On earth as it is in heaven…..Hmmm…most of us have repeated that phrase in the ‘Our Father’ prayer thousands of times but how often do you stop to really think about it?
Although our world is beautiful in many, many ways, it is very far from heavenly. I don’t know about you, but the concept of God’s will being done used to frighten me a bit. It’s mysterious, after all. What might He demand of me? And how can I really know what His will is? I think many of us think that way. Like we have some underlying assumption that His will and ours are opposites, like black and white. Perhaps that’s part of our fallen nature. We favor and trust our own will despite hoards of evidence that following our will often doesn’t work out very well for us, not to mention those around us. A good friend of mine, in her second marriage after a divorce and subsequent annulment, told me that looking back she realizes she never consulted God’s will on that big decision. Strong willed by nature, she decided this was the guy she wanted to marry and when it should happen and it did. The annulment being granted certainly indicated that it wasn’t ultimately God’s will, although He did allow it to happen. They could have saved themselves a lot of heartache and pain if they had sought God’s will and wisdom.
But I think if we take that line from the Our Father in its full context, it’s a lot less scary. We pray not simply that God’s will be done on earth, but “as it is in heaven”. How is God’s will manifested in heaven…or more accurately, how is His will done by His creatures there? By acts of love and trust and joy. It’s really quite simple. If you want to know God’s will, choose the most loving path. Choose the path that requires you to trust in God’s plan and providence and don’t force your own, ill considered plans on everyone else. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t try to influence others or pursue that which we want. After all, many times our desires are inspired by God and completely consistent with His will like when we desire to be loved, to have a home, to have work we enjoy. We’re not expected to be totally passive but are to make decisions and pursue careers and relationships and other good things. Sometimes we’ll mess up. But if we set our hearts on doing God’s will as it’s done in heaven, then we will strive to act with love and in peace. We will choose to pray for those who are in sin and hurting us, rather than hurling lightning bolts of nasty words and plans for revenge. That is simply not God’s way here or in heaven.
As this Lent begins with acts of aggression in Russia and fears of war, let’s round out our Lenten observances, not only with acts of penance to atone for the grievous sin in the world, prayer and alms giving but most importantly let’s do little acts of love on earth as they are done in heaven. Let’s pray for our President that He does what is needed on the world stage to turn back our enemies and let’s also pray for Vladimir Putin’s heart to be converted. There’s a battle for every soul…and for those with such power the battle is strongest. We have a role to play.
Remember The Battle of LePanto and pick up your rosary and go forth with courage and conviction. As Christians we have the call, the duty and the power to bring the kingdom here….
I love this song by Jason Gray…
“With every act of love, we bring the kingdom come…”
So, let’s get on it!!
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