Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Lord's Prayer and obedience

This is an extract from Fr. Andrew Garcia, SJ, "Ignatian Obedience in the Light of The Spiritual Exercises", New Jesuit Review (2010, Vol. 1, No. 3):

Thus, the mission of the Son is to restore all things back to the Father. This is brought about by the fulfillment of the Father’s will, that is, to inaugurate the kingdom of heaven here on earth. And it is in the Son’s “inauguration” of the kingdom that he brings about our redemption. The mission to establish his kingdom on earth is only possible in an obedience to God’s will; the words of the Our Father sum this up succinctly, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” One thus realizes that in the “Our Father” the Son is describing nothing less than his mission here on earth [emphasis mine—TL]: it is he who praises and thanks the Father (“hallowed be thy name”); it is he who brings about the kingdom of heaven by perfectly carrying out the Father's will (“thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”); it is he who gives us our daily bread in the sacrament of Eucharist and asks for our forgiveness to the Father on the cross in the sacrament of confession (“give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses”); and it is he who prays for us, as he did for Peter, in our moment of trial and temptation by the evil one (cf. Lk 22:31-32 “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one”). And in fulfilling his mission, we can all say with him and in him “Our Father, who art in heaven...”

Moreover, the kingdom can only “come” if the Father’s will is “done on earth as it is in heaven.” To do the Father's will on earth as it is in heaven necessarily requires a perfect obedience that only the Son himself is able to carry out to the end. Thus, Ignatian obedience to the Father is only possible in as far as it is linked to the obedience of the Son and carried out in the Son. In other words, to obey the Father, one must be like the Son (Imitatio Christi). One must, in a sense, identify oneself with Christ, having not only the same feelings, but also the same mind, “have the same mind yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Ph 2:5).

Therefore, to identify truly with Christ who reigns in heaven, one must identify with Christ who reigns on earth in his corpus mysticum which, as Lumen Gentium states, is none other than the Church. Because in order to feel like Christ and think like him, one must feel oneself not only as being “in” the Church, but also “thinking with” the Church. As such, Ignatian obedience by its very nature inspires and urges one to submit one’s obedience as service to the kingdom of Christ as it manifests itself here on earth, i.e. in the Church, or in the words of St. Ignatius, “Putting aside all private judgment, we should keep our minds prepared and ready to obey promptly and in all things the true spouse of Christ our Lord, our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church” (Spiritual Exercises 353).
Food for reflection.