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This prayer is the summary of the whole gospel

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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/30/24

Jesus teaches his disciples a prayer that summarizes the entire gospel and provides a pattern for every Christian prayer.

Often in the modern world we are more interested in summaries or Spark Notes of books, rather than reading the whole thing.

We have a short attention span, and reading a 300-page book can be difficult.

The New Testament can be for many one of those books that requires much patience, as it is not short and often repeats itself.

Is there a summary of the New Testament? Or at least a summary of the gospels?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church claims that the Lord’s Prayer is that summary:

The Lord’s Prayer “is truly the summary of the whole gospel.” “Since the Lord . . . after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, ‘Ask and you will receive,’ and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer [the Lord’s Prayer] is said first, as the foundation of further desires.”

CCC 2761

Tertullian is the one quoted above, and he wrote in the 2nd century, not far removed from the apostles or the earliest followers of Christ.

St. Augustine further comments on how the Lord’s Prayer contains all other prayers in the Bible:

After showing how the psalms are the principal food of Christian prayer and flow together in the petitions of the Our Father, St. Augustine concludes: “Run through all the words of the holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer.

CCC 2762

Most perfect of prayers

Furthermore, the Lord’s Prayer is seen as the “most perfect of prayers”:

ll the Scriptures – the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms – are fulfilled in Christ. The Gospel is this “Good News.” Its first proclamation is summarized by St. Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount; the prayer to our Father is at the center of this proclamation.

“It is in this context that each petition bequeathed to us by the Lord is illuminated:The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. . . . In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.”

CCC 2763

If we are looking for a short and quick summary of the gospel, we do not need to look any further than the Our Father.

BibleCCC PrayerJesus Christ
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