I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
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“Supplications” are on behalf of secular rulers, that they may have obedient subjects, and thus peace and tranquillity. “Prayers” are for those to whom power has been entrusted, that they may govern with justice and truth, so that all may prosper. “Intercessions” are for those in dire necessity, that they may find help. And “thanksgivings” refer to gratitude for God’s daily providences. .
I prefer to understand by these words what the entire, or almost the entire, church observes: that we take as supplications those prayers which are said in celebrating the mysteries, before we begin to consecrate what lies on the table of the Lord. Prayers are said when it is blessed and sanctified and broken for distribution; and the whole church, for the most part, closes this complete petition with the Lord’s Prayer. The original Greek word helps us to understand this distinction: the Scripture seldom uses the word euche in the sense of oratio, but generally and much more frequently euch&#; means votum; whereas proseuch&#;,the word used in the passage we are treating, is always rendered by oratio. … Now, all the things which are offered to God are vowed, especially the oblation at the holy altar, for in this sacrament we show forth that supreme offering, by which we vow to abide in Christ, even to the union of the body of Christ. The outward sign of this is that “we, being many, are...
Intercessions, as in the Protestant translation. If men's intercessions to God in favour of others, are no injury to Christ, as our mediator, how can it be any injury to Christ for the Angels and saints in heaven to pray or intercede to God for us? (Witham)
St. Augustine writes thus on this verse: By supplications are meant what are said before the consecration. By prayers, are what are said in and after the consecration and communion, at mass, including the Pater Noster; which St. Jerome also says, our Lord taught his apostles to recite at the daily sacrifice of his body. (lib. iii. contra Pelag. chap. 5) By intercessions, what are said after the communion: and by thanksgivings, what both the priest and people give to God for so great a mystery then offered and received. (ep. 50. ad Paulin.) See St. Chrysostom on this place.
“Supplication’ is a beseeching or petition for sins…. “Prayers” are those by which we offer a vow to God…. “Intercession” is customarily offered, in moments of fervor, for other men and women—our family, the peace of the world. To use St. Paul’s words, we pray “for all men, for kings and all in authority.” … “Thanksgiving” is when the mind recollects what God has done or is doing or looks forward to the good which he has prepared for those who love him, and so offers its gratitude in an indescribable transport of spirit. Sometimes it offers still deeper prayers of this sort; when the soul contemplates in singleness of heart the reward of the saints and so is moved in its happiness to pour forth a wordless thanksgiving.
Let us then exhort the saints to give thanks for us. And let us exhort one another toward gratitude. To ministers especially this good work belongs, since it is an exceeding privilege. Drawing near to God, we give thanks for the whole world and the good things we commonly share. The blessings of God are shared in common, and in this common preservation you yourselves are included. Consequently, you both owe common thanksgivings for your own peculiar blessings and for those shared in common with others, for which you rightly should offer your own special form of praise…. So then let us give thanks also for the faith that others have toward God. This custom is an ancient one, planted in the church from the beginning. Thus Paul also gives thanks for the Romans, for the Corinthians and for the whole world.
The priest serves as the common father, as it were, of all the world. It is proper therefore that he should care for all, even as God, whom he serves cares for all…. From this, two advantages result. First, hatred toward those who are outside the circle is transcended, for no one can feel hatred toward those for whom he prays. Those apart are made better by the prayers that are offered for them, by losing their ferocious disposition toward us. For nothing is so apt to draw men under teaching as to love and to be loved.
The Priest is the common father, as it were, of all the world; it is proper therefore that he should care for all, even as God, Whom he serves. For this reason he says, I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. From this, two advantages result. First, hatred towards those who are without is done away; for no one can feel hatred towards those for whom he prays: and they again are made better by the prayers that are offered for them, and by losing their ferocious disposition towards us. For nothing is so apt to draw men under teaching, as to love, and be loved. Think what it was for those who persecuted, scourged, banished, and slaughtered the Christians, to hear that those whom they treated so barbarously offered fervent prayers to God for them. Observe how he wishes a Christian to be superior to all ill-treatment. As a father who was struck on the face by a little child which he was carrying, would not lose a...