I recently had the opportunity to study a small portion of St. Teresa of Avilla’s writings on the Lord’s Prayer. I learned many things from this study that I’ve been meditating on for the last couple of weeks, but there is one line that I return to a bit more than others: thy kingdom come…
What exactly are we praying for when we ask thy kingdom come? Are we are praying for an easy life when we pray for this?
God’s kingdom on earth is not always a place where things are easy. It does mean that God blesses us with all we need to do His will, but having a big house, lots of possessions and plenty of money is not necessarily the sign that His kingdom has fully come into your life. Rather, those earthly things you’ve been blessed with are tools you can use to further His kingdom.
I have often prayed this line thinking of the perfected world that is to come at the end of time. I thought of the New Jerusalem where swords have been changed into plowshares. War, poverty, disease, and all the ills that plague our world are no longer even a bad dream. And we are praying for God’s perfect world to come.
But I realize now, from St. Teresa, that when we pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth, we are praying to be like Christ on earth. If we stop and think about His life, we realize that the easy, happy life full of earthy blessings is not necessarily what we are asking for.
Christ lived a life of service, and endured much hardship and persecution before being crucified for us. This is the type of life we are praying for.
We should not think that these things will not happen to us, because as we become more and more like Him, and try to follow more closely in His footsteps, we will endure many trials, and each step will lead us closer to Christ and His kingdom. We may not be literally crucified as Christ was, but as we work for His kingdom, we will, each and every one of us, be crucified in some way.
It takes a lot of courage to pray this line, once we realize what it is we are really asking for. But Christ, who gave us the grace to pray for the trial, will help us endure it. We will face crucifixion many times in our lives, some little and some excruciatingly painful. All are necessary to follow Christ and to let His kingdom come through us.
The good news is that Christ will be with us every step, and as we journey with our families, friends, parishes, indeed all who pray this line, and He will bring us all to our true home together.
Copyright 2014 Carol Ann Chybowski