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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • SEVENTH PETITION: "But Deliver Us from Evil. Amen."
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SEVENTH PETITION: "But Deliver Us from Evil. Amen."


The Lord has already taught us to pray for forgiveness of our sins, and how to avoid temptations. In this petition, He teaches us to pray to be preserved from evil, and indeed from all evil in general, such as sin, illness, affliction and all others, as St. Augustine explains it.1 But since we have already mentioned sin and temptation, we now must consider other evils, such as adversity and all afflictions of this world. From these God preserves us in a fourfold manner.


First, He preserves us from affliction itself; but this is very rare because it is the lot of the just in this world to suffer, for it is written: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."2 Once in a while, however, God does prevent a man from being afflicted by some evil; this is when He knows such a one to be weak and unable to bear it. Just so a physician does not prescribe violent medicines to a weak patient. "Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut; because thou hast little strength."3 In heaven this will be a general thing, for there no one shall be afflicted. "In six troubles," those, namely, of this present life which is divided into six periods, "He shall deliver thee, and in the seventh evil shall not touch thee."4 "They shall no more hunger nor thirst."5


Second, God delivers us from afflictions when He consoles us in them; for unless He console us, we could not long persevere: "We were pressed out of measure above our strength so that we were weary even of life."6 "But God, who comforteth the humble, comforted us."7 "According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, Thy comforts have given joy to my soul."8


Third, God bestows so many good things upon those who are afflicted that their evils are forgotten: "After the storm Thou makest a calm."9 The afflictions and trials of this world, therefore, are not to be feared, both because consolations accompany them and because they are of short duration: "For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory."10


Fourth, we are preserved from afflictions in this way that all temptations and trials are conducive to our own good. We do not pray, "Deliver us from tribulation," but "from evil." This is because tribulations bring a crown to the just, and for that reason the Saints rejoiced in their sufferings: "We glory also in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience."11 "In time of tribulation Thou forgivest sins."12


1. "Our Lord Himself made use of this petition when on the eve of His passion He prayed to God His Father for the salvation of all mankind. He said, 'I pray that Thou keep them from evil' (John, xvii. 15). In this form of prayer He, as it were, summarized the force and efficacy of the other petitions; and He delivered it by way of precept and confirmed it by example" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," Chapter XVI, 1).


2. II Tim., iii. 12.


3. Apoc., iii. 8.


4. Job, v. 19.


5. Apoc., vii. 16.


6. II Cor., i. 8.


7. "Ibid.," vii. 6.


8. Ps. xciii. 19.


9. Tob., iii. 22.


10. II Cor., iv. 17.


11. Rom., v. 3.


12. Tob., iii. 13.


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