December 17, 2017

Is the Pope changing the words to the Our Father? No. But you might have heard the story on the news. That story pertains from the recent updated translation to the Our Father implemented in the Churches of France. It is a change of translation, not a change of the words themselves. Basically, the issue is how people today understand the words we use. One way to fix misunderstandings is to update translations. Another way is education. For your education I offer the following:

Text seemingly being misunderstood: Lead us not into temptation. People were understanding this as God being the one who places temptation into our lives as if he were attempting to cause us to sin. He is not! As St. James tells us “No one experiencing temptation should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (Jas 1:13-14).

What the text actually means: As St. Thomas says, “To be tempted is human, but to consent to it is diabolical.” The prayer says “lead us not into temptation,” rather than “let us not be tempted.” This aspect of the Our Father seeks for us the Virtue of Temperance which enables one to encounter, and even at times enjoy, pleasing entities in a moderate and reasonable manner (in accord with one’s station in life). The temperate person is not “led into temptation” when faced with tempting situations but rather is blessed by God with the virtue needed to use all of God’s creation rightly and justly.

You can stop by the Welcome Desk to pick up a handout that describes the Lord’s Prayer as Petitions for the 7 Virtues or one that describes the Lord’s Prayer as a Weapon for Spiritual Conflict.

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