Hallowed be thy Name
Reflections of Pope Benedict on the Our Father.
by Father Sean.
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Thy Kingdom come
Pope Benedict says of this petition of the Our Father that "these words establish an order of priorities for human action, for how we approach everyday life". With this petition we acknowledge the primacy of God. Where God is absent, nothing can be good. Where God is not seen, humanity and the world fall to ruin.
The coming of God's kingdom is not meant to bring us a utopian situation where we will share a Land of Plenty, provided we are devout or are somehow attracted to the Kingdom of God. What Jesus does is establish an absolutely decisive priority. To pray for the coming of the kingdom means that we pray that his will is accepted as the criterion for all our actions. God's will establishes justice, and part of justice is that we give God his due homage and reverence. The pope reflects that when God offered Solomon the privilege of making a request that God would grant. Solomon did not seek wealth, fortune, honour , the death of his enemies, or even long life. Instead Solomon asks for a "listening heart", the ability to discern between good and evil. The petition "Thy Kingdom come" is asking that we may order our actions in a just way, with a listening heart.
Finally the Pope suggests that the Kingdom is Jesus Christ in person. The Kingdom is present wherever he is present, and the request for a listening heart becomes a request for communion with Jesus. What is requested in this petition is the true following of Christ which is communion with him and makes us one body with him.