friend at midnight
friend at midnight
[Lk. 11:5.]  Saint Ambrose: “We see that prayer is offered in all circumstances. What §
87.]

[Lk. 11:7.]  The Constantinople and NKJV editions render this as an interrogatory. The
KJV reads, “I cannot rise and give thee.”

[Lk. 11:8a.]  “Yet because of his shameless importunity”; the word, literally, is
shameless (ajnaidhv~). A striking word to describe his unabashed persistence.
Saint Kyril: “The most wise Paul writes to ‘be praying unceasingly [1 Thess. 5:17].’ For
the devil unexpectedly and without measure causes clamor and confusion when
throwing us amid circumstances that he might bring us down in multifarious ways to
sin....Therefore many prayers, one upon another, are necessary. ‘For the weapons of our
warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty through God [2 Cor. 10:4],’ as it is written.”
[Commentary, P.G. 72:269C (col. 697).]

[Lk. 11:8b.]  Saint Kyril: “The Savior had taught at the request of the holy apostles in
which way we ought to pray....Here He teaches that we must diligently continue to
practise prayer, showing that weariness in prayer is to our loss, while patience therein
is greatly to our profit. Thus, be urgent in prayer; and if thou seest that the gift of
grace is delayed, yield not to weariness....Think not, ‘I have drawn near frequently; I
have gained absolutely nothing; I have supplicated, but have not been accepted; for of
all I asked, nothing has been accomplished.’ Rather think within thyself that He Who is
the universal treasure house better knows our state than we do, and weighs to
everyone what is due and suitable. Thou askest sometimes what is beyond thy
measure. Thou wishest to receive those things of which thou art not yet worthy. The
Giver knows the suitable time.” [Hom. 78, Commentary, Ch. 11, 321, 322.]

[Lk. 11:11a.]  “Which of you who is a father...he will not give a stone...” (tivna ejx
uJmw`n to;n patevra aijthvsei...mh; livqon ejpidwvsei). The Greek mh; shows that “no”
is the expected answer. The interrogatory tina in the first clause is in the accusative,
the object of aitēsei, while here the same man (he) is the subject of epidosei. It is an
awkward piece of Greek, and yet it is intelligible. The same difficult construction is
carried over into the remaining questions.
Saint Bede: “According to the typological understanding, bread signifies love. Just as
the former is the chief kind of food, so that a table seems to be empty without it, so
the latter is the chief of the virtues, so that the rest of the virtues are unable to appear
as spiritual virtues without it.” [“Homily II.13, The Greater Litanies,” Homilies on the
Gospels, Bk. Two, 129.]

[Lk. 11:11b.]  Saint Bede: “Typologically, by the fish, we understand faith that is not
insincere [cf. 1 Tim. 1:5]. Just as a fish is born, lives, and is nourished beneath a
covering of water, so also faith which is in God, and which seeks the joys of the other
life through the weeping and tears of the present one, is begotten invisibly in the
heart, is consecrated by the invisible grace of the Spirit through the water of Baptism,
and is nourished by the invisible help of divine protection so that it should not fail....
We can also say that a fish is a type of faith, inasmuch as it is struck repeatedly by the
waves of the sea but is not destroyed.” [Ib., 130.]

[Lk. 11:12.]  Saint Bede: “The certainty of our hope is prefigured by the egg. No
offspring is yet discernible in the egg, but the birth of the bird to come is hoped for.
The faithful do not yet look upon the glory of the fatherland on high, in which they
believe at the present, but they await its coming in hope....These then are the good
things which we ought particularly to ask for from God...love, faith, and hope....Let us
ask these things of the Lord, that He may grant the fresh nourishment of pure love, and
not permit our hearts to be narrowed by the rigidity of hatred, implied through the
hardness of the stone. Let us ask for sincere faith, and that we not be allowed to
perish from the venom of unbelief, represented by the word ‘serpent’ as the poison of
unbelief with which the human race was infected. Let us ask for certain hope, that we
may not despair and look back, that is, look for the poisonous advantages of the
tottering world which we left behind; because the harmful change of a good intention
and the turning back to fleshly concupiscence is rightly compared to the venom of a
scorpion which it carries behind, that is, in its tail. We pray that He may take from us
the hardness of hatred, the poison of faithlessness, and the sting of despair which
tends to drag us back to the things that pass. Without doubt we will receive what we
ask for.” [Ib., 130, 131.]

[Lk. 11:13.]  Saint Kyril: “If thou wilt ask anything, and  by the receiving of it thou wilt
become a lover of God, He will grant it; but if it be anything unreasonable, or that
which is able to do thee an injury, He will withhold His hand. When thou askest for
wealth, thou wilt not receive it of God. Because it separates the heart of man from
Him, and begets pride, voluptuousness, love of pleasure, and brings men down to the
pitfalls of worldly lusts....Do thou ask the bestowal without stint of spiritual gifts:
strength to resist lust, an uncovetous disposition, calmness of temper, etc.” [Hom. 79,
Commentary, Ch. 11, 325, 326.]
Saint Bede: “There are those on the other hand who call upon the Lord, but not in
truth. The brother of the Lord convicts these people when he says, ‘Ye ask and receive
not, because ye ask wrongly for yourselves, that ye might consume it in your desires for
pleasure [Jas. 4:3].’ Now they ask wrongly who persevere in sins, and ill-advisedly
entreat the Lord to forgive them the sins they do not at all forgive others....Now the
citizens of the heavenly fatherland, while they are pilgrims on this earth, are not
forbidden to ask the Lord for peaceful times, bodily health, abundant crops, good
weather, and other necessities of life, if these things are not asked for inordinately.”
[Ib., 127, 128.]

Saint Cyprian of Carthage: “If there be among us the fear of God, if the maintenance of
the faith prevail, if we keep the precepts of Christ, if we guard the incorrupt and
inviolate sanctity of His spouse, if the words of the Lord abide in our thoughts and
hearts, when He says, ‘Thinkest thou, when the Son of Man cometh,  shall He find the
faith on the earth?’ then, because we are God’s faithful soldiers, who war for the faith
and sincere religion of God, let us keep the camp entrusted to us by God with faithful
valor. Nor ought custom, which had crept in among some,  prevent the truth from
prevailing and conquering; for custom without truth is the antiquity of error. Let not
faith and truth be betrayed when that which is done outside against the Church is
defended within, indeed, in the very Church herself.” [“Epistle LXXIII, To Pompey About
the Baptism of Heretics,” ¶¶ 8, 9, in Ante-Nicene, V:388, 389.]
Blessed Theophylact: “By using the form of a question, He shows how then He shall
find few faithful. For the son of lawlessness shall gain the mastery to such a degree
then, ‘so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect [Mt. 24:24].’...Few will keep faith
towards God and towards others....Now faith is the solid base and foundation of prayer.
The Lord mentions faith while He is teaching about prayer, showing in a hidden manner
that few will pray then, since few shall be found then who have faith....With His
coming, however, He shall put an end to faithlessness; for, willingly or not, ‘every
tongue shall confess for itself that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
[cf. Phil. 2:11].’” [P.G. 123:432C-433CD (col. 1001).]