The Lord’s Prayer

Posted by Thaddaeus

Background:  On December 3, 2017, the French Church changes the text and translation of the Our Father.  French Massgoers now say, “Do not let us enter into temptation,” where they used to say, “Do not submit us into temptation.”  In English, we say, “Lead us not into temptation.”  When asked about the change, Pope Francis tells an Italian bishop’s channel, it should not be lead us into temptation; since ‘’We fall into temptation.  God doesn’t push us.”  To some conservative Catholics, this seems like another example of sweeping modernization of the Church by the most liberal pontiff in Vatican history.  Actually it is not.  In fact, Vatican II suggested that the text and translation of the Our Father should be changed to “Do not submit us,” which is something that English speaking Catholic countries refused to adopt.  It is hugely important how Church liturgies are translated from Greek to Latin to local languages.     

The Lord’s Prayer:  The change adopted by the French is consistent with the decision by Pope Francis to decentralize most responsibility for the matter of text and translations to national bishop’s conferences.  The intent is to come up with something that is authentic to the words of Jesus.  Otherwise, we could revert to Aramaic.  You might be surprised to learn that the origin of the Our Father is found in a collection of apocryphal and pseudepigraphal literature called The Forgotten Books of Adam and Eve.  The books pre-date Jesus by more than 150 years.  It is Adams’ prayer to God.  It is handed down as part of the oral heritage of Judaism and Christianity since before the Great Flood.  The Greek word peirasmos is translated by St. Jerome as temptation, or test.  The phrase means, “And do not put us to the test,”  the so-called messianic woes; a period of severe trails before the end of the age - the final test.