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Enchiridion On Faith, Hope and Love
by Saint Augustine


CHAPTER XXX

THE PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN LIVING: FAITH AND HOPE

114. Thus, from our confession of faith, briefly summarized in the Creed

(which is milk for babes when pondered at the carnal level but food for strong men

when it is considered and studied spiritually), there is born the good hope of the

faithful, accompanied by a holy love.241 But of these affirmations, all of which ought

faithfully to be believed, only those which have to do with hope are contained in the

237Cf. Ps. 77:9.

238Rom. 9:23.

239Matt. 25:46.

240Cf. Ps. 31:19.

241Note the artificial return to the triadic scheme of the treatise: faith, hope, and love.


Lord's Prayer. For "cursed is everyone," as the divine eloquence testified, "who rests

his hope in man."242 Thus, he who rests his hope in himself is bound by the bond of

this curse. Therefore, we should seek from none other than the Lord God whatever

it is that we hope to do well, or hope to obtain as reward for our good works.

115. Accordingly, in the Evangelist Matthew, the Lord's Prayer may be seen

to contain seven petitions: three of them ask for eternal goods, the other four for

temporal goods, which are, however, necessary for obtaining the eternal goods.

For when we say: "Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be

done on earth, as it is in heaven"243--this last being wrongly interpreted by some as

meaning "in body and spirit"--these blessings will be retained forever. They begin in

this life, of course; they are increased in us as we make progress, but in their

perfection--which is to be hoped for in the other life--they will be possessed forever!

But when we say: "Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we

forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,"244

who does not see that all these pertain to our needs in the present life? In that life

eternal--where we all hope to be--the hallowing of God's name, his Kingdom, and his

will, in our spirit and body will abide perfectly and immortally. But in this life we

ask for "daily bread" because it is necessary, in the measure required by soul and

body, whether we take the term in a spiritual or bodily sense, or both. And here too

it is that we petition for forgiveness, where the sins are committed; here too are the

temptations that allure and drive us to sinning; here, finally, the evil from which we

wish to be freed. But in that other world none of these things will be found.

116. However, the Evangelist Luke, in his version of the Lord's Prayer, has

brought together, not seven, but five petitions. Yet, obviously, there is no

discrepancy here, but rather, in his brief way, the Evangelist has shown us how the

seven petitions should be understood. Actually, God's name is even now hallowed in

the spirit, but the Kingdom of God is yet to come in the resurrection of the body.

Therefore, Luke was seeking to show that the third petition ["Thy will be done"] is a

repetition of the first two, and makes this better understood by omitting it. He then

adds three other petitions, concerning daily bread, forgiveness of sins, and

avoidance of temptation.245 However, what Matthew puts in the last place, "But

deliver us from evil," Luke leaves out, in order that we might understand that it

was included in what was previously said about temptation. This is, indeed, why

Matthew said, "But deliver us," instead of, "And deliver us," as if to indicate that

there is only one petition--"Will not this, but that"--so that anyone would realize

that he is being delivered from evil in that he is not being led into temptation.









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