The closing petition of the Lords Prayer is a compendium of
everything from which we want God to deliver us, in this life and in the life
St. Cyprian, who wrote the first extensive commentary on the
Pater Noster, teaches that we are here
praying to be freed from the consequences of sin. The Church follows this
teaching, which places our dread of evil into proper perspective.
So far, in the Our Father, we have prayed for Gods mercy on
our sins, for strength to do Gods will, for wisdom not to give into
temptations. In closing, we ask to be spared such evils as are the result of
sin, our own and the sins of others.
Evil, in general, is anything contrary to the will. But
there are two kinds of evil, even as there are, finally, two wills that can be
displeased. That which is contrary to Gods will we call sin. That which is
contrary to the human will we call pain.
The special focus of the last petition of the Lords Prayer
is to be delivered from pain. But, immediately we must be careful to explain
what this means. While ultimately all pain is somehow the result of sin, not
all pain is bad for us. Indeed some pain is even necessary for the salvation
and sanctification of the world.
When God became man, He had joy set before Him and chose the
Cross. If we are to become like Him and
cooperate with Him in the redemption of the world, we should expect and even
embrace a certain amount of pain in or lives.
Yet in the final petition of His own prayer, Christ tells us
to ask for deliverance from evil. What kind of evil, as pain, are we praying to
be spared? Pain is whatever contradicts our wills. It can be pain in the body,
or pain in the soul. It can be physical distress or emotional disturbance, or
spiritual dryness, or mental anxiety. In a word, the pain can be anything,
inside of us or outside of us, that we find displeasing and want to be freed
Realizing that pain can be a great blessing, we pray to be
delivered from such pain as God, in His wisdom knows would not be beneficial
for our souls. We also pray to profit from the pain we have to suffer. We pray
that the pain we endure will benefit others. And we pray for deliverance from
that absolute evil which is the eternal loss of God.
Amen is considered part of the biblical text of the Lords
Prayer. It is in the Latin Vulgate of the New Testament and has been
extensively commented on by the saints.
Literally Amen means, truly, or it is true, and
expresses acceptance of what has just been said. At the end of the Our Father
it is an earnest hope that God will grant all our preceding petitions. It is an
act of confidence that the Father is moved by this Amen, which Jesus so often
used to stress the divine authority of His words.
Copyright © 2002 Inter Mirifica
Pocket Catholic Catechism