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able, forgotten son should stand before his beloved father, who, being surrounded by noble lords arrayed in their most splendid robes, is seated upon his throne, will not he, the son, not being able to approach or to ascend the steps of that throne to embrace his beloved father, weep in his anguish, in his poverty and abandonment? The father shall see his tears, and his paternal heart shall be moved; he will descend from his throne to embrace the sorrowing one, to comfort him, and to place him at his side. Such is the condition of a soul that has wandered, but which now returns and seeks its God, and the merciful, celestial, paternal love which is expressed in these words, “ Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth the footstool of My feet; upon whom shall I look, if not upon the poor who is of contrite heart, and who fears My words ?” Hence we say,
Our Father, who art in heaven; Thou dost dwell on high and in light inaccessible. We know not the way to Thee, but Thou hast a way to us. Thy kingdom come. May Thy heaven descend to us, and may Thy splendour shine upon our souls.'
F we inhabit or journey through a country in which a barbaric, rude,
and vulgar mode of speech prevails, which, although it displeases us, we are nevertheless compelled to use; and if, at the same time, we are certain that, sooner or later, we shall enter another region, which is our true home, and where honour and happiness await us, where no other than an elegant, pure, and noble language is spoken,—we should undoubtedly
labour to acquire that speech, which will be the only one that we shall be hereafter able to use, and without which we shall not obtain entrance into that happy country. We now dwell and wander upon this earthly world, which is our first home, but a desolate one; and the language that is spoken here is earthly, obscure, often selfish, impure, and without truth, betraying the elements of which it is composed; for, as the Baptist said, “He that is of this earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh.” Our future and true home is heaven, and the language that we shall speak 'there
is heavenly. But where shall we learn this language, if not upon
this earth ? and how shall we be made citizens of this heavenly kingdom, unless we take with us the principles at least of this spiritual human language?
Hence, as St. Dominic teaches, the Lord Himself was our instructor in this heavenly language, when He taught us the first of the seven petitions, “ Hallowed be Thy name.” In this prayer we pray for the language of the angels, which is ever employed in praising and glorifying God, as it is expressed in the introduction to the Canon of the Mass: 'It is truly meet and just, right, and available to salvation, that we always, and in all places, should give thanks to Thee, O holy God, Father almighty, eternal Lord, whom the angels and archangels praise, the cherubim and seraphim, with whom we beseech Thee that we may be permitted to join our voices, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, the heavens and the earth are full of Thy glory.' But does it not appear that we say one thing in this song of praise, ‘Holy is the Lord,' and another in the
prayer, “Hallowed be Thy name?” As God is essentially holy, how can we pray that His name may be sanctified? What, then, is the signification of this petition, so exalted in its expression ; and why does it precede all others ? We will first examine how we should endeavour to understand it. Having in the introduction turned ourselves to our heavenly Father, and invoked His holy name, we now look forward to that great end towards which all our other petitions are directed. For do we pray that His kingdom may come, that His will may be done, that He would give us this day our daily bread, with only our own interest in view ? Cer. tainly not; for this were too little, and unworthy of the Divine love. We should have in our prayers the honour and glory of God as our object; for it is the duty of good children that they should have in view, not so much their own happiness, as that of their beloved parent. And, in truth, to love God purely for God's sake, and not for our own advantage; to wish that God may receive the highest and supreme honour, seems much like a sublime thought. But, viewing this subject in a nearer light, does it appear as if, in this sense, we prayed for God? We can pray for ourselves and our neighbour; but dare we to pray for God? Are not the honour and the happiness of God perfect and eternal ?
The answer to this question must be as follows : It is certain, and beyond all doubt, that the beatitude of God can in itself receive no addition, and can suffer no loss. But externally He can receive glory; and this is only that honour which He expects and requires from creatures whom He has created for His honour. For thus it is said by the prophet: “Every one who shall call upon My name, I have created him for My honour.” (Isaias xliii.) It has been attempted to illustrate this proposition by different examples. As an architect or sculptor produces his work not for himself, but for the use and pleasure of others, and looks for honour as his principal reward; so God produced the works of creation for the benefit and pleasure of man, but proposed, as the last end of creation and of His provi. dence towards man, His own glory and honour. For should we, on the other hand, suppose that the chief
end for which He called creatures into existence was the felicity of these same creatures, we should be compelled to confess that, as all are not happy, this end would frequently be not attained. But as the design which God proposes to Himself can never be frustrated, we must seek this in His own honour, which maintains itself, and will ever remain, whether creatures be happy or not. In this last case, the justice of God will be glorified. When, therefore, we pray, “Hallowed be Thy name," let our earnest desire be, that God may receive from all rational creatures that honour and homage which are His due, and which, as such, are an external good and possession of God.
But, strictly speaking, whither does this, perhaps improper, interpretation conduct us? It has happened to many a traveller, placing himself too securely in his chariot to proceed on his journey, that, instead of going forwards, he has gone backwards in his course, his guide having taken wrong ways amidst the darkness of the night. The same may happen to us on our way of interpreting this first petition, proceeding onwards as we have begun, incautiously and too securely. For on this path, where we are surrounded by the obscurity of inadequate expression, we may arrive at an end very different from that which we first proposed. For if the honour and homage which the creature can present to the Creator be not essentially an internal, but an external good, and which the Creator may exact as a tribute to Himself, which He can exact from the creature whom He has brought into existence to pay Him this honour; the omission of this act, or the refusal of it, must be an external (accidental) evil, which He must