Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pater noster expounded by St. Robert Bellarmine

For what cause do you prefer the Page 78Pater noster, before all other praiers?

M

First, because it is the most ex|cellent of all, being made by Christ himselfe, who is the supreame wis|dome. Secondly, because this praier is shortest, and so is easie to be lear|ned and kept in memorie, & with al ful of substance, conteyning all that we ought to demand of God: third|ly, because it is most profitable, and effectual, being made by him who is both our Iudge & our Aduocate, & therefore knoweth better then any other, how we ought to demaunde, that we may obtaine. Fourthlie it is the most necessarie of all others, in regard that all Christians are bound to know it, & to repeate it euery day, and therefore it is called the dailie praier, that is to say, prayer to be said euery day.

S

Declare then (I pray you) those wordes: Our Father which art in heauen.

Page 79
M

These few words are, as it were a litle preface, or a preparation to the praier. For in saying that God is our Father, we take corage & confid├Ęce, to pray vnto him: in saying hee is in heauē, we remember our selues, that we ought to go vnto him with great feare & humilitie, seeing he is notan earthly father, but an heauēly: again, saying he is a Father, wee consider that he is willing to pleasure vs, in that wee demaund; in saying hee is in heauen as Lord & master of the world, we vnderstande that he can do so much as he wil. Finally, in say|ing he is a Father, we remember that we are children of God, & heires of heauen, in saying he is in heauen; & considering that we are on earth, we remēber that we haue not the pos|session of our inheritance, but that wee are pilgrims and trauellers, in a land of our enemies, and therefore stand in great neede of his helpe.

Page 80
S

Declare (if you please) vnto mee all the words in particular.

M

The worde Father, albeit it be|longeth to God, as he is Father of all things by creation, yet in this pray|er, it is vnderstood of God, as hee is the Father of good Christians by a|doption. It is true also that sinners may say vnto God, Our father, who desire to be conuerted to him, & to become his childrē. And only those cannot truly saye, the Pater noster, who neither are, nor desire to be the children of God, not thinking at all of amending themselues.

S

Wherefore is it said, Our Father, and not my Father?

M

It is said, Our Father, to the end wee may vnderstand that we are all brethren, and as brethren ought to loue, and be vnited together, being the children of one & the same Fa|ther. It is also said, Our Father, to teach vs, that a cōmon praier is better Page 65then a priuate, and more profitable also vnto him that doth pray: for that whiles each one saith: Our Fa|ther, euerie one prayeth for al, and al pray for euerie one.

S

Wherefore is it said, Which are in heauen? is not God in al places?

M

God is said to dwel in heauen, not for that he is not in al places: but because heauen is the most noble part of the world, and in it doth ap|peare the greatnes, powre, and wis|dome of God. Finally in it, God vouchsafeth to be seene face to face, of the Angels, and blessed men. It may be also said, that God is in hea|uen, because he dwelleth in a per|ticuler manner, in the Angels, & in holie mē, who are spiritual heauens.

S

Let vs now come vnto the first petition, what meaneth: Hallowed be thy name?

M

Name in this place, signifieth same and renoume, as when we say Page 82 that one hath a great name, because he is knowne of manie. Or that he hath a good name, or an euil name; because he hath a good fame, or an euil fame, being knowne of manie and commended for good, or dis|commended for bad. Wherefore to sanctifie the name of God, is no|thing els, then to publish through the world the knowledge of God, & to conserue it pure and holie in the hartes and mouthes of men, as in it selfe it is. And because there are in the world manie infidels, who know not God, and manie euil Christians, that blaspheme & curse him, there|fore those that are the children of God, and haue zeale of the honour of their father, do praie with great desire, that his name may be sancti|fied, that is, that it be through the whole world knowen, adored, cōfes|sed, praised & blessed, as is conueniēt

S

Seing wee desire, that God bee Page 83 knowen, and praised of men, were it not better to demand it of men, thē of God.

M

Man is not able of him self, nei|ther to knowe, nor to praise God, & therfore we demand of God, that he wil worke with his grace in that maner, that the Infidels, and other sinners may be conuerred, & being conuered, beginne to know & praise his holie name.

S

Wherefore is the prayer begune with demanding, that the name of God be sanctified?

M

We are bound to loue God aboue al things, & more then our selues; & therefore our first, & most frequent desire ought to be of the glorie of God, and for this cause were we cre|ated, and endued with reason, to the end we may know, and praise God: wherein also doth consist our chifest good, as we shal say here after.

S

Declare vnto me now the second Page 84 petition: Thy kingdome come,

M

In this petition, in fit place we demand our owne saluation, after that in the first we demanded the glorie of God?

S

What is to be vnderstood, by the kingdome of God?

M

The kingdome of God may be vnderstood three maner of waies: for we finde a kingdome of nature, a kingdom of grace, and a kingdome of glorie. The kingdome of nature is that, where with God gouerneth al the creatures, as absolute Lord of al things. For albeit peruerse men do euil, and obserue not the law of God, yet God doth raigne ouer thē, for that when it pleaseth him he hin|dereth their disignmentes. And though he permit them sometimes to haue their desires, afterwardes hee punisheth them seuerely: and there is none that can resist his wil, nor that can do otherwise, then he Page 85ordaineth or permitteth. The king|dome of grace is that, wherewith God gouerneth & ruleth the soules, & harts of good Christians, giuing them spirite and grace to serue him willingly, & to seeke his glorie aboue all things. The kingdome of glorie shalbe in the other life, after the day of iudgement: for that then God wil raigne with all the Saints, ouer all things created, without any resistāce For thē al the force of the diuels shal be taken away, & also of al peruerse men, who shalbe shut vp in eternall prison of hel. In that time shal death also be extinguished, & corruption, with al the tentations of the world & of the flesh, which now trouble the seruāts of God. So that shalbe quiet & peaceable kingdome, with secure possessiō of perfect & eternal felicity

S

Which of these three kingdomes s spoken of, in this petition?

M

Not of the first: for that is not to Page 86 come, but is now come. Neither of the second, for that is spoken of in the first petition, & is in a great part already come. But here is spoken of the third, which is to come, and is ex|pected with great desire, of al those that know the miserie of this life: & so in this petition we demand our chiefe good, and the perfect glory of both soule and bodie.

S

If the kingdome of God (which we desire may comequickly) shal be|gin after the day of Iudgment, then we desire & demand that this world should speedely end, & that the day of iudgement should come shortly.

M

So it is: for thought the louers of the world can haue no worse newes, then to heare the day of Iudgement named: yet the citiznes of heauen, who liue now as pilgrimes, and ba|nished men here below in earth, haue no other greater desire: Where vpon S. Augustin saith, that like as Page 87before Christ came into the world, al the desires of the Saincts of the ancient law, were directed to the first comming of Christ: so now al the de|sires of holie men of the new law, are directed to the second comming of the same Christ, which wil bring vs perfect beatitude.

S

Let vs passe vnto the third petiti|on. What do those wordes signifie: Thy wil be done, in earth, as it is in heauen.

M

In these words is demanded grace, to obserue wel the law of god. For that the eternal life, which is the end of man being demanded in the second petition, it was conuenient, that the principal meanes to arriue vnto that end should be demanded next after: & this principal meanes is the obseruing of the commande|ments of God, as our lord hath said: if thou wilt enter into eternall life: keep the commandements: & for so Page 88much as wee are not able of our selues, to kepe all the commande|ments in such sorte as we ought, therefore we demand of God, that his wil be done by vs: that is, that he geue vs grace to fulfil his wil, in obeying wholly, and in al things his holie commandements.

S

I desire to know, whether that besides the fulfilling the wil of God in obseruing the commandements, we are bound also to conforme our willes with Gods wil, when he sen|deth vs tribulations?

M

We are bound at the lest, not to murmour, nor to grudge at the pro|uidence of God: because al that he sendeth or permitteth, he doth it to a good end: to wit, to giue vs occasi|on of greater merite, if we be good: or els to purge vs if we be bad?

S

To what purpose is added: In earth as it is in heauen;

M

To teach vs, that we ought to Page 89 endeuour to obey God, and to ob|serue his holie commandements, with that perfection, promptnes & gladnes, with which the Angels do obey in heauen: who neuer commit|ted anie litle default in obseruing al the commandements of God. It may be also said that we desire; and demaund, that sinners, signified by the earth, may obey God, as the Saints do obey him who are signifi|ed by heauen, Or els that the whole Church, signified by the earth may intirely obey God, as Christ, who is signified by heauen, obeyd him.

S

Let vs come vnto the fourth pe|tition: what meaneth, Geue vs this day our daylie bread?

M

With great reason, bread is de|manded that mainteineth life, after that grace hath been demanded, which is life it selfe, For that the first thing, that anie one begining to liue desireth, is food, where with life is Page 90maintained. But you haue to vnder|stande, that in this prayer, spirituall bread is principally demaunded, which is the meate of the soule: and secondarily corporall bread, which is the food for the body. And by spi|rituall bread, is vnderstood the most holy Sacrament of the altar, that is the celestial and diuine bread, which merueilously nourisheth the life of the soule: & likewise the word of god is vnderstood, which by preaching or reading of spirituall bookes, help|eth no little to nourish the same life of the soule. Finally is vnderstood, the inspiration of God, prayer, and euery other thing, which helpeth to maintaine and increase grace in vs, the which (as is saide) is the life of the soule. By corporall bread is vn|derstood all that is needful vnto vs, to maintaine the life of the bodie, which is as an instrument of the soule, to do good workes.

Page 94
S

Wherefore is it saide, that this bread is ours.

M

With great mysterie this bread is called ours, for if we speake of the blessed Sacrament, that is our bread, because of our saluation it was form|ed by the holy ghost, in the wombe of the blessed Virgin, and in a cer|taine manner, bakte in the Ouen of the holy Crosse, & serued vp, on the table of the Altar, by the handes of Priests. And moreouer it is ours, be|cause it is the bread proper of the children, and may not be giuen vn|to dogges, that is to say, to Infidels, nor to those that are in mortall sinne. If wee speake of the doctrine, wee call it our bread, to witte, that which is distributed by the true preachers, vnto the children of the Holy Church, and not the strange bread, to wit, that which al heretikes giue vnto their followers, which is corrupt and pestiferous bread. But if Page 92we speake of corporall bread, we de|fire that God will giue vs our owne bread, and not that which belong|eth to others, to wit, that he wil help vs in iust and lawfull gaines. And a|gaine, that he blesse our lands, pos|sessions, and all our labours, to the end, that without injurie and fraud, we may procure our liuing.

S

Wherefore is it saide, that this bread is dailie?

M

It is called dailie, that is to saye, bread for euerie daye, for that wee desire not superfluous or curious things, but simply that which may suffice for the daies refection: and as well for the soule as for the bodie, e|specially knowing that wee are pil|grims, and strangers in this life.

S

Wherfore is it said: Giue vnto vs?

M

Because, albeit we are willing to labour to haue bread, as well spiri|tuall as corporall, yet wee know that our labours should all bee vaine, if Page 93God concurred not with his grace: as we often see that how much soe|uer men labour to sowe and reape, yet dearth doth happen for the sins of the world. We demaund also, that God giue vs our bread, that is to say, that not only he helpe vs to procure and gaine it, but that he also blesse and sanctifie it, when we vse it: that it may do vs good and be profitable both to soule and bodie.

S

Wherefore is annexed that worde this day?

M

The word, this day, signifyeth the whole time of this temporal life, and so we demand of God, that du|ring the time of this life he sustaine vs, with spiritual and corporal bread vntill wee arriue vnto our heauenly cuntrey, where we shall haue no need more of Sacraments of preachings, nor of corporall foode. It may be al|so said, that we demand of God that he giue vs to day this bread, because Page 64wee will not bee solicitous for the morrow, not knowing whether wee shall be liuing to morrow or no. And so our Lorde hath taught vs, not to trouble our selues, with things that be not present. So that we demand this daye, the bread which is suffici|ent for this day: & that for the mor|rew, we shal demand to morrow.

S

There ariseth a new doubt to me, of that which you haue saide: for if wee ought not to trouble our selues with any thing, but with that which is present they doe euill, that make prouision of corne, of wine, and of o|ther necessaries, for the whole yeare.

M

Our Lord, when he taught vs, not to trouble our selues with things not present, meant nothing else, but to deliuer vs of superfluous cares, which do greatly hinder prayers, & other things of greater importance, that belong vnto the gaining of e|ternal life. And therefore when the Page 95care for things to come, is not super|fluous: but necessarie, as to make such prouision as you speake of, it is not euil to think of that, which is to come. Yea rather such a thought is not of the morow, but of this day: for if we should not thinke of it vntill to morow, we shuld not haue so fit time

S

The fift petition followeth: What meaneth, And forgiue vs our debts, as we also forgiue our debters?

M

We haue already, in the foure pe|titions that goe before, demanded of god, that he wil giue vs all things, as wel eternall as temporal: now in the three following, we demand, that he wil deliuer vs frō al euil past, present & to come: And so you see it is true which I said before, that in this prai|er is contained al that we can desire. Wee demaund then in this petiti|on, that God deliuer vs from euill, that is paste, to witte, from the sinnes which wee haue committed, so Page 96for so our Lorde declared vnto the holy Apostles, when he taught them this prayer; that by debts they ought to vnderstand sinnes.

S

For what cause are sinnes called debts?

M

For three causes. First, because euery man that sinneth, remaineth debter to satisfie God for the injurie which he hath done him. Secondly, because he that sinneth, doth trans|gresse the law of God; and because the same lawe promiseth rewarde to all that obserue it, and punishment to him that doth not obserue it, there+fore he that obserueth it not, remay|neth debter to paye the penaltie. Thirdly, because each one of vs is bound to cultiuate (or manure) the vineard of his soule, and to yeeld to God the fruite of his good workes. Therefore hee that doth not good workes, & much more he that doth euil works, insteed of good, is debter Page 97to god, who is the true lord of al vin|yards: & because al we do often faile aswel in doing that we ought not, as in doing that we ought: therfore it is cōuenient that oftentimes euery day we humbly desire of God that hee remit our debts.

S

Wherefore is it added, as we also forgiue our debters

M

Here likewise by debtes, are vn|derstood the offences iniuries, which we receiue of ouer neighbours. And wee desire of God, that hee will pardon our offences, as wee pardon them, that haue offended vs: for that like as he who pardoneth the offen|ces receiued of his neighbour, is more disposed to receiue pardon of his offences committed against God so contrariwise, he that will not par|don the iniuries of his neighbour, doth make himselfe vnworthie, that God should pardon him. Finally, in saying that we pardon the iniuries of our neighbours, wee make knowne, Page 98that mercie doth please vs, and that we make account, that to pardon is a magnanimous & a notable thing. To the ende that when we demande mercie of God, he may not answere vs, how wouldest thou that I should vse mercie towards thee, seeing thou doest hate mercie towards others? & how doest thou demand pardon of me, seing thou esteemest pardoning as an act of a base minde.

S

Declare then vnto me, I pray you the sixt petition. And leade vs not into tentation.

M

In this petitiō is demanded help against euil to come: to wit, against tentations, which are occasions that make vs fall into sin. Here you haue to know that principally it is deman|ded, that God permit vs not to bee vanquished & ouercome by tētati|ons: & because tentatiōs are dange|rous, & the victorie doubtful, there|fore we demand also that God per|mit Page 99vs not to bee tempted, chiefly when he seeth that the victorie shall not be ours, but the diuels: & of this you are to draw an excellent lesson, to wit, that not only the diuel cānot ouercome vs, but also that he cānot so much as tempt vs, if God doe not permit him.

S

I doe not well vnderstande that speach: Lead vs not into tentatiō: for it may seeme to haue this sense, that god vseth to lead men into tentatiōs and that we desire him not to do it?

M

To bring or lead into tentations whether it be to tempt to euil, or to cause one to fall into sinne, is proper to the diuel, & pertaineth in no re|spect to God, who greately hateth sinne. But after the manner of spea|king in Holie Scripture, when God is said to induce or leade into tenta|tion, it is nothing else, but to permit that one be tempted, or ouercome by tentation: so the sense of this peti|tion Page 100is no other but as we haue said, that knowing our owne weakenes & frailtie, and on the othet side, the subtiltie and force of the diuel, we desire of God, not only that he wil not permit vs to be ouerthrowne by temptations, but also that he permit vs not to be tempted, if he see not, that we shall remaine victorious.

S

The last petition remaineth: But deliuer vs from euill. What euill is spoke of in this petition?

M

This last petition doth in parte confirme the former petitions, and partly it addeth some things more. And therefore it saith: But deliuer vs from euill, that is, I do not onely de|mand that thou remit vnto vs our sinnes past, and defend vs from sins to come: but moreouer, that thou deliuer vs also from all present euil. And marke well that our Lord with great wisdome teacheth vs, to de|mand to be deliuered from all euill Page 105and commeth not to particulars, as to pouertie, sicknes, persecutions, & the like, For that oftentimes it doth seeme vnto vs, that a thing is good for vs, which God doth see is euill. And contrariwise it seemeth to vs, that a thing is euil, which God seeth is good for vs. And therefore accor|ding to the instruction of our Lord, we demand, that he deliuer vs from all that which he seeth is euil for vs, be it prosperitie or aduersitie.

S

What meaneth Amen?

M
This is an Hebrew word, & (as I haue already said vnto you) it signi|fyeth, so be it: or, so it is. And as in the end of the Creed Amen signify|eth so it is, and so I beleeue: In like maner, in the end of the Pater noster, Amen signifyeth, so be it, so I desire, and so I pray that it may be done.

Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Pillar of Scourging of Our Lord JESUS

Pillar of Scourging of Our Lord JESUS

Shroud of Turin

Shroud of Turin