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488 • Part IV. Prayer: The Faith Prayed

Forgive Us Our Trespasses as We Forgive Those Who

Trespass Against Us

The fifth petition begs God’s mercy for our offences,

mercy which can penetrate our hearts only if we have

learned to forgive our enemies, with the example and

help of Christ.

—CCC, no. 2862

The best way to obtain mercy is to be merciful. As Jesus taught us,

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7).

Failure to forgive others is a major human problem. Holding grudges

is common. Failure to forgive routinely tears apart families, neighbor-

hoods, and even nations. Jesus stressed mercy and forgiveness in numer-

ous ways such as when he asked the Father to forgive those who cruci-

fied him (cf. Lk 23:34). We pray to God that we may be able to forgive

as much as we are forgiven.

And Lead Us Not into Temptation

God wants to set us free from evil; he tempts no one (cf. CCC,

no. 2846).

When we say “lead us not into temptation” we are asking God

not to allow us to take the path that leads to sin. This petition

implores the Spirit of discernment and strength; it requests the

grace of vigilance and final perseverance. (CCC, no. 2863)

We know that preventive medicine is desirable so that curative medi-

cine may not be needed. Preventing the possibility of sin is preferable to

sinning with its negative impact on our lives. Traditionally we have been

taught to avoid the occasions of sin, that is, persons or situations that

may lead us to sin. Virtue grows stronger with its practice.

In this petition, we entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit to keep us

alert to the dangers of sin and give us the grace to resist temptation. A

meditation on how Christ resisted temptation in the desert is a fruitful

and inspiring example of how we should conduct ourselves in the face