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Chapter 36. Jesus Taught Us to Pray • 483

who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles

himself will be exalted. (Lk 18:10-14)

Jesus gave us not only the gift of the Lord’s Prayer, but also the context

in which it should be understood and prayed. With this in mind, we offer

the following reflection on this, the greatest of prayers.

THE CENTRAL PRAYER OF SCRIPTURE

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.

—CCC, no. 2763, citing St. Thomas Aquinas,

Summa Theologiae

, II-II. 83, 9

The Our Father is called the “Lord’s Prayer” because Jesus, our Lord

and model of prayer, is its author. There are two versions of the Lord’s

Prayer in the Gospels. St. Luke’s account of the event contains five

petitions. St. Matthew’s lists seven. The Church’s liturgy follows

Matthew’s version.

St. Augustine wrote seven commentaries on the Our Father. So

moved was he by its depth that he wrote, “Run through all the words

of holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think you will find anything

in them that is not contained in the Lord’s Prayer” (

Letter

, 130, 12, 22).

The Our Father is an integral part of sacramental liturgies (Baptism,

Confirmation, and the Anointing of the Sick) and of the Eucharist itself.

At Mass, it comes after the Eucharistic Prayer, summing up the interces-

sions of that prayer and preparing us for Holy Communion when we

receive Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of Life. It is at the heart of every

individual and communal prayer (cf. CCC, no. 2776).