THE LORD'S PRAYER

I. "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.'"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.

Article 1

"THE SUMMARY OF THE WHOLE GOSPEL"

2761 The Lord's Prayer "is truly the summary of the whole gospel."7 "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."8

I. At the Center of the Scriptures

2762 After showing how the psalms are the principal food of Christian prayer and flow together in the petitions of the Our Father, St. Augustine concludes:

Run through all the words of the holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord's Prayer.9

2763 All the Scriptures - the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms - are fulfilled in Christ.10 The Gospel is this "Good News." Its first proclamation is summarized by St. Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount;11 The prayer to our Father is at the center of this proclamation. It is in this context that each petition bequeathed to us by the Lord is illuminated:

The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers.... In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.12

2764 The Sermon on the Mount is teaching for life, the Our Father is a prayer; but in both the one and the other the Spirit of the Lord gives new form to our desires, those inner movements that animate our lives. Jesus teaches us this new life by his words; he teaches us to ask for it by our prayer. the rightness of our life in him will depend on the rightness of our prayer.

II. The Lord's Prayer

2765 The traditional expression "the Lord's Prayer" - oratio Dominica - means that the prayer to our Father is taught and given to us by the Lord Jesus. the prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique: it is "of the Lord." On the one hand, in the words of this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him:13 he is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, he knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us: he is the model of our prayer.

2766 But Jesus does not give us a formula to repeat mechanically.14 As in every vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father. Jesus not only gives us the words of our filial prayer; at the same time he gives us the Spirit by whom these words become in us "spirit and life."15 Even more, the proof and possibility of our filial prayer is that the Father "sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'"16 Since our prayer sets forth our desires before God, it is again the Father, "he who searches the hearts of men," who "knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."17 The prayer to Our Father is inserted into the mysterious mission of the Son and of the Spirit.

III. The Prayer of the Church

2767 This indivisible gift of the Lord's words and of the Holy Spirit who gives life to them in the hearts of believers has been received and lived by the Church from the beginning. the first communities prayed the Lord's Prayer three times a day,18 in place of the "Eighteen Benedictions" customary in Jewish piety.

2768 According to the apostolic tradition, the Lord's Prayer is essentially rooted in liturgical prayer:

[The Lord] teaches us to make prayer in common for all our brethren. For he did not say "my Father" who art in heaven, but "our" Father, offering petitions for the common body.19

In all the liturgical traditions, the Lord's Prayer is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office. In the three sacraments of Christian initiation its ecclesial character is especially in evidence:

2769 In Baptism and Confirmation, the handing on (traditio) of the Lord's Prayer signifies new birth into the divine life. Since Christian prayer is our speaking to God with the very word of God, those who are "born anew". . . through the living and abiding word of God"20 learn to invoke their Father by the one Word he always hears. They can henceforth do so, for the seal of the Holy Spirit's anointing is indelibly placed on their hearts, ears, lips, indeed their whole filial being. This is why most of the patristic commentaries on the Our Father are addressed to catechumens and neophytes. When the Church prays the Lord's Prayer, it is always the people made up of the "new-born" who pray and obtain mercy.21

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 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 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."22 The Eucharist and the Lord's Prayer look eagerly for the Lord's return, "until he comes."23

IN BRIEF

2773 In response to his disciples' request "Lord, teach us to pray" ( Lk 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,"24 The "most perfect of prayers."25 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 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).

Article 2

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"

I. "We Dare To Say"

2777 In the Roman liturgy, the Eucharistic assembly is invited to pray to our heavenly Father with filial boldness; the Eastern liturgies develop and use similar expressions: "dare in all confidence," "make us worthy of...." From the burning bush Moses heard a voice saying to him, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."26 Only Jesus could cross that threshold of the divine holiness, for "when he had made purification for sins," he brought us into the Father's presence: "Here am I, and the children God has given me."27

Our awareness of our status as slaves would make us sink into the ground and our earthly condition would dissolve into dust, if the authority of our Father himself and the Spirit of his Son had not impelled us to this cry . . . 'Abba, Father!' . . . When would a mortal dare call God 'Father,' if man's innermost being were not animated by power from on high?"28

2778 This power of the Spirit who introduces us to the Lord's Prayer is expressed in the liturgies of East and of West by the beautiful, characteristically Christian expression: parrhesia, straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble boldness, the certainty of being loved.29

II. Abba - "Father!"

2779 Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord's Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn "from this world." Humility makes us recognize that "no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him," that is, "to little children."30 The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area "upon him" would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us.

The expression God the Father had never been revealed to anyone. When Moses himself asked God who he was, he heard another name. the Father's name has been revealed to us in the Son, for the name "Son" implies the new name "Father."31

2780 We can invoke God as "Father" because he is revealed to us by his Son become man and because his Spirit makes him known to us. the personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God.32

2781 When we pray to the Father, we are in communion with him and with his Son, Jesus Christ.33 Then we know and recognize him with an ever new sense of wonder. the first phrase of the Our Father is a blessing of adoration before it is a supplication. For it is the glory of God that we should recognize him as "Father," the true God. We give him thanks for having revealed his name to us, for the gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of his Presence in us.

2782 We can adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son: by Baptism, he incorporates us into the Body of his Christ; through the anointing of his Spirit who flows from the head to the members, he makes us other "Christs."

God, indeed, who has predestined us to adoption as his sons, has conformed us to the glorious Body of Christ. So then you who have become sharers in Christ are appropriately called "Christs."34 
The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, "Father!" because he has now begun to be a son.35

2783 Thus the Lord's Prayer reveals us to ourselves at the same time that it reveals the Father to us.36

O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you lowered your eyes to the earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant you have become a good son.... Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say: "Our Father.... " But do not claim any privilege. He is the Father in a special way only of Christ, but he is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us. Then also say by his grace, "Our Father," so that you may merit being his son.37

2784 The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life. Praying to our Father should develop in us two fundamental dispositions: 
First, the desire to become like him: though created in his image, we are restored to his likeness by grace; and we must respond to this grace.

We must remember . . . and know that when we call God "our Father" we ought to behave as sons of God.38 
You cannot call the God of all kindness your Father if you preserve a cruel and inhuman heart; for in this case you no longer have in you the marks of the heavenly Father's kindness.39 
We must contemplate the beauty of the Father without ceasing and adorn our own souls accordingly.40

2785 Second, a humble and trusting heart that enables us "to turn and become like children":41 for it is to "little children" that the Father is revealed.42

[The prayer is accomplished] by the contemplation of God alone, and by the warmth of love, through which the soul, molded and directed to love him, speaks very familiarly to God as to its own Father with special devotion.43 
Our Father: at this name love is aroused in us . . . and the confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask.... What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift of being his children?44

 

III. "Our" Father

2786 "Our" Father refers to God. the adjective, as used by us, does not express possession, but an entirely new relationship with God.

2787 When we say "our" Father, we recognize first that all his promises of love announced by the prophets are fulfilled in the new and eternal covenant in his Christ: we have become "his" people and he is henceforth "our" God. This new relationship is the purely gratuitous gift of belonging to each other: we are to respond to "grace and truth" given us in Jesus Christ with love and faithfulness.45

2788 Since the Lord's Prayer is that of his people in the "endtime," this "our" also expresses the certitude of our hope in God's ultimate promise: in the new Jerusalem he will say to the victor, "I will be his God and he shall be my son."46

2789 When we pray to "our" Father, we personally address the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By doing so we do not divide the Godhead, since the Father is its "source and origin," but rather confess that the Son is eternally begotten by him and the Holy Spirit proceeds from him. We are not confusing the persons, for we confess that our communion is with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, in their one Holy Spirit. the Holy Trinity is consubstantial and indivisible. When we pray to the Father, we adore and glorify him together with the Son and the Holy Spirit.

2790 Grammatically, "our" qualifies a reality common to more than one person. There is only one God, and he is recognized as Father by those who, through faith in his only Son, are reborn of him by water and the Spirit.47 The Church is this new communion of God and men. United with the only Son, who has become "the firstborn among many brethren," she is in communion with one and the same Father in one and the same Holy Spirit.48 In praying "our" Father, each of the baptized is praying in this communion: "The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul."49

2791 For this reason, in spite of the divisions among Christians, this prayer to "our" Father remains our common patrimony and an urgent summons for all the baptized. In communion by faith in Christ and by Baptism, they ought to join in Jesus' prayer for the unity of his disciples.50

2792 Finally, if we pray the Our Father sincerely, we leave individualism behind, because the love that we receive frees us from it. the "our" at the beginning of the Lord's Prayer, like the "us" of the last four petitions, excludes no one. If we are to say it truthfully, our divisions and oppositions have to be overcome.51

2793 The baptized cannot pray to "our" Father without bringing before him all those for whom he gave his beloved Son. God's love has no bounds, neither should our prayer.52 Praying "our" Father opens to us the dimensions of his love revealed in Christ: praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ may "gather into one the children of God."53 God's care for all men and for the whole of creation has inspired all the great practitioners of prayer; it should extend our prayer to the full breadth of love whenever we dare to say "our" Father.

IV. "Who Art in Heaven"

2794 This biblical expression does not mean a place (“space"), but a way of being; it does not mean that God is distant, but majestic. Our Father is not "elsewhere": he transcends everything we can conceive of his holiness. It is precisely because he is thrice holy that he is so close to the humble and contrite heart.

"Our Father who art in heaven" is rightly understood to mean that God is in the hearts of the just, as in his holy temple. At the same time, it means that those who pray should desire the one they invoke to dwell in them.54 
"Heaven" could also be those who bear the image of the heavenly world, and in whom God dwells and tarries.55

2795 The symbol of the heavens refers us back to the mystery of the covenant we are living when we pray to our Father. He is in heaven, his dwelling place; the Father's house is our homeland. Sin has exiled us from the land of the covenant,56 but conversion of heart enables us to return to the Father, to heaven.57 Jn Christ, then, heaven and earth are reconciled,58 for the Son alone "descended from heaven" and causes us to ascend there with him, by his Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension.59

2796 When the Church prays "our Father who art in heaven," she is professing that we are the People of God, already seated "with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" and "hidden with Christ in God;"60 yet at the same time, "here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling."61

[Christians] are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They spend their lives on earth, but are citizens of heaven.62

 

IN BRIEF

2797 Simple and faithful trust, humble and joyous assurance are the proper dispositions for one who prays the Our Father.

2798 We can invoke God as "Father" because the Son of God made man has revealed him to us. Jn this Son, through Baptism, we are incorporated and adopted as sons of God.

2799 The Lord's Prayer brings us into communion with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. At the same time it reveals us to ourselves (cf GS 22 # 1).

2800 Praying to our Father should develop in us the will to become like him and foster in us a humble and trusting heart.

2801 When we say "Our" Father, we are invoking the new covenant in Jesus Christ, communion with the Holy Trinity, and the divine love which spreads through the Church to encompass the world.

2802 "Who art in heaven" does not refer to a place but to God's majesty and his presence in the hearts of the just. Heaven, the Father's house, is the true homeland toward which we are heading and to which, already, we belong.

Article 3

THE SEVEN PETITIONS

2803 After we have placed ourselves in the presence of God our Father to adore and to love and to bless him, the Spirit of adoption stirs up in our hearts seven petitions, seven blessings. the first three, more theological, draw us toward the glory of the Father; the last four, as ways toward him, commend our wretchedness to his grace. "Deep calls to deep."63

2804 The first series of petitions carries us toward him, for his own sake: thy name, thy kingdom, thy will! It is characteristic of love to think first of the one whom we love. In none of the three petitions do we mention ourselves; the burning desire, even anguish, of the beloved Son for his Father's glory seizes us:64 "hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done...." These three supplications were already answered in the saving sacrifice of Christ, but they are henceforth directed in hope toward their final fulfillment, for God is not yet all in all.65

2805 The second series of petitions unfolds with the same movement as certain Eucharistic epicleses: as an offering up of our expectations, that draws down upon itself the eyes of the Father of mercies. They go up from us and concern us from this very moment, in our present world: "give us . . . forgive us . . . lead us not ... deliver us...." the fourth and fifth petitions concern our life as such - to be fed and to be healed of sin; the last two concern our battle for the victory of life - that battle of prayer.

2806 By the three first petitions, we are strengthened in faith, filled with hope, and set aflame by charity. Being creatures and still sinners, we have to petition for us, for that "us" bound by the world and history, which we offer to the boundless love of God. For through the name of his Christ and the reign of his Holy Spirit, our Father accomplishes his plan of salvation, for us and for the whole world.

 

I. "Hallowed be Thy Name"

2807 The term "to hallow" is to be understood here not primarily in its causative sense (only God hallows, makes holy), but above all in an evaluative sense: to recognize as holy, to treat in a holy way. and so, in adoration, this invocation is sometimes understood as praise and thanksgiving.66 But this petition is here taught to us by Jesus as an optative: a petition, a desire, and an expectation in which God and man are involved. Beginning with this first petition to our Father, we are immersed in the innermost mystery of his Godhead and the drama of the salvation of our humanity. Asking the Father that his name be made holy draws us into his plan of loving kindness for the fullness of time, "according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ," that we might "be holy and blameless before him in love."67

2808 In the decisive moments of his economy God reveals his name, but he does so by accomplishing his work. This work, then, is realized for us and in us only if his name is hallowed by us and in us.

2809 The holiness of God is the inaccessible center of his eternal mystery. What is revealed of it in creation and history, Scripture calls "glory," the radiance of his majesty.68 In making man in his image and likeness, God "crowned him with glory and honor," but by sinning, man fell "short of the glory of God."69 From that time on, God was to manifest his holiness by revealing and giving his name, in order to restore man to the image of his Creator.70

2810 In the promise to Abraham and the oath that accompanied it,71 God commits himself but without disclosing his name. He begins to reveal it to Moses and makes it known clearly before the eyes of the whole people when he saves them from the Egyptians: "he has triumphed gloriously."72 From the covenant of Sinai onwards, this people is "his own" and it is to be a "holy (or "consecrated": the same word is used for both in Hebrew) nation,"73 because the name of God dwells in it.

2811 In spite of the holy Law that again and again their Holy God gives them - "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy" - and although the Lord shows patience for the sake of his name, the people turn away from the Holy One of Israel and profane his name among the nations.74 For this reason the just ones of the old covenant, the poor survivors returned from exile, and the prophets burned with passion for the name.

2812 Finally, in Jesus the name of the Holy God is revealed and given to us, in the flesh, as Savior, revealed by what he is, by his word, and by his sacrifice.75 This is the heart of his priestly prayer: "Holy Father . . . for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."76 Because he "sanctifies" his own name, Jesus reveals to us the name of the Father.77 At the end of Christ's Passover, the Father gives him the name that is above all names: "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."78

2813 In the waters of Baptism, we have been "washed . . . sanctified . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."79 Our Father calls us to holiness in the whole of our life, and since "he is the source of (our) life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and . . .sanctification,"80 both his glory and our life depend on the hallowing of his name in us and by us. Such is the urgency of our first petition.

By whom is God hallowed, since he is the one who hallows? But since he said, "You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy," we seek and ask that we who were sanctified in Baptism may persevere in what we have begun to be. and we ask this daily, for we need sanctification daily, so that we who fail daily may cleanse away our sins by being sanctified continually.... We pray that this sanctification may remain in us.81

2814 The sanctification of his name among the nations depends inseparably on our life and our prayer:

We ask God to hallow his name, which by its own holiness saves and makes holy all creation .... It is this name that gives salvation to a lost world. But we ask that this name of God should be hallowed in us through our actions. For God's name is blessed when we live well, but is blasphemed when we live wickedly. As the Apostle says: "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." We ask then that, just as the name of God is holy, so we may obtain his holiness in our souls.82 
When we say "hallowed be thy name," we ask that it should be hallowed in us, who are in him; but also in others whom God's grace still awaits, that we may obey the precept that obliges us to pray for everyone, even our enemies. That is why we do not say expressly "hallowed be thy name 'in us,"' for we ask that it be so in all men.83

2815 This petition embodies all the others. Like the six petitions that follow, it is fulfilled by the prayer of Christ. Prayer to our Father is our prayer, if it is prayed in the name of Jesus.84 In his priestly prayer, Jesus asks: "Holy Father, protect in your name those whom you have given me."85

II. "Thy Kingdom Come"

2816 In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by "kingship" (abstract noun), "kingdom" (concrete noun) or "reign" (action noun). the Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. It is brought near in the Word incarnate, it is proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel, and it has come in Christ's death and Resurrection. the Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst. the kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to his Father:

It may even be . . . that the Kingdom of God means Christ himself, whom we daily desire to come, and whose coming we wish to be manifested quickly to us. For as he is our resurrection, since in him we rise, so he can also be understood as the Kingdom of God, for in him we shall reign.86

2817 This petition is "Marana tha," the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: "Come, Lord Jesus."

Even if it had not been prescribed to pray for the coming of the kingdom, we would willingly have brought forth this speech, eager to embrace our hope. In indignation the souls of the martyrs under the altar cry out to the Lord: "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?" For their retribution is ordained for the end of the world. Indeed as soon as possible, Lord, may your kingdom come!87

2818 In the Lord's Prayer, "thy kingdom come" refers primarily to the final coming of the reign of God through Christ's return.88 But, far from distracting the Church from her mission in this present world, this desire commits her to it all the more strongly. Since Pentecost, the coming of that Reign is the work of the Spirit of the Lord who "complete(s) his work on earth and brings us the fullness of grace."89

2819 "The kingdom of God (is) righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."90 The end-time in which we live is the age of the outpouring of the Spirit. Ever since Pentecost, a decisive battle has been joined between "the flesh" and the Spirit.91

Only a pure soul can boldly say: "Thy kingdom come." One who has heard Paul say, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies," and has purified himself in action, thought and word will say to God: "Thy kingdom come!"92

2820 By a discernment according to the Spirit, Christians have to distinguish between the growth of the Reign of God and the progress of the culture and society in which they are involved. This distinction is not a separation. Man's vocation to eternal life does not suppress, but actually reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the energies and means received from the Creator to serve justice and peace.93

2821 This petition is taken up and granted in the prayer of Jesus which is present and effective in the Eucharist; it bears its fruit in new life in keeping with the Beatitudes.94

 

III. "Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven"

2822 Our Father "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."95 He "is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish."96 His commandment is "that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."97 This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.

2823 "He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ . . . to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will."98 We ask insistently for this loving plan to be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven.

2824 In Christ, and through his human will, the will of the Father has been perfectly fulfilled once for all. Jesus said on entering into this world: "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God."99 Only Jesus can say: "I always do what is pleasing to him."100 In the prayer of his agony, he consents totally to this will: "not my will, but yours be done."101 For this reason Jesus "gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father."102 "and by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."103

2825 "Although he was a Son, [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered."104 How much more reason have we sinful creatures to learn obedience - we who in him have become children of adoption. We ask our Father to unite our will to his Son's, in order to fulfill his will, his plan of salvation for the life of the world. We are radically incapable of this, but united with Jesus and with the power of his Holy Spirit, we can surrender our will to him and decide to choose what his Son has always chosen: to do what is pleasing to the Father.105

In committing ourselves to [Christ], we can become one spirit with him, and thereby accomplish his will, in such wise that it will be perfect on earth as it is in heaven.106

 

Consider how Jesus Christ] teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say "thy will be done in me or in us," but "on earth," the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.107

2826 By prayer we can discern "what is the will of God" and obtain the endurance to do it.108 Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing "the will of my Father in heaven."109

2827 "If any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him."110 Such is the power of the Church's prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God111 and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:

It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," to mean: "in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself"; or "in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father."112

IV. "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"

2828 "Give us": the trust of children who look to their Father for everything is beautiful. "He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."113 He gives to all the living "their food in due season."114 Jesus teaches us this petition, because it glorifies our Father by acknowledging how good he is, beyond all goodness.

2829 "Give us" also expresses the covenant. We are his and he is ours, for our sake. But this "us" also recognizes him as the Father of all men and we pray to him for them all, in solidarity with their needs and sufferings.

2830 "Our bread": the Father who gives us life cannot not but give us the nourishment life requires - all appropriate goods and blessings, both material and spiritual. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus insists on the filial trust that cooperates with our Father's providence.115 He is not inviting us to idleness,116 but wants to relieve us from nagging worry and preoccupation. Such is the filial surrender of the children of God:

To those who seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, he has promised to give all else besides. Since everything indeed belongs to God, he who possesses God wants for nothing, if he himself is not found wanting before God.117

2831 But the presence of those who hunger because they lack bread opens up another profound meaning of this petition. the drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family. This petition of the Lord's Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment.118

2832 As leaven in the dough, the newness of the kingdom should make the earth "rise" by the Spirit of Christ.119 This must be shown by the establishment of justice in personal and social, economic and international relations, without ever forgetting that there are no just structures without people who want to be just.

2833 "Our" bread is the "one" loaf for the "many." In the Beatitudes "poverty" is the virtue of sharing: it calls us to communicate and share both material and spiritual goods, not by coercion but out of love, so that the abundance of some may remedy the needs of others.120

2834 "Pray and work."121 "Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you."122 Even when we have done our work, the food we receive is still a gift from our Father; it is good to ask him for it with thanksgiving, as Christian families do when saying grace at meals.

2835 This petition, with the responsibility it involves, also applies to another hunger from which men are perishing: "Man does not live by bread alone, but . . . by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,"123 that is, by the Word he speaks and the Spirit he breathes forth. Christians must make every effort "to proclaim the good news to the poor." There is a famine on earth, "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD."124 For this reason the specifically Christian sense of this fourth petition concerns the Bread of Life: the Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist.125

2836 "This day" is also an expression of trust taught us by the Lord,126 which we would never have presumed to invent. Since it refers above all to his Word and to the Body of his Son, this "today" is not only that of our mortal time, but also the "today" of God.

If you receive the bread each day, each day is today for you. If Christ is yours today, he rises for you every day. How can this be? "You are my Son, today I have begotten you." Therefore, "today" is when Christ rises.127

2837 "Daily" (epiousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Taken in a temporal sense, this word is a pedagogical repetition of "this day,"128 to confirm us in trust "without reservation." Taken in the qualitative sense, it signifies what is necessary for life, and more broadly every good thing sufficient for subsistence.129 Taken literally (epi-ousios: "super-essential"), it refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the "medicine of immortality," without which we have no life within us.130 Finally in this connection, its heavenly meaning is evident: "this day" is the Day of the Lord, the day of the feast of the kingdom, anticipated in the Eucharist that is already the foretaste of the kingdom to come. For this reason it is fitting for the Eucharistic liturgy to be celebrated each day.

The Eucharist is our daily bread. the power belonging to this divine food makes it a bond of union. Its effect is then understood as unity, so that, gathered into his Body and made members of him, we may become what we receive.... This also is our daily bread: the readings you hear each day in church and the hymns you hear and sing. All these are necessities for our pilgrimage.131

 

The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who, sown in the Virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the Passion, baked in the oven of the tomb, reserved in churches, brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food from heaven.132

V. "And Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as We Forgive Those Who Trespass AGAINST US"

2838 This petition is astonishing. If it consisted only of the first phrase, "and forgive us our trespasses," it might have been included, implicitly, in the first three petitions of the Lord's Prayer, since Christ's sacrifice is "that sins may be forgiven." But, according to the second phrase, our petition will not be heard unless we have first met a strict requirement. Our petition looks to the future, but our response must come first, for the two parts are joined by the single word "as."

and forgive us our trespasses . . .

2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him.133 Our petition begins with a "confession" of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, "we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."134 We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.135

2840 Now - and this is daunting - this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see.136 In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father's merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.

2841 This petition is so important that it is the only one to which the Lord returns and which he develops explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount.137 This crucial requirement of the covenant mystery is impossible for man. But "with God all things are possible."138 
. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us

2842 This "as" is not unique in Jesus' teaching: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect"; "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful"; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."139 It is impossible to keep the Lord's commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make "ours" the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.140 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves "forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave" us.141

2843 Thus the Lord's words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end,142 become a living reality. the parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord's teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: "So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."143 It is there, in fact, "in the depths of the heart," that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.

2844 Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies,144 transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God's compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. the martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another.145

2845 There is no limit or measure to this essentially divine forgiveness,146 whether one speaks of "sins" as in Luke ( 11:4), "debts" as in Matthew ( 6:12). We are always debtors: "Owe no one anything, except to love one another."147 The communion of the Holy Trinity is the source and criterion of truth in every relation ship. It is lived out in prayer, above all in the Eucharist.148

God does not accept the sacrifice of a sower of disunion, but commands that he depart from the altar so that he may first be reconciled with his brother. For God can be appeased only by prayers that make peace. To God, the better offering is peace, brotherly concord, and a people made one in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.149

VI. "And Lead Us not into Temptation"

2846 This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to "lead" us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both "do not allow us to enter into temptation" and "do not let us yield to temptation."150 "God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one";151 on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle "between flesh and spirit"; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength.

2847 The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man,152 and temptation, which leads to sin and death.153 We must also discern between being tempted and consenting to temptation. Finally, discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a "delight to the eyes" and desirable,154 when in reality its fruit is death. 
God does not want to impose the good, but wants free beings.... There is a certain usefulness to temptation. No one but God knows what our soul has received from him, not even we ourselves. But temptation reveals it in order to teach us to know ourselves, and in this way we discover our evil inclinations and are obliged to give thanks for the goods that temptation has revealed to us.155

2848 "Lead us not into temptation" implies a decision of the heart: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.... No one can serve two masters."156 "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."157 In this assent to the Holy Spirit the Father gives us strength. "No testing has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it."158

2849 Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer. It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony.159 In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own. Vigilance is "custody of the heart," and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: "Keep them in your name."160 The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch.161 Finally, this petition takes on all its dramatic meaning in relation to the last temptation of our earthly battle; it asks for final perseverance. "Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake."162

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."163 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. Our interdependence in the drama of sin and death is turned into solidarity in the Body of Christ, the "communion of saints."164

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."165 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."166 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."167

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?"168

2853 Victory over the "prince of this world"169 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."170 "He pursued the woman"171 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."172 Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus,"173 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."174

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.175

Article 4

THE FINAL DOXOLOGY

2855 The final doxology, "For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever," takes up again, by inclusion, the first three petitions to our Father: the glorification of his name, the coming of his reign, and the power of his saving will. But these prayers are now proclaimed as adoration and thanksgiving, as in the liturgy of heaven.176 The ruler of this world has mendaciously attributed to himself the three titles of kingship, power, and glory.177 Christ, the Lord, restores them to his Father and our Father, until he hands over the kingdom to him when the mystery of salvation will be brought to its completion and God will be all in all.178

2856 "Then, after the prayer is over you say 'Amen,' which means 'So be it,' thus ratifying with our 'Amen' what is contained in the prayer that God has taught us."179

IN BRIEF

2857 In the Our Father, the object of the first three petitions is the glory of the Father: the sanctification of his name, the coming of the kingdom, and the fulfillment of his will. the four others present our wants to him: they ask that our lives be nourished, healed of sin, and made victorious in the struggle of good over evil.

2858 By asking "hallowed be thy name" we enter into God's plan, the sanctification of his name - revealed first to Moses and then in Jesus - by us and in us, in every nation and in each man.

2859 By the second petition, the Church looks first to Christ's return and the final coming of the Reign of God. It also prays for the growth of the Kingdom of God in the "today" of our own lives.

2860 In the third petition, we ask our Father to unite our will to that of his Son, so as to fulfill his plan of salvation in the life of the world.

2861 In the fourth petition, by saying "give us," we express in communion with our brethren our filial trust in our heavenly Father. "Our daily bread" refers to the earthly nourishment necessary to everyone for subsistence, and also to the Bread of Life: the Word of God and the Body of Christ. It is received in God's "today," as the indispensable, (super - ) essential nourishment of the feast of the coming Kingdom anticipated in the Eucharist.

2862 The fifth petition begs God's mercy for our offences, mercy which can penetrate our hearts only if we have learned to forgive our enemies, with the example and help of Christ.

2863 When we say "lead us not into temptation" we are asking God not to allow us to take the path that leads to sin. This petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength; it requests the grace of vigilance and final perseverance.

2864 In the last petition, "but deliver us from evil," Christians pray to God with the Church to show forth the victory, already won by Christ, over the "ruler of this world," Satan, the angel personally opposed to God and to his plan of salvation.

2865 By the final "Amen," we express our "fiat" concerning the seven petitions: "So be it".


   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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