Deinde considerandum est de oratione. Et circa hoc quaeruntur decem et septem.
We must now consider prayer, under which head there are seventeen points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum oratio sit actus appetitivae virtutis vel cognitivae.
(1) Whether prayer is an act of the appetitive or of the cognitive power?
Secundo, utrum conveniens sit orare.
(2) Whether it is fitting to pray to God?
Tertio, utrum oratio sit actus religionis.
(3) Whether prayer is an act of religion?
Quarto, utrum solus Deus sit orandus.
(4) Whether we ought to pray to God alone?
Quinto, utrum in oratione sit aliquid determinate petendum.
(5) Whether we ought to ask for something definite when we pray?
Sexto, utrum orando debeamus temporalia petere.
(6) Whether we ought to ask for temporal things when we pray?
Septimo, utrum pro aliis orare debeamus.
(7) Whether we ought to pray for others?
Octavo, utrum debeamus orare pro inimicis.
(8) Whether we ought to pray for our enemies?
Nono, de septem petitionibus orationis dominicae.
(9) Of the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer;
Decimo, utrum orare sit proprium rationalis creaturae.
(10) Whether prayer is proper to the rational creature?
Undecimo, utrum sancti in patria orent pro nobis.
(11) Whether the saints in heaven pray for us?
Duodecimo, utrum, oratio debeat esse vocalis.
(12) Whether prayer should be vocal?
Tertiodecimo, utrum attentio requiratur ad orationem.
(13) Whether attention is requisite in prayer?
Quartodecimo, utrum oratio debeat esse diuturna.
(14) Whether prayer should last a long time?
Quintodecimo, utrum oratio sit efficax ad impetrandum quod petitur.
(15) Whether prayer is meritorious?
Sextodecimo, utrum sit meritoria.
(16) Whether sinners impetrate anything from God by praying?
Septimodecimo, de speciebus orationis.
(17) of the different kinds of prayer.
Utrum oratio sit actus appetitivae virtutis
Whether prayer is an act of the appetitive power?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod oratio sit actus appetitivae virtutis. Orationis enim est exaudiri. Sed desiderium est quod exauditur a Deo, secundum illud Psalm., desiderium pauperum exaudivit dominus. Ergo oratio est desiderium. Sed desiderium est actus appetitivae virtutis. Ergo et oratio.
Objection 1: It would seem that prayer is an act of the appetitive power. It belongs to prayer to be heard. Now it is the desire that is heard by God, according to Ps. 9:38, The Lord hath heard the desire of the poor. Therefore prayer is desire. But desire is an act of the appetitive power: and therefore prayer is also.
Praeterea, Dionysius dicit, in III cap. de Div. Nom., ante omnia ab oratione incipere est utile, sicut Deo nosipsos tradentes et unientes. Sed unio ad Deum per amorem fit, qui pertinet ad vim appetitivam. Ergo oratio ad vim appetitivam pertinet.
Obj. 2: Further, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iii): It is useful to begin everything with prayer, because thereby we surrender ourselves to God and unite ourselves to Him. Now union with God is effected by love which belongs to the appetitive power. Therefore prayer belongs to the appetitive power.
Praeterea, philosophus, in III de anima, ponit duas operationes intellectivae partis, quarum prima est indivisibilium intelligentia, per quam scilicet apprehendimus de unoquoque quid est; secunda vero est compositio et divisio, per quam scilicet apprehenditur aliquid esse vel non esse. Quibus tertia additur ratiocinari, procedendo scilicet de notis ad ignota. Sed oratio ad nullam istarum operationum reducitur. Ergo non est actus intellectivae virtutis, sed appetitivae.
Obj. 3: Further, the Philosopher states (De Anima iii, 6) that there are two operations of the intellective part. Of these the first is the understanding of indivisibles, by which operation we apprehend what a thing is: while the second is synthesis and analysis, whereby we apprehend that a thing is or is not. To these a third may be added, namely, reasoning, whereby we proceed from the known to the unknown. Now prayer is not reducible to any of these operations. Therefore it is an operation, not of the intellective, but of the appetitive power.
Sed contra est quod Isidorus dicit, in libro Etymol., quod orare idem est quod dicere. Sed dictio pertinet ad intellectum. Ergo oratio non est actus appetitivae virtutis, sed intellectivae.
On the contrary, Isidore says (Etym. x) that to pray is to speak. Now speech belongs to the intellect. Therefore prayer is an act, not of the appetitive, but of the intellective power.
Respondeo dicendum quod, secundum Cassiodorum, oratio dicitur quasi oris ratio. Ratio autem speculativa et practica in hoc differunt quod ratio speculativa est apprehensiva solum rerum; ratio vero practica est non solum apprehensiva, sed etiam causativa. Est autem aliquid alterius causa dupliciter. Uno quidem modo, perfecte, necessitatem inducendo, et hoc contingit quando effectus totaliter subditur potestati causae. Alio vero modo, imperfecte, solum disponendo, quando scilicet effectus non subditur totaliter potestati causae. Sic igitur et ratio dupliciter est causa aliquorum. Uno quidem modo, sicut necessitatem imponens, et hoc modo ad rationem pertinet imperare non solum inferioribus potentiis et membris corporis, sed etiam hominibus subiectis, quod quidem fit imperando. Alio modo, sicut inducens et quodammodo disponens, et hoc modo ratio petit aliquid fieri ab his qui ei non subiiciuntur, sive sint aequales sive sint superiores. Utrumque autem horum, scilicet imperare et petere sive deprecari, ordinationem quandam important, prout scilicet homo disponit aliquid per aliud esse faciendum. Unde pertinent ad rationem, cuius est ordinare, propter quod philosophus dicit, in I Ethic., quod ad optima deprecatur ratio.
I answer that, According to Cassiodorus prayer (oratio) is spoken reason (oris ratio). Now the speculative and practical reason differ in this, that the speculative merely apprehends its object, whereas the practical reason not only apprehends but causes. Now one thing is the cause of another in two ways: first perfectly, when it necessitates its effect, and this happens when the effect is wholly subject to the power of the cause; second imperfectly, by merely disposing to the effect, for the reason that the effect is not wholly subject to the power of the cause. Accordingly in this way the reason is cause of certain things in two ways: first, by imposing necessity; and in this way it belongs to reason, to command not only the lower powers and the members of the body, but also human subjects, which indeed is done by commanding; second, by leading up to the effect, and, in a way, disposing to it, and in this sense the reason asks for something to be done by things not subject to it, whether they be its equals or its superiors. Now both of these, namely, to command and to ask or beseech, imply a certain ordering, seeing that man proposes something to be effected by something else, wherefore they pertain to the reason to which it belongs to set in order. For this reason the Philosopher says (Ethic. i, 13) that the reason exhorts us to do what is best.
Sic autem nunc loquimur de oratione, prout significat quandam deprecationem vel petitionem, secundum quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de Verb. Dom., quod oratio petitio quaedam est; et Damascenus dicit, in III libro, quod oratio est petitio decentium a Deo. Sic ergo patet quod oratio de qua nunc loquimur, est rationis actus.
Now in the present instance we are speaking of prayer as signifying a beseeching or petition, in which sense Augustine: says (De Verb. Dom.) that prayer is a petition, and Damascene states (De Fide Orth. iii, 24) that to pray is to ask becoming things of God. Accordingly it is evident that prayer, as we speak of it now, is an act of reason.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod desiderium pauperum dicitur dominus exaudire, vel quia desiderium est causa petendi, cum petitio sit quodammodo desiderii interpres. Vel hoc dicitur ad ostendendum exauditionis velocitatem, quia scilicet dum adhuc aliquid in desiderio pauperum est, Deus exaudit, antequam orationem proponant; secundum illud Isaiae LXV, eritque, antequam clament, ego exaudiam.
Reply Obj. 1: The Lord is said to hear the desire of the poor, either because desire is the cause of their petition, since a petition is like the interpreter of a desire, or in order to show how speedily they are heard, since no sooner do the poor desire something than God hears them before they put up a prayer, according to the saying of Isa. 65:24, And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will hear.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, voluntas movet rationem ad suum finem. Unde nihil prohibet, movente voluntate, actum rationis tendere in finem caritatis, qui est Deo uniri. Tendit autem oratio in Deum quasi a voluntate caritatis mota, dupliciter. Uno quidem modo, ex parte eius quod petitur, quia hoc praecipue est in oratione petendum, ut Deo uniamur; secundum illud Psalm., unam petii a domino, hanc requiram, ut inhabitem in domo domini omnibus diebus vitae meae. Alio modo, ex parte ipsius petentis, quem oportet accedere ad eum a quo petit, vel loco, sicut ad hominem; vel mente, sicut ad Deum. Unde dicit ibidem quod, quando orationibus invocamus Deum, revelata mente adsumus ipsi. Et secundum hoc etiam Damascenus dicit quod oratio est ascensus intellectus in Deum.
Reply Obj. 2: As stated above (I, Q. 82, A. 4; I-II, Q. 9, A. 1, ad 3), the will moves the reason to its end: wherefore nothing hinders the act of reason, under the motion of the will, from tending to an end such as charity which is union with God. Now prayer tends to God through being moved by the will of charity, as it were, and this in two ways. First, on the part of the object of our petition, because when we pray we ought principally to ask to be united to God, according to Ps. 26:4, One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Second, on the part of the petitioner, who ought to approach the person whom he petitions, either locally, as when he petitions a man, or mentally, as when he petitions God. Hence Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iii) that when we call upon God in our prayers, we unveil our mind in His presence: and in the same sense Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 24) that prayer is the raising up of the mind to God.
Ad tertium dicendum quod illi tres actus pertinent ad rationem speculativam. Sed ulterius ad rationem practicam pertinet causare aliquid per modum imperii vel per modum petitionis, ut dictum est.
Reply Obj. 3: These three acts belong to the speculative reason, but to the practical reason it belongs in addition to cause something by way of command or of petition, as stated above.
Utrum sit conveniens orare
Whether it is becoming to pray?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non sit conveniens orare. Oratio enim videtur esse necessaria ad hoc quod intimemus ei a quo petimus id quo indigemus. Sed, sicut dicitur Matth. VI, scit pater vester quia his indigetis. Ergo non est conveniens Deum orare.
Objection 1: It would seem that it is unbecoming to pray. Prayer seems to be necessary in order that we may make our needs known to the person to whom we pray. But according to Matt. 6:32, Your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Therefore it is not becoming to pray to God.
Praeterea, per orationem flectitur animus eius qui oratur ut faciat quod ab eo petitur. Sed animus Dei est immutabilis et inflexibilis, secundum illud I Reg. XV, porro triumphator in Israel non parcet, nec poenitudine flectetur. Ergo non est conveniens quod Deum oremus.
Obj. 2: Further, by prayer we bend the mind of the person to whom we pray, so that he may do what is asked of him. But God’s mind is unchangeable and inflexible, according to 1 Kings 15:29, But the Triumpher in Israel will not spare, and will not be moved to repentance. Therefore it is not fitting that we should pray to God.
Praeterea, liberalius est dare aliquid non petenti quam dare petenti, quia, sicut Seneca dicit, nulla res carius emitur quam quae precibus empta est. Sed Deus est liberalissimus. Ergo non videtur esse conveniens quod Deum oremus.
Obj. 3: Further, it is more liberal to give to one that asks not, than to one who asks because, according to Seneca (De Benefic. ii, 1), nothing is bought more dearly than what is bought with prayers. But God is supremely liberal. Therefore it would seem unbecoming to pray to God.