PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section Two: The Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father”
Article 3, The Seven Petitions (cont’d)
II. “Thy Kingdom Come”
§ 2816 In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by “kingship” (abstract noun), “kingdom” (concrete noun) or “reign” (action noun). The Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. It is brought near in the Word Incarnate, it is proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel, and it has come in Christ’s Death and Resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst. The Kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to His Father:
- “It may even be…that the Kingdom of God means Christ Himself, whom we daily desire to come, and whose coming we wish to be manifested quickly to us. For as He is our Resurrection, since in Him we rise, so He can also be understood as the Kingdom of God, for in Him we shall reign” (DDO 13: PL 4, 528A).
§ 2817 This petition is “Marana tha”, the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: “Come, Lord Jesus.”
- “Even if it had not been prescribed to pray for the coming of the Kingdom, we would willingly have brought forth this speech, eager to embrace our hope. In indignation, the souls of the martyrs under the altar cry out to the Lord: ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?’ For their retribution is ordained for the end of the world. Indeed, as soon as possible, Lord, may Your Kingdom come!” (DeO 5: PL 1, 1159A; cf. Hebrews 4:11; Revelation 6:9; 22:20)
§ 2818 In the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come” refers primarily to the Final Coming of the Reign of God through Christ’s return (cf. Titus 2:13). But, far from distracting the Church from her mission in this present world, this desire commits her to it all the more strongly. Since Pentecost, the coming of that Reign is the work of the Spirit of the Lord who “completes His work on Earth and brings us the fullness of grace” (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 118).
§ 2819 “The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). The end-time in which we live is the age of the outpouring of the Spirit. Ever since Pentecost, a decisive battle has been joined between “the flesh” and the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:16-25).
- “Only a pure soul can boldly say: ‘Thy kingdom come.’ One who has heard Paul say, ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies,’ and has purified himself in action, thought, and word will say to God: ‘Thy kingdom come!’” (CM 5, 13: PG 33, 1120A; cf. Rom 6:12)
Tomorrow – “Thy Kingdom Come” (to be continued)
(Part IV, Section 2, Article 3 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviations in today’s posting are noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
- “CM” – St. Cyril of Jerusalem, “Catecheses Mystagogicae [Catechesis of Mystagogy (Mysteries of the faith)]”
- “DDO” – St. Cyprian, “De Dominica Oratione [The Lord’s Prayer]”
- “DeO” – Tertullian, “De Oratione [Prayer]”
- “PG” – “Patrologia Graeca [Greek Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Greek language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1857‑1866 A.D.)
- “PL” – “Patrologia Latina [Latin Patrology]”, an enormous collection of writings of the Church Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers in the Latin language published by J. P. Migne, (Paris, 1841‑1855 A.D.)