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Albert & Thomas: Selected Writings

By Simon Tugwell | Go to book overview

From the Lectures on St. Matthew

Matthew 6:5-8. 1.
5. When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and at street corners, in order to be seen by other people. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
6. But when you pray, enter into your bedroom and shut the door and pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7. When you pray do not talk a lot, as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard because they talk a lot;
8. so do not imitate them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"When you pray." The Lord has been explaining above, about almsgiving, that it should not be done for the sake of human glory. Here he shows that the same is true of prayer. And he does two things: first, he teaches the right way to pray, and secondly (starting at verse 9) he teaches what we ought to ask for in prayer.

In connection with the first point he does two things: first, he teaches us to avoid the vanity of hypocrites in our prayer, and secondly, he teaches us to avoid the vanity of the Gentiles (at verse 7).

Under the first heading he does two things: first, he excludes the wrong way to pray, and secondly, he specifies the proper way to pray (at verse 6). He excludes the wrong way of praying by citing the example of hypocrites. So first he excludes this model, then he elaborates on it ("who love ... "), and thirdly, he indicates his reason ("Truly I tell you ... ").

It is appropriate enough that he deals with prayer here, after almsgiving. It says in Ecclus. 18:23, "Before prayer prepare your

____________________
1.
Only the reportatio of Peter d'Andria (hereafter P) survives of the lectures on Matt. 6:5-8.

-445-

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