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Lead Us Not into Temptation, Part 1: Using Active-Will Language to Speak of Divine Allowance

A guest post by Fr. Andrew Dalton, LC (andrew.dalton@upra.org). 

This is the second of three guest posts in response to both Dr. Mark Ward’s post on the Logos Blog that responded to Pope Francis’s comments on the “lead us not into temptation” petition in the Our Father.  Fr. Devin Roza, LC provided some helpful context in a post yesterday.  Over the weekend, we will post Part 2.

Pope Francis’ recent comments regarding “lead us not into temptation” have catalyzed a flurry of commentary just in time for Christmas. Dr. Mark Ward’s brilliant article has become one of the most precious presents under my tree. His respectful critique has made me grapple with God’s Word in new ways, and I now stand in deeper awe of it.

In his response to Dr. Ward, Fr. Devin Roza goes beyond the call of duty to contextualize the words of the Holy Father. His treatment is so thorough that it is hard to imagine room for residual doubt—the pope was not bringing a sledgehammer down upon sacred traditions, nor was he tearing Scripture to shreds. He was shining Christ’s light upon the “peripheries of existence.”

As Fr. Roza shows, to interpret papal parlance, context is key. The same principle holds when reading the inspired words of Matthew.

I am slightly concerned that the latest explanations of the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer have isolated it from its context. To my mind, most recent commentary gives too little attention to the unity of the Our Father, especially its two “halves” (consisting of three “thou-petitions” and four “we-petitions”), which are best conceived as units. Jesus did not teach us to pray seven disconnected petitions.

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