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.
Pro iustis etiam est orandum, triplici ratione. Primo quidem, quia multorum preces facilius exaudiuntur. Unde Rom. XV, super illud, adiuvetis me in orationibus vestris, dicit Glossa, bene rogat apostolus minores pro se orare. Multi enim minimi, dum congregantur unanimes, fiunt magni, et multorum preces impossibile est quod non impetrent, illud scilicet quod est impetrabile. Secundo, ut ex multis gratia agatur Deo de beneficiis quae confert iustis, quae etiam in utilitatem multorum vergunt, ut patet per apostolum, II ad Cor. I. Tertio, ut maiores non superbiant, dum considerant se minorum suffragiis indigere.
We ought also to pray for the just for three reasons: First, because the prayers of a multitude are more easily heard, wherefore a gloss on Rom. 15:30, Help me in your prayers, says: The Apostle rightly tells the lesser brethren to pray for him, for many lesser ones, if they be united together in one mind, become great, and it is impossible for the prayers of a multitude not to obtain that which is possible to be obtained by prayer. Second, that many may thank God for the graces conferred on the just, which graces conduce to the profit of many, according to the Apostle (2 Cor 1:11). Third, that the more perfect may not wax proud, seeing that they find that they need the prayers of the less perfect.
Utrum debeamus pro inimicis orare
Whether we ought to pray for our enemies?
Ad octavum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non debeamus pro inimicis orare. Quia, ut dicitur Rom. XV, quaecumque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt. Sed in sacra Scriptura inducuntur multae imprecationes contra inimicos, dicitur enim in Psalm., erubescant et conturbentur omnes inimici mei, erubescant et conturbentur valde velociter. Ergo et nos debemus orare contra inimicos, magis quam pro eis.
Objection 1: It would seem that we ought not to pray for our enemies. According to Rom. 15:4, what things soever were written, were written for our learning. Now Holy Writ contains many imprecations against enemies; thus it is written (Ps 6:11): Let all my enemies be ashamed and be . . . troubled, let them be ashamed and be troubled very speedily. Therefore we too should pray against rather than for our enemies.
Praeterea, vindicari de inimicis in malum inimicorum cedit. Sed sancti vindictam de inimicis petunt, secundum illud Apoc. VI, usquequo non vindicas sanguinem nostrum de his qui habitant in terra? Unde et de vindicta impiorum laetantur, secundum illud Psalm., laetabitur iustus cum viderit vindictam. Ergo non est orandum pro inimicis, sed magis contra eos.
Obj. 2: Further, to be revenged on one’s enemies is harmful to them. But holy men seek vengeance of their enemies according to Apoc. 6:10, How long . . . dost Thou not . . . revenge our blood on them that dwell on earth? Wherefore they rejoice in being revenged on their enemies, according to Ps. 57:11, The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge. Therefore we should not pray for our enemies, but against them.
Praeterea, operatio hominis et eius oratio non debent esse contraria. Sed homines quandoque licite impugnant inimicos, alioquin omnia bella essent illicita, quod est contra supradicta. Ergo non debemus orare pro inimicis.
Obj. 3: Further, man’s deed should not be contrary to his prayer. Now sometimes men lawfully attack their enemies, else all wars would be unlawful, which is opposed to what we have said above (Q. 40, A. 1). Therefore we should not pray for our enemies.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Matth. V, orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos.
On the contrary, It is written (Matt 5:44): Pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.
Respondeo dicendum quod orare pro alio caritatis est, sicut dictum est. Unde eodem modo quo tenemur diligere inimicos, tenemur pro inimicis orare. Qualiter autem teneamur inimicos diligere supra habitum est, in tractatu de caritate, ut scilicet in eis diligamus naturam, non culpam; et quod diligere inimicos in generali est in praecepto, in speciali autem non est in praecepto nisi secundum praeparationem animi, ut scilicet homo esset paratus etiam specialiter inimicum diligere et eum iuvare in necessitatis articulo, vel si veniam peteret; sed in speciali absolute inimicos diligere et eos iuvare perfectionis est.
I answer that, To pray for another is an act of charity, as stated above (A. 7). Wherefore we are bound to pray for our enemies in the same manner as we are bound to love them. Now it was explained above in the treatise on charity (Q. 25, AA. 8, 9), how we are bound to love our enemies, namely, that we must love in them their nature, not their sin, and that to love our enemies in general is a matter of precept, while to love them in the individual is not a matter of precept, except in the preparedness of the mind, so that a man must be prepared to love his enemy even in the individual and to help him in a case of necessity, or if his enemy should beg his forgiveness. But to love one’s enemies absolutely in the individual, and to assist them, is an act of perfection.
Et similiter necessitatis est ut in communibus nostris orationibus quas pro aliis facimus, inimicos non excludamus. Quod autem pro eis specialiter oremus, perfectionis est, non necessitatis, nisi in aliquo casu speciali.
In like manner it is a matter of obligation that we should not exclude our enemies from the general prayers which we offer up for others: but it is a matter of perfection, and not of obligation, to pray for them individually, except in certain special cases.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod imprecationes quae in sacra Scriptura ponuntur quadrupliciter possunt intelligi. Uno modo, secundum quod prophetae solent figura imprecantis futura praedicere, ut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Serm. Dom. in monte. Secundo, prout quaedam temporalia mala peccatoribus quandoque a Deo ad correctionem immittuntur. Tertio, quia intelliguntur petere non contra ipsos homines, sed contra regnum peccati, ut scilicet correctione hominum peccatum destruatur. Quarto, conformando voluntatem suam divinae iustitiae circa damnationem perseverantium in peccato.
Reply Obj. 1: The imprecations contained in Holy Writ may be understood in four ways. First, according to the custom of the prophets to foretell the future under the veil of an imprecation, as Augustine states. Second, in the sense that certain temporal evils are sometimes inflicted by God on the wicked for their correction. Third, because they are understood to be pronounced, not against the men themselves, but against the kingdom of sin, with the purpose, to wit, of destroying sin by the correction of men. Fourth, by way of conformity of our will to the Divine justice with regard to the damnation of those who are obstinate in sin.