By Jonathan Lynch
We have all said these words before every single time that we pray the Lord’s Prayer at every single Mass that we participate in. They roll off the tongue with every decade of the rosary. But do we ever really think about what they mean, not just as the words of a prayer, but what they mean for us personally in our spiritual lives?
Whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are petitioning God that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth. And not just partway. We are praying that His kingdom and His will be established as firmly and completely as it is in heaven. That is to say, in total perfection. That’s a tall order on the face of things, and the order just gets taller whenever you look around at the world: at the general apathy regarding religion, the culture of death, broken families and relationships, and all the other spiritual and moral wounds that rack our poor world.
The apostles, too, saw the problems that filled the world in their times, and they asked Jesus, “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus replies, “It is not for you to know the time or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.”
It’s interesting; Jesus gives them a non-answer, and an answer at the same time. He reveals that the total and perfect restoration of the kingdom is yet to come, in the Father’s good time. But that does not mean that its coming has to wait until the final judgement and the end of the world. God’s kingdom can be established in us who love and serve him by our faithful witness “to the uttermost part of the earth.” He can reign on earth in our hearts, if we let him. Or perhaps to put it more clearly, Christ’s kingdom is established on earth when he is king of our hearts and our lives. Christ’s kingdom is established on earth when we cultivate lives of deep personal holiness through prayer and allow our souls to constantly abide in the presence of the tabernacle, whatever we are doing in our day-to-day lives. And Christ’s kingdom is established on earth when we relinquish our own self-centered will so completely that we can truly say with Jesus: “My will is to do the will of Him who sent me,” (John 6:38). This is the very heart of holiness, to truly conform our will to the will of the Father.
Satan often tempts us to fear God’s will, as if following God’s plan for our lives will leave us washed up, unhappy, or unfulfilled. And I will be the first to admit that I’ve heard that voice before and have sometimes put credence in it. And when I have done so, I have never found the peace of God.
Think about this: God created us. He knows us better than we could ever hope to know ourselves. God sent his only Son to redeem us. He loves us more than we could ever hope to love ourselves. God has created a special place in heaven for each of us. He wants us to be happy more than we want it for ourselves. And in the face of all this, can we possibly believe that his plan is inferior to ours?
Look at the saints! Look at St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who left behind everything that the world could offer to serve the poorest of the poor. And yet her joy was boundless. Look at St. Thomas More, who was so convicted of God’s truth and faithfulness that he could joke with his own executioner as he mounted the scaffold to die. Look at Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, who spent his short life in vigorous, enthusiastic pursuit of God and service to his neighbors. He could say, “You ask me whether I am in good spirits. How could I not be so? As long as Faith gives me strength I will always be joyful.“
I encourage you all, let Christ be the King of your heart! Let his sacramental presence be the lifeblood of your soul! And above all, do not fear God’s will! If you are faithful to it, then God will lead you along the path of holiness, and in your heart, his kingdom can truly reign “on earth as it is in heaven.”
¡VIVA CRISTO REY!
‘Till next time, may Christ be with you all, and may His Mother shield you beneath her mantle.
All for Thee, Sweet Jesus,
Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
For the glory of God
And the salvation of souls.