Respondeo dicendum quod oratio porrigitur alicui dupliciter, uno modo, quasi per ipsum implenda; alio modo, sicut per ipsum impetranda. Primo quidem modo soli Deo orationem porrigimus, quia omnes orationes nostrae ordinari debent ad gratiam et gloriam consequendam, quae solus Deus dat, secundum illud Psalm., gratiam et gloriam dabit dominus. Sed secundo modo orationem porrigimus sanctis Angelis et hominibus, non ut per eos Deus nostras petitiones cognoscat, sed ut eorum precibus et meritis orationes nostrae sortiantur effectum. Et ideo dicitur Apoc. VIII quod ascendit fumus aromatum, idest orationes sanctorum, de manu Angeli coram domino. Et hoc etiam patet ex ipso modo quo Ecclesia utitur in orando. Nam a sancta Trinitate petimus ut nostri misereatur, ab aliis autem sanctis quibuscumque petimus ut orent pro nobis.
I answer that, Prayer is offered to a person in two ways: first, as to be fulfilled by him, second, as to be obtained through him. In the first way we offer prayer to God alone, since all our prayers ought to be directed to the acquisition of grace and glory, which God alone gives, according to Ps. 83:12, The Lord will give grace and glory. But in the second way we pray to the saints, whether angels or men, not that God may through them know our petitions, but that our prayers may be effective through their prayers and merits. Hence it is written (Rev 8:4) that the smoke of the incense, namely the prayers of the saints ascended up before God. This is also clear from the very style employed by the Church in praying: since we beseech the Blessed Trinity to have mercy on us, while we ask any of the saints to pray for us.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illi soli impendimus orando religionis cultum a quo quaerimus obtinere quod oramus, quia in hoc protestamur eum bonorum nostrorum auctorem, non autem eis quos requirimus quasi interpellatores nostros apud Deum.
Reply Obj. 1: To Him alone do we offer religious worship when praying, from Whom we seek to obtain what we pray for, because by so doing we confess that He is the Author of our goods: but not to those whom we call upon as our advocates in God’s presence.
Ad secundum dicendum quod mortui ea quae in hoc mundo aguntur, considerata eorum naturali conditione, non cognoscunt, et praecipue interiores motus cordis. Sed beatis, ut Gregorius dicit, in XII Moral., in verbo manifestatur illud quod decet eos cognoscere de eis quae circa nos aguntur, etiam quantum ad interiores motus cordis. Maxime autem eorum excellentiam decet ut cognoscant petitiones ad eos factas vel voce vel corde. Et ideo petitiones quas ad eos dirigimus, Deo manifestante, cognoscunt.
Reply Obj. 2: The dead, if we consider their natural condition, do not know what takes place in this world, especially the interior movements of the heart. Nevertheless, according to Gregory (Moral. xii, 21), whatever it is fitting the blessed should know about what happens to us, even as regards the interior movements of the heart, is made known to them in the Word: and it is most becoming to their exalted position that they should know the petitions we make to them by word or thought; and consequently the petitions which we raise to them are known to them through Divine manifestation.
Ad tertium dicendum quod illi qui sunt in hoc mundo aut in Purgatorio, nondum fruuntur visione verbi, ut possint cognoscere ea quae nos cogitamus vel dicimus. Et ideo eorum suffragia non imploramus orando, sed a vivis petimus colloquendo.
Reply Obj. 3: Those who are in this world or in Purgatory, do not yet enjoy the vision of the Word, so as to be able to know what we think or say. Wherefore we do not seek their assistance by praying to them, but ask it of the living by speaking to them.
Utrum in oratione nihil determinate a Deo petere debeamus
Whether we ought to ask for something definite when we pray?
Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod in oratione nihil determinate a Deo petere debeamus. Quia, ut Damascenus dicit, oratio est petitio decentium a Deo. Unde inefficax est oratio per quam petitur id quod non expedit, secundum illud Iac. IV, petitis et non accipitis, eo quod male petatis. Sed sicut dicitur Rom. VIII. Nam quid oremus sicut oportet, nescimus. Ergo non debemus aliquid orando determinate petere.
Objection 1: It would seem that we ought not to ask for anything definite when we pray to God. According to Damascene (De Fide Orth. iii, 24), to pray is to ask becoming things of God; wherefore it is useless to pray for what is inexpedient, according to James 4:3, You ask, and receive not: because you ask amiss. Now according to Rom. 8:26, we know not what we should pray for as we ought. Therefore we ought not to ask for anything definite when we pray.
Praeterea, quicumque aliquid determinate ab alio petit, nititur voluntatem ipsius inclinare ad faciendum id quod ipse vult. Non autem ad hoc tendere debemus ut Deus velit quod nos volumus, sed magis ut nos velimus quod Deus vult, ut dicit Glossa, super illud Psalm., exultate, iusti, in domino. Ergo non debemus aliquid determinatum a Deo petere.
Obj. 2: Further, those who ask another person for something definite strive to incline his will to do what they wish themselves. But we ought not to endeavor to make God will what we will; on the contrary, we ought to strive to will what He wills, according to a gloss on Ps. 32:1, Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just. Therefore we ought not to ask God for anything definite when we pray.
Praeterea, mala a Deo petenda non sunt, ad bona autem Deus ipse nos invitat. Frustra autem ab aliquo petitur ad quod accipiendum invitatur. Ergo non est determinate aliquid a Deo in oratione petendum.
Obj. 3: Further, evil things are not to be sought from God; and as to good things, God Himself invites us to take them. Now it is useless to ask a person to give you what he invites you to take. Therefore we ought not to ask God for anything definite in our prayers.
Sed contra est quod dominus, Matth. VI et Luc. XI, docuit discipulos determinate petere ea quae continentur in petitionibus orationis dominicae.
On the contrary, our Lord (Matt 6 and Luke 11) taught His disciples to ask definitely for those things which are contained in the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut maximus Valerius refert, Socrates nihil ultra petendum a diis immortalibus arbitrabatur quam ut bona tribuerent, quia hi demum scirent quid unicuique esset utile; nos autem plerumque id votis expetere quod non impetrasse melius foret. Quae quidem sententia aliqualiter vera est, quantum ad illa quae possunt malum eventum habere, quibus etiam homo potest male et bene uti, sicut divitiae, quae, ut ibidem dicitur, multis exitio fuere; honores, qui complures pessumdederunt; regna, quorum exitus saepe miserabiles cernuntur; splendida coniugia, quae nonnunquam funditus domos evertunt. Sunt tamen quaedam bona quibus homo male uti non potest, quae scilicet malum eventum habere non possunt. Haec autem sunt quibus beatificamur et quibus beatitudinem meremur. Quae quidem sancti orando absolute petunt, secundum illud, ostende faciem tuam, et salvi erimus; et iterum, deduc me in semitam mandatorum tuorum.
I answer that, According to Valerius Maximus, Socrates deemed that we should ask the immortal gods for nothing else but that they should grant us good things, because they at any rate know what is good for each one whereas when we pray we frequently ask for what it had been better for us not to obtain. This opinion is true to a certain extent, as to those things which may have an evil result, and which man may use ill or well, such as riches, by which, as stated by the same authority (Fact. et Dict. Memor. vii, 2), many have come to an evil end; honors, which have ruined many; power, of which we frequently witness the unhappy results; splendid marriages, which sometimes bring about the total wreck of a family. Nevertheless there are certain goods which man cannot ill use, because they cannot have an evil result. Such are those which are the object of beatitude and whereby we merit it: and these the saints seek absolutely when they pray, as in Ps. 79:4, Show us Thy face, and we shall be saved, and again in Ps. 118:35, Lead me into the path of Thy commandments.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod licet homo ex se scire non possit quid orare debeat, spiritus tamen, ut ibidem dicitur, in hoc adiuvat infirmitatem nostram quod, inspirando nobis sancta desideria, recte postulare nos facit. Unde dominus dicit, Ioan. IV, quod veros adoratores adorare oportet in spiritu et veritate.
Reply Obj. 1: Although man cannot by himself know what he ought to pray for, the Spirit, as stated in the same passage, helpeth our infirmity, since by inspiring us with holy desires, He makes us ask for what is right. Hence our Lord said (John 4:24) that true adorers must adore . . . in spirit and in truth.
Ad secundum dicendum quod cum orando petimus aliqua quae pertinent ad nostram salutem, conformamus voluntatem nostram voluntati Dei, de quo dicitur, I ad Tim. II, quod vult omnes homines salvos fieri.
Reply Obj. 2: When in our prayers we ask for things concerning our salvation, we conform our will to God’s, of Whom it is written (1 Tim 2:4) that He will have all men to be saved.
Ad tertium dicendum quod sic ad bona Deus nos invitat quod ad ea non passibus corporis, sed piis desideriis et devotis orationibus accedamus.
Reply Obj. 3: God so invites us to take good things, that we may approach to them not by the steps of the body, but by pious desires and devout prayers.
Utrum homo debeat temporalia petere a Deo orando
Whether man ought to ask God for temporal things when he prays?
Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod homo non debeat temporalia petere a Deo orando. Quae enim orando petimus, quaerimus. Sed temporalia non debemus quaerere, dicitur enim Matth. VI, primum quaerite regnum Dei et iustitiam eius, et haec omnia adiicientur vobis, scilicet temporalia; quae non quaerenda dicit, sed adiicienda quaesitis. Ergo temporalia non sunt in oratione a Deo petenda.
Objection 1: It would seem that man ought not to ask God for temporal things when he prays. We seek what we ask for in prayer. But we should not seek for temporal things, for it is written (Matt 6:33): Seek ye . . . first the kingdom of God, and His justice: and all these things shall be added unto you, that is to say, temporal things, which, says He, we are not to seek, but they will be added to what we seek. Therefore temporal things are not to be asked of God in prayer.
Praeterea, nullus petit nisi ea de quibus est sollicitus. Sed de temporalibus sollicitudinem habere non debemus, secundum quod dicitur Matth. VI, nolite solliciti esse animae vestrae, quid manducetis. Ergo temporalia petere orando non debemus.
Obj. 2: Further, no one asks save for that which he is solicitous about. Now we ought not to have solicitude for temporal things, according to the saying of Matt. 6:25, Be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat. Therefore we ought not to ask for temporal things when we pray.
Praeterea, per orationem nostram mens debet elevari in Deum. Sed petendo temporalia descendit ad ea quae infra se sunt, contra id quod apostolus dicebat, II ad Cor. IV, non contemplantibus nobis quae videntur, sed quae non videntur, quae enim videntur, temporalia sunt; quae autem non videntur, aeterna. Ergo non debet homo temporalia in oratione a Deo petere.
Obj. 3: Further, by prayer our mind should be raised up to God. But by asking for temporal things, it descends to things beneath it, against the saying of the Apostle (2 Cor 4:18), While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. Therefore man ought not to ask God for temporal things when he prays.
Praeterea, homo non debet petere a Deo nisi bona et utilia. Sed quandoque temporalia habita sunt nociva, non solum spiritualiter, sed etiam temporaliter. Ergo non sunt a Deo in oratione petenda.
Obj. 4: Further, man ought not to ask of God other than good and useful things. But sometimes temporal things, when we have them, are harmful, not only in a spiritual sense, but also in a material sense. Therefore we should not ask God for them in our prayers.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Prov. XXX, tribue tantum victui meo necessaria.
On the contrary, It is written (Prov 30:8): Give me only the necessaries of life.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, ad Probam, de orando Deum, hoc licet orare quod licet desiderare. Temporalia autem licet desiderare, non quidem principaliter, ut in eis finem constituamus; sed sicut quaedam adminicula quibus adiuvamur ad tendendum in beatitudinem, inquantum scilicet per ea vita corporalis sustentatur, et inquantum nobis organice deserviunt ad actus virtutum, ut etiam philosophus dicit, in I Ethic. Et ideo pro temporalibus licet orare. Et hoc est quod Augustinus dicit, ad Probam, sufficientiam vitae non indecenter vult quisquis eam vult et non amplius. Quae quidem non appetitur propter seipsam, sed propter salutem corporis et congruentem habitum personae hominis, ut non sit inconveniens eis cum quibus vivendum est. Ista ergo, cum habentur, ut teneantur; cum non habentur, ut habeantur, orandum est.
I answer that, As Augustine says (ad Probam, de orando Deum, Ep. cxxx, 12): It is lawful to pray for what it is lawful to desire. Now it is lawful to desire temporal things, not indeed principally, by placing our end therein, but as helps whereby we are assisted in tending towards beatitude, in so far, to wit, as they are the means of supporting the life of the body, and are of service to us as instruments in performing acts of virtue, as also the Philosopher states (Ethic. i, 8). Augustine too says the same to Proba (ad Probam, de orando Deum, Ep. cxxx, 6, 7) when he states that it is not unbecoming for anyone to desire enough for a livelihood, and no more; for this sufficiency is desired, not for its own sake, but for the welfare of the body, or that we should desire to be clothed in a way befitting one’s station, so as not to be out of keeping with those among whom we have to live. Accordingly we ought to pray that we may keep these things if we have them, and if we have them not, that we may gain possession of them.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod temporalia non sunt quaerenda principaliter, sed secundario. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de Serm. Dom. in monte, cum dixit, illud primo quaerendum est, scilicet regnum Dei, significavit quia hoc, scilicet temporale bonum, posterius quaerendum est, non tempore, sed dignitate, illud tanquam bonum nostrum, hoc tanquam necessarium nostrum.
Reply Obj. 1: We should seek temporal things not in the first but in the second place. Hence Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 16): When He says that this (i.e., the kingdom of God) is to be sought first, He implies that the other (i.e., temporal goods) is to be sought afterwards, not in time but in importance, this as being our good, the other as our need.
Ad secundum dicendum quod non quaelibet sollicitudo rerum temporalium est prohibita, sed superflua et inordinata, ut supra habitum est.
Reply Obj. 2: Not all solicitude about temporal things is forbidden, but that which is superfluous and inordinate, as stated above (Q. 55, A. 6).
Ad tertium dicendum quod quando mens nostra intendit temporalibus rebus ut in eis quiescat, remanet in eis depressa. Sed quando intendit eis in ordine ad beatitudinem consequendam, non ab eis deprimitur, sed magis ea elevat sursum.
Reply Obj. 3: When our mind is intent on temporal things in order that it may rest in them, it remains immersed therein; but when it is intent on them in relation to the acquisition of beatitude, it is not lowered by them, but raises them to a higher level.
Ad quartum dicendum quod ex quo non petimus temporalia tanquam principaliter quaesita, sed in ordine ad aliud, eo tenore a Deo petimus ipsa ut nobis concedantur secundum quod expediunt ad salutem.
Reply Obj. 4: From the very fact that we ask for temporal things not as the principal object of our petition, but as subordinate to something else, we ask God for them in the sense that they may be granted to us insofar as they are expedient for salvation.
Utrum debeamus pro aliis orare
Whether we ought to pray for others?
Ad septimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non debeamus pro aliis orare. In orando enim sequi debemus formam quam dominus tradidit. Sed in oratione dominica petitiones pro nobis facimus, non pro aliis, dicentes, panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et cetera huiusmodi. Ergo non debemus pro aliis orare.
Objection 1: It would seem that we ought not to pray for others. In praying we ought to conform to the pattern given by our Lord. Now in the Lord’s Prayer we make petitions for ourselves, not for others; thus we say: Give us this day our daily bread, etc. Therefore we should not pray for others.
Praeterea, ad hoc oratio fit quod exaudiatur. Sed una de conditionibus quae requiruntur ad hoc quod oratio sit audibilis, est ut aliquis oret pro seipso, unde super illud Ioan. XVI, si quid petieritis patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis, Augustinus dicit, exaudiuntur omnes pro seipsis, non autem pro omnibus. Unde non utcumque dictum est, dabit, sed, dabit vobis. Ergo videtur quod non debeamus pro aliis orare, sed solum pro nobis.
Obj. 2: Further, prayer is offered that it may be heard. Now one of the conditions required for prayer that it may be heard is that one pray for oneself, wherefore Augustine in commenting on John 16:23, If you ask the Father anything in My name He will give it you, says (Tract. cii): Everyone is heard when he prays for himself, not when he prays for all; wherefore He does not say simply ‘He will give it,’ but ‘He will give it you.’ Therefore it would seem that we ought not to pray for others, but only for ourselves.
Praeterea, pro aliis, si sunt mali, prohibemur orare, secundum illud Ierem. VII, tu ergo noli orare pro populo hoc, et non obsistas mihi, quia non exaudiam te. Pro bonis autem non oportet orare, quia ipsi pro seipsis orantes exaudiuntur. Ergo videtur quod non debeamus pro aliis orare.
Obj. 3: Further, we are forbidden to pray for others, if they are wicked, according to Jer. 7:16, Therefore do not then pray for this people . . . and do not withstand Me, for I will not hear thee. On the other hand we are not bound to pray for the good, since they are heard when they pray for themselves. Therefore it would seem that we ought not to pray for others.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Iac. V, orate pro invicem, ut salvemini.
On the contrary, It is written (Jas 5:16): Pray one for another, that you may be saved.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, illud debemus orando petere quod debemus desiderare. Desiderare autem debemus bona non solum nobis, sed etiam aliis, hoc enim pertinet ad rationem dilectionis, quam proximis debemus impendere, ut ex supradictis patet. Et ideo caritas hoc requirit, ut pro aliis oremus. Unde Chrysostomus dicit, super Matth., pro se orare necessitas cogit, pro altero autem, caritas fraternitatis hortatur. Dulcior autem ante Deum est oratio, non quam necessitas transmittit, sed quam caritas fraternitatis commendat.
I answer that, As stated above (A. 6), when we pray we ought to ask for what we ought to desire. Now we ought to desire good things not only for ourselves, but also for others: for this is essential to the love which we owe to our neighbor, as stated above (Q. 25, AA. 1, 12; Q. 27, A. 2; Q. 31, A. 1). Therefore charity requires us to pray for others. Hence Chrysostom says (Hom. xiv in Matth.): Necessity binds us to pray for ourselves, fraternal charity urges us to pray for others: and the prayer that fraternal charity proffers is sweeter to God than that which is the outcome of necessity.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut Cyprianus dicit, in libro de Orat. dominica, ideo non dicimus, pater meus, sed noster; nec, da mihi, sed, da nobis, quia unitatis magister noluit privatim precem fieri, ut scilicet quis pro se tantum precetur. Unum enim orare pro omnibus voluit, quo modo in uno omnes ipse portavit.
Reply Obj. 1: As Cyprian says (De Orat. Dom.), We say ‘Our Father’ and not ‘My Father,’ ‘Give us’ and not ‘Give me,’ because the Master of unity did not wish us to pray privately, that is for ourselves alone, for He wished each one to pray for all, even as He Himself bore all in one.
Ad secundum dicendum quod pro se orare ponitur conditio orationis, non quidem necessaria ad effectum merendi, sed sicut necessaria ad indeficientiam impetrandi. Contingit enim quandoque quod oratio pro alio facta non impetrat, etiam si fiat pie et perseveranter et de pertinentibus ad salutem, propter impedimentum quod est ex parte eius pro quo oratur, secundum illud Ierem. XV, si steterit Moyses et Samuel coram me, non est anima mea ad populum istum. Nihilominus tamen oratio meritoria erit oranti, qui ex caritate orat, secundum illud Psalm., oratio mea in sinu meo convertetur, Glossa, idest, etsi non eis profuit, ego tamen non sum frustratus mea mercede.
Reply Obj. 2: It is a condition of prayer that one pray for oneself: not as though it were necessary in order that prayer be meritorious, but as being necessary in order that prayer may not fail in its effect of impetration. For it sometimes happens that we pray for another with piety and perseverance, and ask for things relating to his salvation, and yet it is not granted on account of some obstacle on the part of the person we are praying for, according to Jer. 15:1, If Moses and Samuel shall stand before Me, My soul is not towards this people. And yet the prayer will be meritorious for the person who prays thus out of charity, according to Ps. 34:13, My prayer shall be turned into my bosom, i.e., though it profit them not, I am not deprived of my reward, as the gloss expounds it.
Ad tertium dicendum quod etiam pro peccatoribus orandum est, ut convertantur, et pro iustis, ut perseverent et proficiant. Orantes tamen non pro omnibus peccatoribus exaudiuntur, sed pro quibusdam, exaudiuntur enim pro praedestinatis, non autem pro praescitis ad mortem. Sicut etiam correctio qua fratres corrigimus, effectum habet in praedestinatis, non in reprobatis, secundum illud Eccle. VII, nemo potest corrigere quem Deus despexerit. Et ideo dicitur I Ioan. V, qui scit fratrem suum peccare peccato non ad mortem, petat, et dabitur ei vita peccanti peccatum non ad mortem. Sed sicut nulli, quandiu hic vivit, subtrahendum est correctionis beneficium, quia non possumus distinguere praedestinatos a reprobatis, ut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Corr. et gratia; ita etiam nulli est denegandum orationis suffragium.
Reply Obj. 3: We ought to pray even for sinners, that they may be converted, and for the just that they may persevere and advance in holiness. Yet those who pray are heard not for all sinners but for some: since they are heard for the predestined, but not for those who are foreknown to death; even as the correction whereby we correct the brethren, has an effect in the predestined but not in the reprobate, according to Eccles. 7:14, No man can correct whom God hath despised. Hence it is written (1 John 5:16): He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask, and life shall be given to him, who sinneth not to death. Now just as the benefit of correction must not be refused to any man so long as he lives here below, because we cannot distinguish the predestined from the reprobate, as Augustine says (De Correp. et Grat. xv), so too no man should be denied the help of prayer.