Jacques Maritain Center

Notes on the Lord's Prayer

Raissa Maritain

Translated from the French

Lord, teach us to pray
Luke 11: 1



is a translation of Notes sur le Pater
by Raissa Maritain, originally published
by Desclée de Brouwer, Paris, France, 1962

Nihil obstat - Edward J. Montano, S.T.D., Censor Librorum
Imprimatur - FRANCIS CARDINAL SPELLMAN, Archbishop of New York
New York, December 27, 1963

The nihil obstat and imprimatur are official declarations
that a book or pamphlet is free of doctrinal or moral
error. No implication is contained therein that those
who have granted the nihil obstat and imprimatur agree
with the contents, opinions or statements expressed.

To the Little Brothers of Jesus


Preface by Jacques Maritain


During a reunion at Kolbsheim, some ten years ago, we were discussing with a group of friends the titles of books to be included in a new collection. At that time Raïssa said at random at one point in the conversation: "Shouldn't we have a book on prayer, something like Contemplation along the Roads of the World?" Whereupon Louis Gardet declared this was just what was needed, and that Raïssa herself should write it. After that she was always thinking of this project which she could not carry out because of the trial of illness, with its interminable suffering, which constantly ravaged our little flock. But every time she could, she noted down thoughts for this Contemplation along the Roads, thoughts which came to her during prayer and certain of which made a singularly deep impress upon her mind.

These notes, of which she sometimes made several drafts, and which she intended to work over and complete, have, alas, fallen to me to recopy and put into order. Those which were to comprise the first part of the book were grouped under the title Notes on the Lord's Prayer. I believe it is proper to publish them separately because they form a sufficient whole. I am confident that they will aid those drawn to meditation to enter more deeply into the infinite riches of the very perfect prayer taught us by Christ himself and which is the prayer above all others.

In conformity with Raïssa's expressed wish -- for that matter we always submitted to each other what we wrote -- I have taken it upon myself to supplement her work where it appeared necessary. Sometimes it was a question of things clearly implied in the themes she intended treating and which merely lacked sufficient development -- in particular, things which she said to me on several occasions and which I remember very exactly: in such cases I simply incorporated them into the text,{1} certain that I was expressing her thought.

Sometimes it was a question of things that seemed called forth by her reflections, but which we did not discuss verbally in an explicit manner, or which were not clearly contained in her plan as I knew it: in such cases I have used a special typographical sign to denote that these additions do not engage her, although I have made them only with the thought she would have approved them.

May it be, as I hope, that at no time in the course of this work have I departed from her help and inspiration.

Fraternité, Toulouse

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