In his continuing catechesis on the “Our Father” Pope Francis at his May 1, 2019, General Audience got to the “heart of the drama…the area of the confrontation between our freedom and the snares of the Evil One.”
Speaking to the thousands of pilgrims from around the world gather in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father clarified what he admitted could be “shaky” translations. He addressed the “temptation” phrase in the “Our Father.” Some translations say “Lead us not into temptation”… others ”Let us not fall into temptation.” But in no case, the Pope stressed, is it God leading Man into temptation.
“However, we can converge unanimously on one element: no matter how the text is understood, we must exclude that God is the protagonist of the temptations that loom on man’s path as if God Himself was lurking to put snares and pitfalls for his children,” the Holy Father affirmed. “An interpretation of this nature contradicts first of all the text itself and is far from the image of God that Jesus has revealed to us.”
Pope Francis continued by explaining that rather than leading us into temptation, it is God who is with us so we can face the trials that the Evil One puts before us. In fact, Francis noted, we address the prayer to “Our Father,” and a father doesn’t create “snares and pitfalls for his children.”
“God hasn’t left us alone but, in Jesus, He manifests Himself as the ‘God-with-us’ up to the extreme consequences,” the Pope said. “He is with us when He gives us life, He is with us during life, He is with us in joy, He is with us in trials, He is with us in sadness, He is with us in defeats, when we sin, but He is always with us, because He is Father and cannot abandon us.
“If we are tempted to do evil, denying fraternity with others or desiring an absolute power over everything and everyone, Jesus has already combatted this temptation for us: the first pages of the Gospels attest it.”
The Holy Father concluded by reminded the crowds in St. Peter’s and those listening via radio and television around the world, that God is there when we face temptation and will never abandon us.
“Therefore, remove from us, O God, the time of trial and of temptation. But when this time arrives for us, our Father, show us that we’re not alone,” Francis prayed. “You are the Father. Show us that the Christ has already taken on Himself the weight of that cross. Show us that Jesus calls us to carry it with Him, abandoning ourselves trustfully to your love of Father. Thank you.”