Meditation for July& August 2019 The Council of Trent Catechism on The Lord’s Prayer The Sixth Petition“And lead us not into temptation”
To our great horror and sorrow, Pope Francis has issued a new translation of the sixth petition of the Lord’s prayer, which has been already been recently adopted by the Italian and French Episcopal Conferences. The traditional translation, “lead us not into temptation” has been retranslated by the current occupant of the Chair of Saint Peter to “do not allow us to fall into temptation.”The following (abbreviated) instruction on the meaning and implications of the traditional translation of the sixth petition, “Lead us not into Temptation” is taken from The Catechism of the Council of Trent edited under Saint Charles Borromeo and published by the decree of Pope Saint Pius X. The translation is by John A. McHugh, O.P. and Charles J. Callan, O.P. A complete electronic version is available thanks to the Catholic Society at: http://www.catholicsociety.com/documents/Catechism_of_the_Council%20of_Trent.pdf.
THE SIXTH PETITION OF THE LORD’S PRAYER : “And lead us not into temptation.”
We are said to be led into temptation when we yield to temptations. Now this happens in two ways. First, we are led into temptation when, yielding to suggestion, we rush into that evil to which some one tempts us. No one is thus led into temptation by God; for to no one is God the author of sin, nay, He hates all who work iniquity; and accordingly we also read in St. James: Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted of God; for God is not a tempter of evils.
Secondly, we are said to be led into temptation by him who, although he himself does not tempt us nor cooperate in tempting us, yet is said to tempt because he does not prevent us from being tempted or from being overcome by temptations when he is able to prevent these things. In this manner God, indeed, suffers the good and the pious to be tempted, but does not leave them unsupported by His grace. Sometimes, however, we fall, being left to ourselves by the just and secret judgment of God, in punishment of our sins.
God is also said to lead us into temptation when we abuse, to our destruction, His blessings, which He has given us as a means of salvation; when, like the prodigal son, we squander our Father’s substance, living riotously and yielding to our evil desires. In such a case we can say what the Apostle has said of the law: The commandment that was ordained to life, the same was found to be unto death to me.
Of this an opportune example is Jerusalem, as we learn from Ezekiel. God had so enriched that city with every sort of embellishment, that He said of it by the mouth of the Prophet: Thou wast perfect through my beauty, which I had put upon thee. Yet Jerusalem, favored with such an abundance of divine gifts, was so far from showing gratitude to God, from whom she had received and was still receiving so many favors, was so far from making use of those heavenly gifts for the attainment of her own happiness, the end for which she had received them, that having cast away the hope and idea of deriving spiritual profit from them, she, most ungrateful to God her Father, was content to enjoy her present abundance with a luxury and riotousness which Ezekiel describes at considerable length in the same chapter. Wherefore those whom God permits to convert into instruments of vice the abundant opportunities of virtuous deeds which He has afforded them, are equally ungrateful to Him. 350
But we ought carefully to notice a certain usage of Sacred Scripture, which sometimes denotes the permission of God in words which, if taken literally, would imply a positive act on the part of God. Thus in Exodus we read: I will harden the heart of Pharaoh; and in Isaias: Blind the heart of this people; and the Apostle to the Romans writes: God delivered them up to shameful affections, and to a reprobate sense. In these and other similar passages we are to understand, not at all any positive act on the part of God, but His permission only. Objects of the Sixth PetitionWhat We Do Not Pray ForThese observations having been premised, it will not be difficult to understand the object for which we pray in this Petition.
We do not ask to be totally exempt from temptation, for human life is one continued temptation. This, however, is useful and advantageous to man. Temptation teaches us to know ourselves, that is, our own weakness, and to humble ourselves under the powerful hand of God; and by fighting manfully, we expect to receive a never-fading crown of glory. For he that striveth for the mastery is not crowned, except he strive lawfully. Blessed is the man, says St. James, that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him. If we are sometimes hard pressed by the temptation of the enemy, it will also cheer us to reflect, that we have a high priest to help us, who can have compassion on our infirmities, having been tempted himself in all things. What We Pray For In This PetitionWhat, then, do we pray for in this Petition ? We pray that the divine assistance may not forsake us, lest having been deceived, or worsted, we should yield to temptation; and that the grace of God may be at hand to succor us when our strength fails, to refresh and invigorate us in our trials.
We should, therefore, implore the divine assistance, in general, against all temptations, and especially when assailed by any particular temptation. This we find to have been the conduct of David, under almost every species of temptation. Against lying, he prays in these words: Take not thou the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; against covetousness: Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness; and against the vanities of this life and the allurements of concupiscence, he prays thus: Turn away my eyes, that they may not behold vanity.
We pray, therefore, that we yield not to evil desires, and be not wearied in enduring temptation; that we deviate not from the way of the Lord; that in adversity, as in prosperity, we preserve equanimity and fortitude; and that God may never deprive us of His protection. Finally, we pray that God may crush Satan beneath our feet. 351 Dispositions which should Accompany this PetitionThe pastor ought next to admonish the faithful concerning the chief thoughts and reflections that should accompany this prayer Distrust Of Self And Confidence In GodIt will, then, be found most efficacious, when offering this Petition that, remembering our weakness, we distrust our own strength; and that, placing all our hopes of safety in the divine goodness and relying on the divine protection, we encounter the greatest dangers with undaunted courage, calling to mind particularly the many persons, animated with such hope and resolution, who were delivered by God from the very jaws of Satan.
When Joseph was assailed by the criminal solicitations of a wicked woman, did not God rescue him from the imminent danger, and exalt him to the highest degree of glory? Did He not preserve Susanna, when beset by the ministers of Satan, and on the point of being made the victim of an iniquitous sentence? Nor is this surprising; for her heart, says the Scripture, trusted in the Lord. How exalted the praise, how great the glory of Job, who triumphed over the world, the flesh and the devil ! There are on record many similar examples to which the pastor should refer, in order to exhort with earnestness his pious hearers to this hope and confidence. Remembrance Of The Victory Of Christ And His SaintsThe faithful should also reflect who is their leader against the temptations of the enemy; namely, Christ the Lord, who was victorious in the same combat. He overcame the devil; He is that stronger man who, coming upon the strong armed man, overcame him, deprived him of his arms, and stripped him of his spoils. Of Christ’s victory over the world, we read in St. John: Have confidence: I have overcome the world; and in the Apocalypse, He is called the conquering lion; and it is. said of Him that He went forth conquering that He might conquer, because by His victory He has given power to others to conquer.’
The Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews abounds with the victories of holy men, who by faith conquered kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, etc. While we read of such achievements, we should also take into account the victories which are every day won by men eminent for faith, hope and charity, in their interior and exterior conflicts with the demons, — victories so numerous and so signal, that, were we spectators of them, we should deem no event of more frequent occurrence, none of more glorious issue. It was with reference to such defeats of the enemies that St. John wrote: I write unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.’ WatchfulnessSatan, however, is overcome not by indolence, sleep, wine, reveling, or lust; but by prayer, labor, watching, fasting, continence and chastity. Watch ye and pray, that ye enter not into temptation, as we have already said, is the admonition of our Lord. They who make use of these weapons in the conflict put the enemy to flight; for the devil flees from those who resist him. 352 The Author of victory over TemptationBut from the consideration of these victories achieved by holy men which we have mentioned, let no one indulge feelings of self-complacency, nor flatter himself that, by his own single unassisted exertions, he is able to withstand the temptations and hostile assaults of the demons. This is not within the power of human nature, nor within the capacity of human frailty.
The strength by which we lay prostrate the satellites of Satan comes from God, who maketh our arms as a bow of brass; by whose aid the bow of the mighty is overcome, and the weak are girt with strength; who giveth us the protection of salvation, whose right hand upholdeth us: who teacheth our hands to war, and our fingers to battle. Hence to God alone must thanks be given for victory, since it is only through His guidance and help that we are able to conquer. This the Apostle did; for he said: Thanks to God, who hath given us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. The voice from heaven, mentioned in the Apocalypse, also proclaims God to be the author of our victories: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth; and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” The same book declares that the victory obtained over the world and the flesh belongs to Christ the Lord, when it says: They shall fight with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them. But enough has now been said on the cause and the manner of conquering (temptation). The Rewards of Victories over temptationWhen these things have been explained, the pastor should instruct the faithful concerning the crowns prepared by God, and the eternal and superabundant rewards reserved for those who conquer. He should quote from the Apocalypse the following divine promises: He that shall overcome shall not be hurt by the second death; and in another place: He that shall overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. A little after, our divine Lord Himself thus addresses John: He that shall overcome, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God: and he shall go out no more: and again: To him that shall overcome, I win give to sit with me in my throne; as I also have overcome, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Finally, having unveiled the glory of the Saints, and the never ending bliss which they shall enjoy in heaven, He adds, He that shall overcome shall possess these things.
Action Line for July and August 2019Whether or not Pope Francis will impose his (mis)translated version of the sixth petition of the Our Fatheron the universal church is not known. But there can be no question that his actions will cause great confusion in Catholic pews not only in Novus Ordo parishes, but in Traditional parishes as well. Confusion is of Satan. Let us do our part to thwart his efforts.
We are therefore asking all League members to give the widest circulation to the above instruction from the Catechism of the Council of Trent to every Catholic priest and layman you know. The Catechism is in the public domain, so copyright is not an issue. However, the source and credits should be included in any transmission as we have done in this study guide as a common curtesy.