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The Offering and Power of Prayer in Spirit and in Truth
 
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Tertullian - The offering and power of prayer in spirit and in truth
The Offering and Power of Prayer in Spirit and in Truth
The Offering and Power of Prayer in Spirit and in Truth
The Offering and Power of Prayer in Spirit and in Truth
 
 
 

 
 

Christ on the Mount of Olives by Josef August Untersberger (1864-1933);
commons.wikimedia.org
 
 
The spiritual offering of prayer
From the treatise "On Prayer" by Tertullian (155-c.240 AD), priest
(Cap. 28-29; CCL 1, 273-274)


Prayer is the offering in spirit that has done away with the sacrifices of old. What good do I receive from the multiplicity of your sacrifices? asks God. I have enough of burnt offerings of rams, and I do not want the fat of lambs and the blood of bulls and goats. Who has asked for these from your hands?

What God has asked for we learn from the Gospel. The hour will come, he says, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. God is a spirit and so he looks for worshipers who are like himself.

We are true worshipers and true priests. We pray in spirit, and so offer in spirit the sacrifice of prayer. Prayer is an offering that belongs to God and is acceptable to him: it is the offering he has asked for, the offering he planned as his own.

We must dedicate this offering with our whole heart, we must fatten it on faith, tend it by truth, keep it unblemished through innocence and clean through chastity, and crown it with love. We must escort it to the altar of God in a procession of good works to the sound of psalms and hymns. Then it will gain for us all that we ask of God.

Since God asks for prayer offered in spirit and in truth, how can he deny anything to this kind of prayer? How great is the evidence of its power, as we read and hear, and believe.

Of old, prayer was able to rescue from fire and beasts and hunger, even before it received its perfection from Christ. How much greater then is the power of Christian prayer. No longer does prayer bring an angel of comfort to the heart of a fiery furnace, or close up the mouths of lions, or transport to the hungry food from the fields. No longer does it remove all sense of pain by the grace it wins for others.

But it gives the armor of patience to those who suffer, who feel pain, who are distressed. It strengthens the power of grace, so that faith may know what it is gaining from the Lord, and understand what it is suffering for the name of God.

In the past, prayer was able to bring down punishment, rout armies, withhold the blessing of rain. Now, however, the prayer of the just turns aside the whole anger of God, keeps vigil for its enemies, pleads for persecutors. Is it any wonder that it can call down water from heaven when it could obtain fire from heaven as well?

Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God. But Christ has willed that it should work no evil, and has given it all power over good.

Its only art is to call back the souls of the dead from the very journey into death, to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent from their chains.

Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, brings travelers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, overrules the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.

All the angels pray. Every creature prays. Cattle and wild beasts pray and bend the knee. As they come from their barns and caves they look up to heaven and call out, lifting up their spirit in their own fashion. The birds too rise and lift themselves up to heaven: they open out their wings, instead of hands, in the form of a cross and give voice to what seems to be a prayer.

What more need be said on this duty of prayer? Even the Lord himself prayed. To him be honor and power for ever and ever. Amen.

PRAYER

We implore your majesty most humbly, O Lord, that, as the feast of our salvation draws ever closer, so we may press forward all the more eagerly towards the worthy celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, Amen.

 
The spiritual offering of prayer
From the treatise "On Prayer" by Tertullian (155-c.240 AD), priest
(Cap. 28-29; CCL 1, 273-274)


Prayer is the offering in spirit that has done away with the sacrifices of old. What good do I receive from the multiplicity of your sacrifices? asks God. I have enough of burnt offerings of rams, and I do not want the fat of lambs and the blood of bulls and goats. Who has asked for these from your hands?

What God has asked for we learn from the Gospel. The hour will come, he says, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. God is a spirit and so he looks for worshipers who are like himself.

We are true worshipers and true priests. We pray in spirit, and so offer in spirit the sacrifice of prayer. Prayer is an offering that belongs to God and is acceptable to him: it is the offering he has asked for, the offering he planned as his own.

We must dedicate this offering with our whole heart, we must fatten it on faith, tend it by truth, keep it unblemished through innocence and clean through chastity, and crown it with love. We must escort it to the altar of God in a procession of good works to the sound of psalms and hymns. Then it will gain for us all that we ask of God.

Since God asks for prayer offered in spirit and in truth, how can he deny anything to this kind of prayer? How great is the evidence of its power, as we read and hear, and believe.

Of old, prayer was able to rescue from fire and beasts and hunger, even before it received its perfection from Christ. How much greater then is the power of Christian prayer. No longer does prayer bring an angel of comfort to the heart of a fiery furnace, or close up the mouths of lions, or transport to the hungry food from the fields. No longer does it remove all sense of pain by the grace it wins for others.

But it gives the armor of patience to those who suffer, who feel pain, who are distressed. It strengthens the power of grace, so that faith may know what it is gaining from the Lord, and understand what it is suffering for the name of God.

In the past, prayer was able to bring down punishment, rout armies, withhold the blessing of rain. Now, however, the prayer of the just turns aside the whole anger of God, keeps vigil for its enemies, pleads for persecutors. Is it any wonder that it can call down water from heaven when it could obtain fire from heaven as well?

Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God. But Christ has willed that it should work no evil, and has given it all power over good.

Its only art is to call back the souls of the dead from the very journey into death, to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent from their chains.

Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, brings travelers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, overrules the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.

All the angels pray. Every creature prays. Cattle and wild beasts pray and bend the knee. As they come from their barns and caves they look up to heaven and call out, lifting up their spirit in their own fashion. The birds too rise and lift themselves up to heaven: they open out their wings, instead of hands, in the form of a cross and give voice to what seems to be a prayer.

What more need be said on this duty of prayer? Even the Lord himself prayed. To him be honor and power for ever and ever. Amen.

PRAYER

We implore your majesty most humbly, O Lord, that, as the feast of our salvation draws ever closer, so we may press forward all the more eagerly towards the worthy celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, Amen.



 
 
 
 
Tertullian (155-240 AD), theologian and prolific early Christian author from Carthage - The Offering and Power of Prayer in Spirit and in Truth


 
 

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OUR FATHER

Our Father, Who Art In Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Liberate us from all temptation[*]
And deliver us from all evil. Amen



[*] Liberate us is in keeping with the original Latin text.
       God usually does not "lead us" to temptation
       (unless we are tested),
       but gives us the grace to overcome and/or resist it
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HAIL MARY

Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art though among women,
And blessed is the fruit
Of thy womb, Jesus.
 
Holy Mary, Mary of God
Pray for us sinners
Now, and in the hour
Of our death. Amen


 
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APOSTLE'S CREED
I believe in God, the Father Almighty
Creator of Heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the
[work and grace of the] Holy Ghost,[*]
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into the Dead.[**]
On the third day, He rose again;
He ascended into Heaven,
And sits at the right hand of God,
the Father Almighty.
From thence he shall come to judge
the living and the dead.
 
I believe in the Holy Ghost,[*]
The Holy Catholic Church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins.
The resurrection of the body,
And life everlasting. Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
[**] the Dead: "inferi", the underworld or the dead in Latin.
X
GLORIA

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost[*],
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
X
DE PROFUNDIS

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.

If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:
Lord, who shall abide it.
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and because of Thy law,
I have waited for Thee, O Lord.

My soul hath waited on His word:
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning-watch even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy:
and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
from all her iniquities.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost[*],
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen

[*] Holy Ghost: may be substituted with the current Holy Spirit.
X
DE PROFUNDIS

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice
of my supplication.

If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:
Lord, who shall abide it.
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and because of Thy law,
I have waited for Thee, O Lord.

My soul hath waited on His word:
my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning-watch even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy:
and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.

V. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. From the gate of hell.
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with Thy Spirit.

(50 days indulgence to all who pray the De Profundis with V. and R.
"Requiem aeternam" (Eternal Rest) three times a day.
Pope Leo XIII, February 3, 1888)


Let us pray:
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all
the faithful, we beseech Thee to grant
to the souls of Thy servants the remission
of their sins, so that by our prayers
they may obtain pardon for which they long.
O Lord, who lives and reigns,
world without end. Amen

May they rest in peace. Amen

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PADRE NUESTRO

Padre Nuestro,
que estas en los Cielos
Santificado sea Tu Nombre;
Venga a nosotros tu Reino;
Hágase Tu Voluntad
en la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día;
Perdona nuestras ofensas,
Como también nosotros
perdonamos a los que nos ofenden,
No nos dejes caer en la tentación,
y líbranos del mal. Amén
 
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AVE MARÍA

Dios te salve, María,
llena eres de gracia;
El Señor es Contigo;
Bendita Tú eres
entre todas las mujeres,
Y bendito es el fruto
De tu vientre, Jesús.
 
Santa María,
Madre de Dios,
Ruega por nosotros
pecadores,
Ahora y en la hora
De nuestra muerte.
Amén
 
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CREDO
Creo en Dios, Padre Todopoderoso,
Creador del cielo y de la tierra.
Creo en Jesucristo,
Su único Hijo, Nuestro Señor,
Que fue concebido por obra
y gracia del Espíritu Santo,
Nació de la Santa María Virgen;
Padeció bajo el poder de Poncio Pilato,
Fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado,
Descendió a los infiernos,
Al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos,
Subió a los cielos
Y está sentado a la derecha de Dios,
Padre Todopoderoso.
Desde allí ha de venir a juzgar
a los vivos y a los muertos.

Creo en el Espíritu Santo,
La Santa Iglesia Católica,
La comunión de los santos,
El perdón de los pecados,
La resurrección de la carne
Y la vida eterna. Amén
 
 
CERRAR
DE PROFUNDIS

Desde lo hondo a Ti grito, Señor; Señor,
escucha mi voz;
Estén Tus oidos atentos
a la voz de mi súplica.

Si llevas cuenta de los delitos, Señor,
¿quién podrá resistir?
Pero de ti procede el perdón,
y así infundes respeto.
Mi alma espera en el Señor.

Espera en su palabra;
mi alma aguarda al Señor,
más que el centinela la aurora.
Aguarda Israel al Señor.

Como el centinela la aurora;
porque del Señor viene la misericordia.
la redención copiosa;
y Él redimirá a Israel de todos sus delitos.

Gloria al Padre, al Hijo y al
Espíritu Santo,
como es desde el principio,
es ahora y será por los siglos de los siglos.
Amén

X
GLORIA

Gloria al Padre, al Hijo y al
Espíritu Santo,
como es desde el principio,
es ahora y será por los siglos de los siglos.
Amén

CERRAR
DE PROFUNDIS y QUE DESCANSEN EN PAZ

Desde lo hondo a Ti grito, Señor;
Señor, escucha mi voz;
Estén Tus oidos atentos a
la voz de mi súplica.

Si llevas cuenta de los delitos, Señor,
¿quién podrá resistir?

Pero de ti procede el perdón,
y así infundes respeto.
Mi alma espera en el Señor.

Espera en su palabra;
mi alma aguarda al Señor,
más que el centinela la aurora.
Aguarda Israel al Señor.

Como el centinela la aurora;
porque del Señor viene la misericordia,
la redención copiosa;
y Él redimirá a Israel de todos sus delitos.

V. Dadles, Señor, a todas las almas
el descanso eterno.
R. Y haced lucir sobre ellas
vuestra eterna luz.
V. Que en paz descansen.
R. Amén.