A question about the Our Father
After listening to the Reading at Mass one day last week and, at the invitation of my pastor, I read the Letter of St James for myself. There’s a lot there I want to reflect on, but this part of it
“Never, when you are being put to the test, say. “God is tempting me”; God cannot be tempted by evil, and he does not put anybody to the test.” (James 13)
hit me like a thunderbolt.
I have long been troubled by the line in the ‘Our Father’ – ‘Lead us not into temptation’. By saying this line, it suggests to me that we fear that God might lead us into temptation and I’ve always felt that this is so far removed from a loving God as to be bordering on blasphemy.
A loving parent who, we fear, might be putting traps in front of us to catch us out?
I have sought to discuss this wording with various people who are much more educated in matters theological than I am, but I have never yet been given a satisfactory answer. The somewhat glib ‘It’s all in the translation and of course it doesn’t mean that God would try to trap us’ doesn’t really work for me.
If it’s simply a matter of wrong translation, why hasn’t it been corrected long ago? We don’t seem to have any trouble ‘re-translating’ the whole Mass.
I would dearly love to understand why we continue to use words that, turned around into modern parlance say “Do not lead us into temptation”. There a very clearly stated active verb there, and each time the prayer is uttered, it accuses God of setting traps for us.
It seems to me that it would be very simple to change the wording to what is said in Irish “Ná lig sinn i gcathú” (Let us not (fall) into temptation”)
Surely if our ‘betters’ can impose a new translation of the Mass on us it would be a very simple thing to correct a much more disturbing mis-translation?