XXX. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” the Lord’s Prayer continues. This implies that God has a definite will, a plan, for our lives and the world. It means that we find success and happiness in aligning our wills with that of God. And it also teaches us again that “heaven” is not so much a place as a situation: heaven is wherever the Lord’s will is fulfilled, and it is merely “earth” when we depart from that will. The point of this prayer is that earth and heaven are united; that God’s will governs our lives as it governs the communion of angels and saints in the presence of God.
One of the perennial questions when we become serious in discipleship is the sincere desire to know: what is the will of God? This can take various forms. What is the right thing to do in hard decisions? What is my vocation in life? How do I share my faith effectively in family, neighborhood, community, my school or workplace? What does God desire for me, today, here and now?
The prayer of Jesus implies that we can know God’s will, that the voice of conscience implanted by God within our hearts will guide us. At the same time, we know that our conscience needs to be formed – by the Scriptures, by experience, by the teachings of our faith, by the counsel and sometimes correction of others. Indeed, later regret about our words and actions is one of the strongest words conscience speaks to us.
Strikingly, of course, it is in the Agony in the Garden that Jesus fully reveals this mystery: “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Reflected in these profound words is the union of the human will of Jesus, part of taking on our human nature, and the divine will of the Son, always one with the Father. In short, Jesus not only teaches us to pray for this union of wills; He models it and indeed stakes His very life on it. And so may we.