May 13, 2009

Thy Kingdom Come

Let's continue our study of the most perfect prayer - the Lord's Prayer - so we can respond most perfectly to our Father. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2763-2764)

Previous posts in the series:
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name

Thy kingdom come

God should reign. God deserves to reign over us. By His act of creation He has, literally, made us His, and He does reign. When we pray these words, we call for God's kingdom to extend into us, into our hearts. We pray against our own stubbornness and hardened hearsts that, somehow, we will let God in. God is not a forceful conqueror when it comes to us. He will only reign in our hearts if we willingly make them part of His kingdom and keep them under His rule.

We call, too, for the bodily return of Christ to earth, not in the appearance of bread and wine but in human body. We call for the triumphant return of the king to earth, so God's kingdom will be as obvious here "as it is in Heaven".

We pray for the kingdom to come, but do we really want it to come *now*? If we're honest with ourselves, I don't think any of us feel ready to see God face to face. We want God's kingdom to come and yet we fear it, deep down, because we fear not being fit to enter in.

It is easier to put these thoughts of our ultimate destiny aside. Right now, perhaps I'm not perfect, not pure, but I'm close. I could become pure if I needed to. We stay just in sight of the city on the hill, believing we will always be able to dash to the light of it when the time comes. I think many of us care for our souls as we care for our homes. They stay just so dirty that we can do a quick cleanup before our parents arrive to pass judgment. But as Jesus warned us, we don't know when that visit is going to come. We must be ready like a soldier for dress inspection, because we may be called to account for a spot at any time. (There is a reason we're called the church militant, hm?)

If I had it my way, the kingdom would come when I'm ready for it, when my soul is as prepared for judgment as it can be. But it is not my way, but His. As Jesus said in the garden, not my will but Yours. And so we pray for what we know should be. Thy kingdom come. Marana tha. Come Lord Jesus.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2d ed. (Washington: United States Catholic Conference, 1997).

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