NOT (The Our Father, Word by Word)

October 17, 2011 | 10 comments

Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done,
On Earth As it Is in Heaven. Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread. Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those
Who Have Trespassed Against Us. Lead Us Not….

by Martina Kreitzer

Rules. Who needs them anyway, right? As adults, we have the freedom to say “yes” or “no” because “Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules!” It’s the ongoing battle of the intellect vs. the will. We know subconsciously {or maybe a simple reminder of looking down at our gut} that we shouldn’t have the #1 Extra Value Meal, super size the fries and sweet tea {or Coke if that’s your poison – I’m from Texas, it’s tea or Coke “’round these parts hee-yah”}. Our intellect is wise to our antics, but the will? Oh, how the will breaks us in half and tempts us, using its best tactics to get the intellect to acquiesce so our gut is satisfied.

But is our gut truly satisfied?

The bigger question is, how does our free will stack up when faced with temptation? Because of God’s grace infused into our soul at baptism and stirred when we are confirmed, we are assured that we can do all things with Him. Through the use of our God given free will, every thing we do is subject not just to temptation, but more importantly our reaction to that temptation. Where Satan tempted Christ, it could not be done. Where Satan tempts us, we either succumb or we stand strong with the help of God’s graces.

Everywhere we look in our secular culture, the word “no” is seen as a negative, a moral relativist’s worst nightmare.

“How dare we tell ourselves no! We are our own judge and jury, free to do as we please with responsibility to none.”

And yet, by saying “yes” to the world, we become slaves to the consequences of that instant gratification, the temporal pleasures that ultimately do not measure up to the infinite goodness we will experience in heaven with God.

So when we turn our attention to this beautiful phrase of asking God to “lead us not into temptation…” it begs much more thought than our finite minds can comprehend.

Where we see “not” as a negative, gloom & doom, or a pessimistic way of responding to something, we are given hope and a glimpse at how our view of “not” is actually God’s way of telling us “yes.”

How so?

Photo by Martina Kreitzer

I remember once when my mother-in-law explained the Teachings of the Church in a very simple way. I appreciated the simplicity of it because, well, my brain is very simple. She talked about the “rules” of the Church as the boundary. Her visual included the grandkids’ trampoline outside that has the mesh netting around the edge to keep the kids from flying sideways, 40 feet away. “Ok, ” I’m thinking to myself, “what does this have to do with the Church?” She then goes on to explain to me that the rules serve the same purpose as the mesh netting. They are there to keep us safe. As long as we know where the boundaries are and more importantly, we understand why they exist, we can have all kinds of fun bouncing around like crazy people in the middle. I often joke that some who are more rigid in their faith {I say that genuinely and lovingly} are probably the ones jumping straight up and down right in the middle. You can guess who’s hanging off the netting, though, right? Yup, the charismatics. God love ‘em.

I had to admit her visual was very intriguing to me. It’s actually one of my favorite analogies when I share the purpose of the rules of the Church with friends and strangers who get too close to me and my Catholic rubs off on them. I think what speaks to me most about it is the fact that while it can look enticing beyond the mesh netting/rules of our Faith, we can be assured that God puts those rules in place to protect us. Much like we, as parents, employ rules for the ultimate benefit of our children, so God does to demonstrate that love for us.

Within the body of the prayer, we can look at “lead us not into temptation…” not through the filter of our finite minds, but rather see how we are ultimately dependent on God, as His children, to blockade the temptation that seeks us at every turn. As much as He puts the rules in place for us, we have to be willing participants in our faith to accept those rules. In this case, not becomes a marriage of our asking of God to block us from sinning, as much as it is His offer to do so at our humble request.

Martina Kreitzer is a cradle Catholic, wife and mother to five kiddos whom she recently decided to homeschool. She is the creator of the website Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith.


  1. Laura

    I’m a Catholic convert and have been chaffing against the rules and obligations lately (own fault, long story). Anyway, I found your illustration of the trampoline with its safety boundary really helpful so thank you for sharing it.

  2. Brittany

    I love the trampoline analogy! I think it is hard as adults to think of ourselves as children who still need boundaries and direction. Especially as parents who are so used to creating and enforcing them ourselves! Great reminder that “no” exists because God loves us as unfailingly as we love our own children (or even more so, as our love for our children is actually just an echo of His Love- made in His image). Great reflection Martina.

  3. Jamie

    This is such a great post! So many people are wary of the Church because they think she just loves imposing nonsensical rules on people for no reason, but you’re right – they’re there to protect us! I couldn’t agree more about the moral relativism in our society. :-/ Thanks for posting!

    For Love of Cupcakes

  4. Michael

    It makes for a long series, but I (quite literally) appreciate every “word”. Another great post. Keep it going!

  5. priest's wife

    I really like the idea of the trampoline

    This series has been really great and thought-provoking

  6. Edward

    There are so many bad things out there that feel so good. The downsides are the consequences and damages it will do. I agree with your explanation on why God implements such rules. God love and cares for us so much that He wants us away from harm.

  7. Karen

    I find the prayer very important especially that I know how weak I am against temptation. I accept that I need God’s strength and guidance in everything I do. I am so grateful for the love and care God has shown by making sure that we stay away from harm’s path.

  8. jordan signor

    Anything you want to do well has rules. If you want to drive a golfball as far as it will go you have to follow the rules of a perfect swing. You can hit it they way you want to but if you want to hit it right you have to swing within the rules. “Not” always how you want to.

    It’s like the ten commandments just add do not hurt yourself.

    Also Jen at the end of this series can you make all of these words available in one place I think my life would be better if I could refer often to everyone of these great pieces. Ty

  9. Erin

    I am Catholic, but I frequently listen to a Protestant pastor on the local Christian radio station, and one of his catchphrases is, “When God says DON’T, he means DON’T HURT YOURSELF.”

    When I run up against a rule I don’t like, it helps me to think of this phrase!

  10. Cynthia

    I love the trampoline analogy ! I spent time in my youth yelling I didn’t need any stupid fences !! Time as a young wife and mother jumping right in the middle of the trampoline very rigid, safe but not joyful and now, coming closer to being the person God wants me to be, I find my self swinging from the fences, grateful for their support. Yelling outside to others, Come on in ! This is awesome !! 🙂 Thanks so much !

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