St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Catechesis on the "Our Father": 15. But deliver us from evil
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Here we are finally arrived at the seventh question of the "Our Father": "But deliver us from evil" (Mt 6,13b).
With this expression, the one who prays is not only asking not to be abandoned in the time of temptation, but also begging to be freed from evil. The original Greek verb is very strong: it evokes the presence of the evil one who tends to grasp and bite us (see 1 Pt 5: 8) and from which we ask God for liberation. The apostle Peter also says that the evil one, the devil, is around us like a furious lion, to devour us, and we ask God to deliver us.
With this double plea: "do not abandon us" and "deliver us", an essential characteristic of Christian prayer emerges. Jesus teaches his friends to put the invocation of the Father before everything, even and especially at times when the evil one makes his threatening presence felt. In fact, Christian prayer does not close its eyes on life. It is a filial prayer and not a childlike prayer. She is not so infatuated with the paternity of God that she forgets that the path of man is fraught with difficulties. If there were not the last verses of the "Our Father" how could sinners, the persecuted, the desperate, the dying pray? The last petition is the petition of us when we are in the limit, always.
There is an evil in our life, which is an indisputable presence. History books are the desolate catalog of how much our existence in this world has been an often failed adventure. There is a mysterious evil, which is certainly not the work of God but which penetrates silently into the folds of history. Silent like the snake that carries the poison silently. At times he seems to take over: on certain days his presence seems even sharper than that of God's mercy.
The person praying is not blind, and sees this evil that is so cumbersome and so at odds with the mystery of God itself before his eyes. He sees it in nature, in history, even in his own heart. Because there is no one among us who can say that they are exempt from evil, or not at least tempted. We all know what evil is; we all know what temptation is; all of us have experienced the temptation of any sin on our flesh. But it is the tempter that moves us and pushes us to evil, telling us: "do this, think this, go that way".
The last cry of the "Our Father" is hurled against this evil "with wide brims", which holds under its umbrella the most diverse experiences: the mourning of man, innocent pain, slavery, the exploitation of the other, the cry of innocent children. All these events protest in the heart of man and become a voice in the last word of Jesus' prayer.
It is precisely in the stories of the Passion that some expressions of the "Our Father" find their most striking echo. Jesus says: «Abba! Father! Everything is possible to you: remove this cup from me! But not what I want, but what you want "(Mk 14:36). Jesus fully experiences the piercing of evil. Not only death, but death on the cross. Not only loneliness, but also contempt, humiliation. Not only malice, but also cruelty, ruthlessness against Him. That's what man is: a being devoted to life, who dreams of love and good, but who then continually exposes himself to evil and his fellows, to the point that we can be tempted to despair of man.
Dear brothers and sisters, so the "Our Father" resembles a symphony that asks us to fulfill ourselves in each of us. The Christian knows how overwhelming the power of evil is, and at the same time he experiences how much Jesus, who has never succumbed to his flattery, is on our side and comes to our aid.
Thus the prayer of Jesus leaves us the most precious of inheritances: the presence of the Son of God who has freed us from evil, struggling to convert it. In the hour of the final fight, Peter intimates to put the sword back in its sheath, to the repentant thief secures heaven, to all the men around him, unaware of the tragedy that was taking place, offers a word of peace: "Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing "(Lk 23:34).
From the forgiveness of Jesus on the cross comes peace, true peace comes from the cross: it is a gift of the Risen One, a gift that Jesus gives us. Think that the first greeting of the risen Jesus is "peace to you", peace to your souls, to the your hearts, to your lives. The Lord gives us peace, gives us forgiveness but we must ask: "deliver us from evil", so as not to fall into evil. This is our hope, the strength that gives us the risen Jesus, who is here, among us: he is here. It is here with that strength that gives us to move forward, and promises to free us from evil.
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins venant des pays francophones, en particulier les jeunes de plusieurs collèges et écoles de France et les paroissiens de Sées et de Montélimar ! En ce temps pascal accueillons le don de la paix du cœur qui nous est fait par Jésus Ressuscité. C’est un don plus fort que le mal ! Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Ghana, Namibia, Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, China, Canada and the United States of America. I greet the representatives of university centres and institutes for studies on the family, gathered from different countries for the first Family International Monitor meeting, sponsored by the John Paul II Pontifical Institute. This meeting takes place on the occasion of the International Day of Families, which this year recalls the role of families in the care of creation, our common home. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!
Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an alle Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache. Jesus lädt uns im Evangelium ein, das Böse durch das Gute zu besiegen. Folgen wir seinem Beispiel, bitten wir den himmlischen Vater um seine Gnade und arbeiten wir gemeinsam für eine bessere Welt. Der Herr segne euch und eure Familien!
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y de Latinoamérica, en modo particular saludo a los sacerdotes participantes en el curso de actualización promovido por el Pontificio Colegio Español de San José. Los animo a que recen con espíritu renovado la oración que el Señor nos dejó, y a que la enseñen a cuantos los rodean, para que, reconociendo a Dios como Padre, nos conceda la paz, el más preciado don del Resucitado, más fuerte que ningún mal. Que el Señor los bendiga.
Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, de coração saúdo a todos, especialmente aos grupos de Aragoiânia e Curitiba, com votos de que brilhe sempre nos vossos corações a luz de Jesus ressuscitado. Encontramo-nos a meio do «Mês de Maria», que tradicionalmente chama o povo cristão a multiplicar os seus gestos diários de veneração e imitação da Mãe de Deus. Procuremos rezar o terço todos os dias, dedicando a Deus aquele mínimo de tempo que Lhe devemos. Assim aproximaremos dos homens o Céu. Sede para todos a bênção de Deus!
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، عندما ترك لنا يسوع "صلاة الأبانا" أرادنا أن نختتمها طالبين من الآب أن ينجِّنا من الشرّير. لا نفكِّرنَّ إذًا بأن الشرير هو مجرّد خرافة لأنّ هذا الأمر سيحملنا على عدم التيقُّظ، وهكذا، فيما نُضعِف دفاعنا، يستفيد هو من الوضع ليدمِّر حياتنا. لنُحافظ إذًا على "مصابيحنا مشتعلة" ولنستعمل الأسلحة القويّة التي يعطينا الربّ إياها: الإيمان الذي نعبّر عنه بالصلاة، والتأمّل في كلمة الله، سرّ المصالحة وأعمال المحبّة. ليبارككم الرب!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, when Jesus left us the "Our Father" he wanted us to finish by asking the Father to free us from the Evil One. We do not think therefore that it is a myth; such deception leads us to lower our guard, and so, while we reduce our defenses, he takes advantage of it to destroy our life, we are therefore with "the lamps lit", and we use the powerful weapons that the Lord gives us: the faith that is expresses in prayer, meditation on the Word of God, sacramental Reconciliation and works of charity.The Lord bless you!]
Przedwczoraj obchodziliśmy wspomnienie Matki Bożej Fatimskiej. 13 maja, to dzień Jej pierwszego objawienia i zamachu na życie św. Jana Pawła II. Pamiętamy jego wyznanie: „We wszystkim, co się wydarzyło, zobaczyłem… szczególną matczyną opiekę Maryi”. Wspomnijmy także słowa Matki Bożej: „Przyszłam upomnieć ludzkość, aby zmieniła życie i nie zasmucała Boga ciężkimi grzechami. Niech ludzie odmawiają różaniec i pokutują za grzechy”. Podejmijmy to polecenie, prosząc Maryję o Jej matczyną opiekę, o dar nawrócenia, ducha pokuty i pokój dla całego świata. Niepokalane Serce Maryi módl się za nami. Z serca wam błogosławię.
* * ************************************************
I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking faithful.
I am pleased to welcome the Capitulars of the Daughters of Jesus; the Religious of the Missionary College "Mater Ecclesiae" and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy.
I greet the parish groups; refugees from Libya, welcomed to Mondo Migliore; the Save the Children Italy Delegation; the Hannibal Mary of France Association; the extraordinary Casilina 1 and 2 reception centers in Rome; the Delegation of the municipality of Sacrofano; the Beyond Art Cooperative, from Matera; the Fiamme Gialle sports club; the Vailati School of Crema and schools, particularly those of Acireale and Castellamare di Stabia.
I am particularly interested in young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.
In this month of May dedicated to the Madonna, I invite you to imitate her. Be courageous and capable of opening your heart to God and to your brothers, to be instruments of God's mercy and tenderness.
[At the end of the Audience the Holy Father delivered a written greeting to the participants in the 24th Conference of the "International Catholic Jewish Liaison Committee"]