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Ask the Register: "amen"?

Q. I am sometimes confused when I pray with Catholics because some say an “amen” at the end of the Lord’s Prayer during Mass, and some don’t. Is Amen supposed to be said at the end of the Our Father or not?

A. “Amen” is a Hebrew word that is roughly translated as “so be it.” On the part of Christians, it affirms our faith as disciples of Jesus Christ, and should therefore by on our lips on a daily basis.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “To believe is to say ‘Amen’ to God’s words, promises, and commandments, to entrust oneself completely to him who is the ‘Amen’ of infinite love and perfect faithfulness” (CCC 1064). Thus, the word “amen” is a two-way word that expresses dialogue between God and man. 

God’s fidelity to us and the sending of Christ is His great “amen” to us. The book of Revelation refers to Jesus as “The Amen” of the Father (Rev. 3:14). He will always remain faithful and loving to us, even if we reject Him. God’s fidelity endures in our midst through the proclamation of the Word of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church, and in the celebration of the sacraments. These are all part of the Lord’s great “amen” to us. 

As Catholics, when we say “amen,” we affirm Our Lord’s love and fidelity. On our part, we might think of the word “amen” as connected to the living out of our individual vocations. The Lord gives us our own paths that include both joys and sorrows, but are to be accepted with serenity and trust. Saying “amen” throughout the day is a means of accepting and loving God’s will for us. 

For these reasons, prayers such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, will traditionally conclude with the word “amen.”

The Church includes the use of “amen” in her liturgical practice. For example, at Mass, after the Creed is recited, we respond with a resounding, “amen.” However, when we pray the Our Father at Mass, it does not conclude with “amen.”  

Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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