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Saint of the Day: The Prophet Elijah
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Why the Our Father is the prayer of the end of the world


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Philip Kosloski - published on 05/06/24

The Lord's Prayer looks at both the present age and the age to come, when all things will end and a new beginning will be initiated by Jesus Christ.

Typically we don’t think of the Our Father as a prayer that is connected to the end of the world.

However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states precisely that, seeing in the Lord’s Prayer a preparation for the end times:

In the Eucharist, the Lord’s Prayer also reveals the eschatological character of its petitions. It is the proper prayer of “the end-time,” the time of salvation that began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and will be fulfilled with the Lord’s return. The petitions addressed to our Father, as distinct from the prayers of the old covenant, rely on the mystery of salvation already accomplished, once for all, in Christ crucified and risen.

CCC 2771

A closer look at the Our Father reveals many of its petitions can be viewed in light of Jesus’ second coming.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, 
Hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come. 
Thy Will be done, 
on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. 
And forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Catechism highlights how the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer are rooted both in this present age and in the age to come:

From this unshakeable faith springs forth the hope that sustains each of the seven petitions, which express the groanings of the present age, this time of patience and expectation during which “it does not yet appear what we shall be.” The Eucharist and the Lord’s Prayer look eagerly for the Lord’s return, “until he comes.”

CCC 2772

One petition in particular should be startling, as it looks forward to Jesus’ final coming at the end of this world.

Thy Kingdom come

The Catechism expounds elsewhere on this simple phrase in the Our Father and explains its background:

In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by “kingship” (abstract noun), “kingdom” (concrete noun) or “reign” (action noun). The Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. It is brought near in the Word incarnate, it is proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel, and it has come in Christ’s death and Resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst. The kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to his Father.

CCC 2816

In particular, the petition is reminiscent of another phrase in the New Testament:

This petition is “Marana tha,” the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: “Come, Lord Jesus.

CCC 2817

Whenever we pray the Our Father, we look forward to that day when Jesus comes again and his kingdom will reign forever.

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