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Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Fathers Speak: St. Cyprian of Carthage

The Fathers Speak:
St. Cyprian of Carthage

From his Treatise on the Lord’s Prayer, A.D. 251

After this we say: “Hallowed by thy name,” not that we want God to be made holy by our prayers, but because we seek from the Lord that His name be made holy in us.  Indeed, by whom could God be made holy, when it is He that sanctifies?  But because He Himself said, “Be holy as I too am holy,” we ask and seek that very thing, so that we who have been made holy in Baptism may persevere in what we have begun to be.  For this we do pray daily.  We have a daily need of being made holy, so that we who sin daily may be cleansed again of our sins by continual sanctification…
We continue and say: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” not as if praying that God may do as He wills, but that we may be able to do what God wills!...And in order that it might be done in us we have need of God’s will, that is, of His help and protection, since no one is strong by his own powers, but is safe only by the kindliness and mercy of God.
As the prayer continues, we ask and say, “Give us this day our daily bread.”…And we ask that this bread be given us daily, so that we who are in Christ and daily receive the Eucharist as the food of salvation, may not, by falling into some more grievous sin and then in abstaining from communicating, be withheld from the Heavenly Bread, and be separated from Christ’s Body…He Himself warns us, saying, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.”  Therefore do we ask that our Bread, which is Christ, be given to us daily, so that we who abide and live in Christ may not withdraw from his sanctification and from His Body.