Thy will be done.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he taught those beautiful words. We say them in our liturgy, daily offices, and while we are in community with one another. Yet, how many times do we contemplate each of those words? More importantly, do we pray them from our hearts and then live them? Or, do they bounce off our hearts like raindrops on a windshield?
Four words seem at odds with our modern daily lives: "Thy will be done." We have been conditioned in a culture of independence and self-sufficiency. Submission to something other than self is anathema to our worldly ways. For many, the movement to the Holy One is theoretical rather than real. Yet, Jesus says these words in the Garden of Gethsemane, "thy will" it is spoken throughout the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and in Paul's letters. One of the most moving Psalms states, "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!" (Ps 143:10)
In daily life, the chasm between our words and putting them into practice is vast. Perhaps a greater understanding of "thy will be done" is found in the heart and our relationship with the Holy One. Far too often, our faith is lived in our head or simply verbalized. As a result, faith may seem real when we practice distant acts of charity, proclaim righteousness, goodness, justice, and compassion. However, without living and acting with the Creator as our center, faith turns into a loose and superficial association. Without the Holy One as our life, our connection to one another is conditional. We find that sin is negated as a relic of the past. Our sacrifice for one another is according to our level of tolerance and comfort. Love is only given with reciprocity expected. The Holy One is seen as an afterthought.
"Thy will be done" goes far beyond superficiality or slight recognition. No, it does not mean passivity nor giving up. It calls for depth that transcends our demand for intellectual comprehension. "Thy will" is a sacred acceptance that the Holy One's presence is the yearning for deep connection and love. It requires obligation, rootedness, and action. The Creator is continually reaching out and the ultimate expression is Jesus Christ. The desired union is not an exterior knowing, but the divine indwelling of the interior life. It is there that our deepest center is liberated. This indwelling, this new way of living life that lays within, is the cocoon being awakened and moved, where beauty is released, and our true self breaks through and launches in flight.
I doubt the Holy One is content in receiving leftovers from us. The Holy One wants everything: our very selves. This is the essence of following Christ. Continually seeking the full depths of Christian consummation. Throughout the day, in each thought, encounter, and breath, we must avail ourselves for the Holy One to act in and through us. With a heart filled with the Creator's goodness, the sins of racism, hate, misogyny, patriarchy, marginalization, selfishness are a foreign virus. The divine light will inherently eradicate their presence. The tendency to act out of fear - of others, change, losing possessions and material wealth, fear of losing control is replaced by a spirit of abundance. We empty our heart so it can be filled by the Holy One.
Centering our lives in the Holy One, made real in Christ, changes our perspective of "thy will be done." The heart begins to love what our Creator loves, and joy slowly erodes our self-constructed walls. We allow ourselves to be captivated by a truth greater than our own. This, my siblings, is freedom. This is where we want to be, with our heart, soul, and yes - mind. To love our Creator, Redeemer, and Savior with every ounce of our being. I seek to know you.
"Thy will" is the fullness of our Creator's goodness, and it is holy and life-giving. We then have an awakening that transcends human expectation, and we cannot help but share this love and life with our fellow pilgrims. As a wise person wrote," the Holy One alone is good, merciful, gentle, delightful, and sweet, Who alone is holy, just, true, holy, and upright, Who alone is kind, innocent, and clean?” 1
Take a few minutes to drop to your knees, or sit in silence and say those words from the depth of your being "Thy Kingdom Come and your will be done." We may not know what the next few months or years have in store, but we know the Holy One is good and with us in every moment. This presence and knowing will allow us to do things we thought were impossible.
Love God above all things. Love life and know you are loved.
I leave you with this prayer:
Do not look for your daily bread anywhere but in God’s presence.
May you not waste your intelligence and skills for anything but good.
May you not hurt a single creature
May you not have sin on your hands.
May you not lay eyes on evil.
May you see Christ in each person you encounter.
The Risen Christ be present.
1. St. Francis of Assisi
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