Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  662 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 662 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

662

Part Four

A

rticle

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 eve­

ryone 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.

A

t

the

C

enter of

the

S

criptures

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 proclama­

tion. 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.

7 Tertullian,

De orat.

1: PL 1, 1155.

8 Tertullian,

De orat.

10: PL 1, 1165; cf.

Lk

11:9.

9 St. Augustine,

Ep.

130, 12, 22: PL 33, 503.

10 Cf.

Lk

24:44.

11 Cf.

Mt

5-7.

12 St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

II-II, 83, 9.

102

2541

1965

1969