Understanding ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ in the context of the human perfection preached in the Sermon on the Mount

Adrian Aurel Podaru, Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca

The main focus of this paper is to show how St. Gregory of Nyssa thinks of the Lord’s Prayer as the prayer properly uttered only by those who strive to become perfect, an ideal preached by Jesus Christ Himself in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt. 5, 48: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”). According to St. Gregory’s view, homoiosis tou Theou becomes an essential condition for praying with the prayer delivered to us from above. The entire Sermon on the Mount aims at human perfection, which is understood not only in terms of deeds, but also and especially in terms of thoughts and inner dispositions. Analyzed in this context, it is obvious that the Lord’s Prayer is not a common, ordinary prayer, but an extraordinary one, requiring an inner state close to perfection. Homilies on the Lord’s Prayer, but also other homilies and treatises of St. Gregory, are used in this paper to argue this idea.