...I have said the Our Father?
Let's say I have said it every time I have gone to
church on Sunday. I am 58 now, so that is at least 50 x 52 Sundays of Our
Fathers. (He clicks on the computer calculator... boy, talk about mentally
That's 2,600 Our Fathers!
Of course, growing up Catholic, and attending a Catholic
school where we went to confession at least once a month (or was it once a
week? I can't remember!), where 10 Our Fathers seemed to be the appropriate
penance for the 15 times I disobeyed my parents, the 10 times I beat on my
brothers and sisters, and the 20 times I had impure thoughts... not to mention
all the times I lied about how many times I had impure thoughts... (I am totally
making those numbers up... just as I did when I was a third grader! Only back
then, I would make sure they were odd numbers. Even numbers are a dead giveaway
that they are made up!).
So that's 10 Our Fathers a month for 8 the years I
attended Our lady of Grace (well, seven years, they probably figured first
graders didn't have impure thoughts yet, and no need for confession until second
grade)... 9 months of school... let's see, that's... I wasn't very good at math...
9 times 10 times 7... equals another 630 Our Fathers.
I was never big on saying the rosary, but I have said
it a few times, and you say the Our Father a LOT of times when you say the
rosary. So that would be a few dozen more Our Fathers at least.
Well, I think I can safely say that over the years I
have said the Our Father MANY times!!!!
So this Sunday we got to the part that says, "Thy will
be done on earth as it is in heaven..."
And it struck me – why is that so
Why do we have so much trouble with that? What is the
resistance to God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven?
Well, I think a big part is that if I am honest, what
I really want to pray is...
"MY will be done on earth as it is in heaven"!
All in all, I want things to go MY way! I want what's
best for ME.
I really don't see a problem with this, do you?
I mean, I am sure you wouldn't mind if I always got to
go ahead of you in line at the grocery store, would you? You wouldn't mind if I
always got the best seat in the house? If MY team always beat yours... would
Well, maybe YOU wouldn't mind, but no doubt SOMEONE
would, someone who also had prayed that HIS will be done on earth as it is in
heaven. And then there would be all kinds of pushing and shoving – and
probably not a good outcome for me if this other person happened to be 6 foot 4
and weighed 250 pounds!
I would have to surrender my will to him, and accept
HIS will be done, not mine.
And well, that is hard to do. It is hard to surrender
my will to another...
Even if that other is God.
I want to hold onto my will. I want to do things MY
But God wants me to surrender my will to Him.
God is saying to me, "My Way is better than anything you
could ever imagine."
He wants me to TRUST Him. He wants me to trust that if
I do, things will be still be okay.
And that is hard to do.
Of course, God could be like the 250 pound gorilla who
beat me up in line and make me surrender
my will to Him. He certainly has more than enough power to do that!
But He chooses not to. He wants me to freely surrender my will to His. He wants me to freely give
myself to Him. Not just freely – but joyfully, without even the slightest
Because anything else just isn't right. In fact, we
have hard words for forcing your will on another. We call it prison. We call
it rape. To hold someone against his or her will – not matter what your
motives – we call kidnapping.
It certainly isn't love.
So God is in this very odd situation. He loves us. He
loves us with a love beyond our imagining. He holds the absolute fullness of
life, the life that comes from living in perfect harmony with Him – but
He can't make us take it.
It is something that I can only absolutely freely
take. I have to give myself to it – surrender to it, surrender my will to
His – absolutely freely.
But when at last I come to my senses, as the prodigal
son finally did, and see that there is nothing better than God's love, that
there is nothing better than living in my Father's House, that there is truly
nothing I want more...
...then that is heaven!
heaven – in all it's glory and awe and wonder, in all its abounding, pure
and perfect happiness and joy, in all its perfection –because EVERYTHING
is in perfect harmony with God's will.
Heaven is heaven because God's will is for nothing but
the absolute fullness of life, for the fullness of love and joy and everything
Heaven is heaven precisely because God's will is done always and everywhere.
So it hit me, standing there in the sanctuary with the
Praise Band last Sunday, praying the Our Father for the umpteenth thousandth
time, that when we pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
...what we are really praying for is heaven on earth!
Who would ever say no to that???!