XXXIV. “But deliver us from evil,” the Lord’s Prayer concludes. This clause is closely linked to the previous one and gives it the right orientation: in both, we are asking God to help us in the inevitable risks of being free persons living in a fallen world.
Evil, and the work of Satan, the Evil One (the text leaves open both, and related, references), abound. Pope Benedict suggests some examples: “ … the forces of the market, of traffic in weapons, in drugs, and in human beings … the ideology of success, of well-being, that tells us, “God is just a fiction … don’t bother with Him!” … all forces that weigh upon the world and ensnare humanity irresistibly” (p. 165).
Asking to be delivered from evil, then, is more than simply avoiding specific evils; it asks to be spared from losing connection with God, for in doing so we lose ourselves. This is the interpretation of the prayer that links it to the strength and courage of the martyrs: to borrow St. Paul’s words to the Romans: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Ultimately, the Lord’s Prayer concludes in the same logic as praying “Thy Kingdom come.” God’s reign is incompatible with evil, the abandonment of God by free persons; it co-exists in this world with suffering and the effects of evil, but these do not inevitably draw us to evil ourselves. Yet again, the Cross is our lens: Jesus suffered the greatest evil but was not thereby sacrificed to evil; instead, His sacrifice of love overcame that evil and redeemed us.