What does it mean in the Lord’s prayer with the words “But deliver us from evil?” Pope Francis explained that this passage, the seventh “question” in the prayer has two supplications: to be not abandoned and to be liberated from evil.
And the Pope also explained why this part of the prayer is so vital: “There is an evil in our life, which is an incontestable presence.”
The Holy Father’s remarks came during his May 15, 2019, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, where he continued his catechesis on the Lord’s Prayer before a crowd of pilgrims from around the world. Cool and rainy conditions seemed to little dampen the spirits of the faithful.
But deliver us from evil
“With this expression, one who prays not only asks not to be abandoned in the time of temptation but also implores to be freed from evil,” Pope Francis said. “With this twofold supplication: ‘not to abandon us’ and ‘to liberate us’ an essential characteristic emerges of Christian prayer.
“Jesus teaches His friends to put the invocation to the Father before all, also and especially in moments in which the Evil One makes his menacing presence felt. In fact, Christian prayer doesn’t close the eyes on life. It’s a filial prayer and not an infantile prayer. It’s not so infatuated with God’s paternity as to forget that man’s path is fraught with difficulties. If the last verses of the ‘Our Father’ didn’t exist, how could sinners, the persecuted, the desperate, the dying pray? The last petition is precisely our petition when we will be at the limit, always.”
The Holy Father warned that evil is ever-present in the world. A person who prays isn’t blind to the evil and see how it contrasts with the “mystery” of God.
“The history books are the desolating catalog of how our existence in this world has often been a bankrupt adventure,” Francis lamented. “There is a mysterious evil, which is certainly not God’s work, but which penetrates silently between history’s folds. Silent as the serpent that carries poison silently. In some moments, it seems to take over: on certain days its presence seems even clearer than that of God’s mercy…All of us know what evil is; all of us know what temptation is; all of us have experienced temptation in our flesh, of whatever sin.”
The Holy Father reminded those listening that Jesus experienced that “piercing of evil” during the Passion: pain, humiliation, death. But in that moment Jesus still submits to the will of the Father. He does not abandon humanity.
“Dear brothers and sisters, thus the ‘Our Father’ is like a symphony that asks to be accomplished in each one of us,” Francis said. “The Christian knows how subjugating the power of evil is and, at the same time, has the experience that Jesus, who never yielded to its blandishments, is in our side and comes to our aid.
“He is here. He is here with that strength that He gives us to go on, and He promises to free us from evil.