SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
THE LORD'S PRAYER EXPOUNDED
Q. Which is the third petition?
A. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Q. What is it to do the will of God?
A. It is to comply with all his commands, both as to what we are to believe, and what to practice, and that not only what himself immediately commands, but what is commanded by his representatives, viz.: Civil and ecclesiastical powers, and in a word, all subordinate powers, as parents, masters, etc.
Q. Can we perform the will of God as the saints and angels do in heaven?
A. No, not as to the equality, because they never deviate from God's will: but we are to endeavour at it, by a general desire if corrupted nature would suffer us, and strive for it, with fervour and zeal.
Q. What else do we petition for? A. That God would be pleased to discover to us his will in difficult matters, which occur in human life, viz.: In regard of a state of life, and in suffering all sorts of calamities. Q. Which is the fourth petition? A. Give us this day our daily bread. Q. What is meant by bread? A. Not only strictly what is so called, but all things that are necessary for life in general, or our particular state of life, as far as it is God's pleasure, but not superfluities as to worldly conveniences, much less are we to pray for riches, honours, and any other thing, that is apt to turn us from God's service; St. Matt, iv. 4; St. John vi. 35. Again, by bread is also understood, the spiritual bread whereby the soul is nourished; among which we may reckon God's grace, pious books, but most especially the blessed Eucharist. Hence, in the place of daily, St. Matthew, vi. 11. has super-substantial, that is, uncommon and supernatural bread.
Q. Which is the fifth petition?
A. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
Q. What do we beg by this petition?
A. To have our sins forgiven, which, being an injury and debt owing to God, and we being unable to pay it ourselves, we may and do petition that he will pardon us.
Q. Does God immediately pardon us, upon this petition?
A. No, unless we comply with the conditions, viz.: A sincere sorrow for having offended him, and a firm resolution to offend no more: as also forgiveness of others who have offended us, because we are obliged to love our neighbour, which requires of us to lay aside all thoughts of revenge; St. Matt, xviii. 21; St. Mark vi. 25 et 26.
Q. It this petition to be made by all mankind?
A. Yes ; all are daily offenders, either mortally or venially: none ever have been excepted, but our blessed Saviour and his virgin mother.
Q. Which is the sixth petition ?
A. And lead us not into temptation.
Q. Does God tempt us to sin, and what is it you call temptation ?
A. Temptation is provoking men to sin: in which sense, God tempts no man; such temptations are ascribed to the world, the flesh, and the devil; St. James x. 13 ; St. Matt. iv. 3 ; Rom. vii. 23", St James i. 14. Yet God permits us to fall into several temptations or trials from those quarters, in order to try our fidelity, and gain a greater reward by resisting them. What we pray for therefore, is the divine assistance and grace, that we may come off victorious, upon such occasions, and that he will not desert us: but most especially, we pray for the gift of perseverance.
Q. Which is the seventh petition?
A. But deliver us from evil.
Q. Which are the evils we petition to be freed from ?
A. In the fifth petition, we begged to be freed from the evils of sin, by having them forgiven, in this we beg to be freed from the devil and all his stratagems; from evil company; from all temporal evils that may happen to our body, soul, or fortunes; inasmuch as they may be an impediment to labouring in God's service; but this is to be understood conditionally, and with resignation to the divine will. What we absolutely pray for, on this occasion is, that we may bear with patience all temporal calamities, and that they may not oppress us so as to make us deviate from our duty to God.
Q. Can we pray to be freed from the miseries of human life?
A. We are not to pray for our death, wherein we are to submit entirely to God's holy will, but, in St. Paul's sense, we may desire to be dissolved; Phil. i. 23.
Q. What means the word, Amen ?
A. It is a Hebrew word of confirmation or assent, signifying so be it, or let it be done; consequently, it confirms, with a repetition and general wish, all the seven petitions, and is the usual close of all prayers whatever, being as it were an abridgment.