November 6, 2014

Homilies on the "Lord's Prayer", Also Known as the "Our Father" (4 of 9)

"Your Will Be Done, As In Heaven So On Earth"

In the Lord's Prayer, the "Our Father", taught to us by Christ, we pray to God that His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. "Your will be done, as in heaven so on earth". Three points can be emphasized regarding this request to God.

The first is the will of God. Let us see what the will of God is.

The [Greek] word "will" (θέλημα) comes from the verb "want" (θέλω) and denotes someone who wants and desires. In this case, God's will is what God wants, not for Himself, but for our salvation. Man was fashioned by God for the purpose of attaining communion with Him and to be glorified with Him. Adam and Eve, however, did their own will and thus lost the opportunity to participate in the glory of God. Now man has to implement the will of God to attain glorification, theosis, perfection, holiness. The Apostle Paul writes: "For this is the will of God, our sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3).

The will of God was revealed by God through the saints and the righteous ones of the Old Testament, the Prophets, but it was revealed in its fullness through the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, Who revealed to us the path we must follow to be saved. He Himself, as He would say, did not seek His own will, but the will of His Father Who sent Him (Jn. 5:20). The Apostle Paul was convinced that he was an Apostle "by the will of God" (1 Cor. 1:1). He also encourages Christians to experience in their lives "what the will of God is, the good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom. 12:2).

Here, however, we see another truth. With the supplication to God that He help us to do His will, it is declared that virtue is not an achievement of our own desire and study, but also of divine Grace, since the Grace of God energizes and man responds to the energy of God.

The second point is "as in heaven". With the word "heaven" is meant the angels of God and essentially with this prayer we are told to uphold the will of God as the angels do in heaven. On the one hand they continuously glorify God, and on the other hand they obey His will, never with any objection, living for God and being spirits of service. These two things are the constant inspiration of the angels, and they never feel weariness or fatigue. Therefore, with this request we confess that we want to pray and uphold the commandments of God, the commands of which express the will of God.

Seeking to realize the will of God, as it is in heaven, also has another meaning. With the previous request "Your Kingdom come" we desired future goods and stated that we were in a hurry for this emigration, to arrive there. Because, however, the coming of these future good things and the emigration to God is delayed, this is why we pray to live now in the way we will live then, and to desire heaven before heaven comes.

The third point is "so on earth". This means that it is feasible to live on earth like the angels live in heaven and how the saints will live after the Second Coming of Christ. Besides, Christ did not teach us to live in ways that were not feasible. Thus, nothing can prevent us from living like the angels in heaven. Saints have existed who realized these things in this life, before their repose, and this is why we chant in their hymns that they lived like "angels in the world", and this shows that we all can, if we want, live like this from now.

Also, with the phrase "so on earth" it is stated that we should not only take care to observe the will of God, but we must desire and strive to spread the will of God throughout the earth. We need to eradicate delusions and errors and implant the truth, to eliminate evil so virtue will come. And in this way the earth will not differ from heaven.

The problem is that while we pray that God's will take place, in practice we seek to realize our own will. And many times while we pray with the words "YOUR will be done" to God, essentially, by our actions, and often by our words, we ask from Him: "MY will be done", seeking to realize the will of our flesh and our intellect (Eph. 2:3). This is why we don't have serenity, calmness and joy, and this is why we cannot be sanctified.

But we must change our behavior and seek to attain for ourselves and our environment, and if possible by all people, the will of God.