Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 19, 2001
Thy will be done on earth
By FR. JOHN SPICER
So far we have pondered upon the first three phrases of the Our Father. We come now to the petition "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." What then is God's will for us and for our universe?
We touched upon the answer in the previous article, "Thy will be done." God's will for us and for our universe is the present and coming kingdom, God's reign in us and in the universe.
We are challenged to work with God to bring his reign about. Are we up to it? We are not up to it ourselves, of course, but with God's help.
Thus behind this petition of the Our Father lies a great reality. God exists in his own right. We do not. We and our universe are God's creation. Yet God wills that we take part in its unfolding. We can succeed only by doing it God's way and not our own.
God created for us a material universe. But we and our universe are still in the making. We haven't come to our fullness, our completion, nor has our universe.
To some extent this future is in our hands. Surely this is a great responsibility, one that God clearly gave to us from the beginning.
For we were made in God's likeness and were given "dominion" over the earth. "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it." That's the way Genesis 1 puts it.
The end product of God's work and ours is yet in the future. In scriptural terms that future is "a new heavens and a new earth."
It is now in the making, in the shaping. What it will be in the end is God's supreme surprise for us. And we can be sure that it will exceed our wildest dreams.
For again, as Scripture says, our future holds "what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Thus when then we pray, "You will be done as it is in heaven," we are putting ourselves on the spot. For our future, and the future of the universe, is, to some extent, in our hands.
Under God we will succeed despite our sinfulness, weakness, and limited vision. So we pray that we'll do God's will as it is done in heaven.
In heaven God's will is accomplished through the full sight of God whereas on earth it is accomplished through faith. So in faith we move forward.
How important, then, is this petition of the Our Father! How great an enterprise it holds out to us!
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