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Lead us not into temptation

“The reason for our hope”

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During the prayer of the Our Father, it certainly happened to everyone, to remain perplexed in the face of the invocation "Lead us not into temptation". The doubt is in the verb " to lead ". This is a very faithful and literal translation of the Greek verb, that is, the language in which the Gospels came to us. In our language the translation of the verb  becomes “ to lead”  with the consequent uncertainty: can God really lead man into temptation?

On this question, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, at No. 2846, through an appropriate explanation, introduces us into the true meaning of the Greek verb which is difficult to translate with a single word: "do not allow us to enter", " do not let us yield to temptation”, for “God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13).

God, the Father rich in Love, wants only the Good of His children and certainly does not want to expose them to evil, but He helps them get back on their feet when they let themselves be overcome by temptations, which are always lurking.

Therefore, the phrase “lead us not into temptation" is a plea to God not to leave our hand, not to abandon us to temptation, as is reported in the last CEI edition of the Gospel (Lk 11: 4; Mt 6, 13). In this regard Pope Francis, in the book "Our Father" affirms the need to change the expression in the Lord’s prayer from " lead us not into temptation " to the more correct " do not let us fall into temptation " so that what Jesus intended to make us ask in His prayer may be clearer to everyone.

Also the French  people - the Pope recalls - have changed the text with the new translation "do not let us give in to temptation " rather than the previous  one " do not expose us to temptation ".

We are the ones to give in, to fall, it is not God to throw us into temptation, the Pope reaffirms. It’s Satan that induces man to temptation, his job is just that. In the Gospel of Luke, in the chapter of temptations his traps are evident, and as he did with Jesus, Satan tempts each of us in the moment of greatest weakness. Jesus wanted to share totally the life of man and therefore also his temptations, but not giving in to them, not postponing God to them.

Here we can measure our faith and give meaning to our prayer, implore our Heavenly Father to hold us in His hand, because the deception, the fight is hard. We should implore Him like Peter, who fearing to drown, implored Jesus to give him His hand: "Lord, save me" (Mt 14:30).

Jesus is our anchor, our hope! He teaches us to emerge victorious from the constant fighting of life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us: " It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony." (CCC 2849).

The merciful Father of the parable (Lk 15, 11-32), is only able to conjugate the verb " to love" - recalls Pope Francis in the general audience of June 7, 2017 -  He feels above all the need to forgive, and with his embrace he conveys to his son that he had missed him, his fatherly love had painfully missed him.

What an unfathomable mystery is God’s  love, His being a Father.  It is perhaps for this reason that Saint Paul in his Epistles does not feel up to translating into Greek an Aramaic word which Jesus pronounced as “Abba” when He addressed the Father (see Rom 8, 15; Gal 4,6).  “Abba” is a term which is even more intimate than “father”, and which some translate as “Dad, Papa”.

What an inexplicable mystery is His constant closeness to man.  He will never be a God “without man”, because It is He who cannot be without man, God cannot be God without man: this is a great mystery! And this certainty is the source of our hope.

Jesus is an example for us, He teaches us to turn to the Father with great confidence. Our Father who is in Heaven knows all our materials and spiritual needs, He looks at them and always looks at us with love, and does not abandon us (Audience of June 7, 2017 He looks and meets our needs in advance. This is His Mercy.

The fall in temptation is entirely on the part of the man who is incapable of watching over himself; man is obstinate in not wanting to recognize that help, support from God, his true Father, is a certainty. When man is convinced that the human will means freedom from communion with God, that is that he can do without God, then this freedom can be a prelude to fall and death.

In a passage from 1923, Jesus explains to Luisa Piccarreta that freedom is a right that God has given to man in creating him and God can never take it away from man. How could God ever lead man into temptation?  God does not even force us to do good because He wants people to be free. He wants us, as free people, aware of our misery, by virtue of this gift, to ask the Father:


Give us your Will,

that we may reject all temptations



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