CCC 385 God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? “I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution”, said St. Augustine,1 and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawlessness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our religion”.2 The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace.3 We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.4
CCC 443 Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah’s divine sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood. To his accusers’ question before the Sanhedrin, “Are you the Son of God, then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am.”5 Well before this, Jesus referred to himself as “the Son” who knows the Father, as distinct from the “servants” God had earlier sent to his people; he is superior even to the angels.6 He distinguished his sonship from that of his disciples by never saying “our Father”, except to command them: “You, then, pray like this: ‘Our Father’”, and he emphasized this distinction, saying “my Father and your Father”.7
CCC 520 In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is “the perfect man”,8 who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way.9
CCC 700 The finger. “It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons.”10 If God’s law was written on tablets of stone “by the finger of God,” then the “letter from Christ” entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written “with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”11 The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the “finger of the Father’s right hand.”12
CCC 728 Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been glorified through his Death and Resurrection. Nevertheless, little by little he alludes to him even in his teaching of the multitudes, as when he reveals that his own flesh will be food for the life of the world.13 He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus,14 to the Samaritan woman,15 and to those who take part in the feast of Tabernacles.16 To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer17 and with the witness they will have to bear.18
CCC 1425 “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”19 One must appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us in the sacraments of Christian initiation in order to grasp the degree to which sin is excluded for him who has “put on Christ.”20 But the apostle John also says: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”21 And the Lord himself taught us to pray: “Forgive us our trespasses,”22 linking our forgiveness of one another’s offenses to the forgiveness of our sins that God will grant us.
CCC 1969 The New Law practices the acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the “Father who sees in secret,” in contrast with the desire to “be seen by men.”23 Its prayer is the Our Father.24
CCC 2601 “He was praying in a certain place and when he had ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.”’25 In seeing the Master at prayer the disciple of Christ also wants to pray. By contemplating and hearing the Son, the master of prayer, the children learn to pray to the Father.
CCC 2613 Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke:
– The first, “the importunate friend,”26 invites us to urgent prayer: “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts.
– The second, “the importunate widow,”27 is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
– The third parable, “the Pharisee and the tax collector,”28 concerns the humility of the heart that prays. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” The Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!
CCC 2632 Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ.29 There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community.30 It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer.31 By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom.
CCC 2671 The traditional form of petition to the Holy Spirit is to invoke the Father through Christ our Lord to give us the Consoler Spirit.32 Jesus insists on this petition to be made in his name at the very moment when he promises the gift of the Spirit of Truth.33 But the simplest and most direct prayer is also traditional, “Come, Holy Spirit,” and every liturgical tradition has developed it in antiphons and hymns.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.34
Heavenly King, Consoler Spirit, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere and filling all things, treasure of all good and source of all life, come dwell in us, cleanse and save us, you who are All Good.35
CCC 2759 Jesus “was praying at a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’”36 In response to this request the Lord entrusts to his disciples and to his Church the fundamental Christian prayer. St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions,37 while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions.38 The liturgical tradition of the Church has retained St. Matthew’s text:
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
1 St. Augustine, Conf. 7,7,11: PL 32,739.
2 2 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim 3:16.
3 Cf. Rom 5:20.
4 Cf. Lk 11:21-22; Jn 16:11; 1 Jn 3:8.
5 Lk 22:70; cf. Mt 26:64; Mk 14:61-62.
6 Cf. Mt 11:27; 21:34-38; 24:36.
7 Mt 5:48; 6:8-9; 7:21; Lk 11:13; Jn 20:17.
8 GS 38; cf. Rom 1 5:5; Phil 2:5.
9 Cf. Jn 13:15; Lk 11:1; Mt 5:11-12.
10 Lk 11:20.
11 Ex 31:18; 2 Cor 3:3.
12 LH, Easter Season after Ascension, Hymn at Vespers: digitus paternae dexterae.
13 Cf. Jn 6:27, 51, 62-63.
14 Cf. Jn 3:5-8.
15 Cf. Jn 4:10, 14, 23-24.
16 Cf. Jn 7:37-39.
17 Cf. Lk 11:13.
18 Cf. Mt 10:19-20.
19 1 Cor 6:11.
20 Gal 3:27.
21 1 Jn 1:8.
22 Cf. Lk 11:4; Mt 6:12.
23 Cf. Mt 6:1-6; 16-18.
24 Cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4.
25 Lk 11:1.
26 Cf. Lk 11:5-13.
27 Cf. Lk 18:1-8.
28 Cf. Lk 18:9-14.
29 Cf. Mt 6:10, 33; Lk 11:2,13.
30 Cf. Acts 6:6; 13:3.
31 Cf. Rom 10:1; Eph 1:16-23; Phil 1911; Col 1:3-6; 4:3-4, 12.
32 Cf. Lk 11:13.
33 Cf. Jn 14:17; 15:26; 16:13.
34 Roman Missal, Pentecost Sequence.
35 Byzantine Liturgy, Pentecost Vespers, Troparion.
36 Lk 11:1.
37 Cf. Lk 11:2-4.
38 Cf. Mt 6:9-13.