The Fatherhood of God

On the Lord's Prayer
by Cassian, 4th century

And Lead us not into temptation

The request `Lead us not into temptation' raises a difficult problem. If we pray God not to allow us to be tempted, what opportunity shall we have to give him proof of our steadfastness and fidelity? For it is written: `Blessed is the one who endures temptation and overcomes it.' [cf. James.1:12]

Then what is the meaning of this phrase? It does  not mean: do not allow us to come into temptation. It means: when we come into temptation, let us not be defeated by it. Job was tempted but he did not give way to the temptation. In fact, he did not accuse the divine Wisdom, he did not go down the road of blasphemy to which the Tempter wanted to attract him.

Abraham was tempted, and Joseph was tempted. But neither one nor the other yielded to the temptation, because neither of them said `yes' to the Tempter. So praying the Lord's Prayer is like saying: `Together with the temptation, give us also the strength to overcome it.' [1 Cor. 10:13]

[Breviario Patristico © 1971 Piero Gribaudi Editore, Turin, Italy; translated by Paul Drake]

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