Today’s Catechism sections discuss the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven”.

III. "Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven"

2822 Our Father "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."95 He "is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish."96 His commandment is "that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."97 This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.

2823 "He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ . . . to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will."98 We ask insistently for this loving plan to be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven.

2824 In Christ, and through his human will, the will of the Father has been perfectly fulfilled once for all. Jesus said on entering into this world: "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God."99 Only Jesus can say: "I always do what is pleasing to him."100 In the prayer of his agony, he consents totally to this will: "not my will, but yours be done."101 For this reason Jesus "gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father."102 "and by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."103

2825 "Although he was a Son, [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered."104 How much more reason have we sinful creatures to learn obedience - we who in him have become children of adoption. We ask our Father to unite our will to his Son's, in order to fulfill his will, his plan of salvation for the life of the world. We are radically incapable of this, but united with Jesus and with the power of his Holy Spirit, we can surrender our will to him and decide to choose what his Son has always chosen: to do what is pleasing to the Father.105

In committing ourselves to [Christ], we can become one spirit with him, and thereby accomplish his will, in such wise that it will be perfect on earth as it is in heaven.106

Consider how Jesus Christ] teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say "thy will be done in me or in us," but "on earth," the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.107

2826 By prayer we can discern "what is the will of God" and obtain the endurance to do it.108 Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing "the will of my Father in heaven."109

2827 "If any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him."110 Such is the power of the Church's prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God111 and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:

It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," to mean: "in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself"; or "in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father."112

IN BRIEF

2860 In the third petition, we ask our Father to unite our will to that of his Son, so as to fulfill his plan of salvation in the life of the world.

In “On the Sermon on the Mount” (2, 6, 21), St. Augustine discusses the petition, “Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”.

21. And therefore, after that petition where we say, Your kingdom come, there follows, Your will be done, as in heaven so in earth: i.e., just as Your will is in the angels who are in heaven, so that they wholly cleave to You, and thoroughly enjoy You, no error beclouding their wisdom, no misery hindering their blessedness; so let it be done in Your saints who are on earth, and made from the earth, so far as the body is concerned, and who, although it is into a heavenly habitation and exchange, are yet to be taken from the earth. To this there is a reference also in that doxology of the angels, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill: so that when our goodwill has gone before, which follows Him that calls, the will of God is perfected in us, as it is in the heavenly angels; so that no antagonism stands in the way of our blessedness: and this is peace. Your will be done is also rightly understood in the sense of, Let obedience be rendered to Your precepts: as in heaven so on earth, i.e. as by the angels so by men. For, that the will of God is done when His precepts are obeyed, the Lord Himself says, when He affirms, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me; and often, I came, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me; and when He says, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. And therefore, in those at least who do the will of God, the will of God is accomplished; not because they cause God to will, but because they do what He wills, i.e. they do according to His will.

Footnotes

95 ⇒ 1 Tim 2:3-4.
96 ⇒ 2 Pet 3:9; cf. ⇒ Mt 18:14.
97 ⇒ Jn 13:34; cf. ⇒ 1 Jn 3; 4; ⇒ Lk 10:25-37.
98 ⇒ Eph 1:9-11.
99 ⇒ Heb 10:7; ⇒ Ps 40:7.
100 ⇒ Jn 8:29.
101 ⇒ Lk 22:42; cf. ⇒ Jn 4:34; ⇒ 5:30; ⇒ 6:38.
102 ⇒ Gal 1:4.
103 ⇒ Heb 10:10.
104 ⇒ Heb 5:8.
105 Cf. ⇒ Jn 8:29.
106 Origen, De orat. 26 PG 11, 501B.
107 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Mt. 19, 5 PG 57, 280.
108 ⇒ Rom 12:2; Cf. ⇒ Eph 5:17; Cf. ⇒ Heb 10:36.
109 ⇒ Mt 7:21.
110 ⇒ Jn 9:31; Cf. ⇒ 1 Jn 5:14.
111 Cf. ⇒ Lk 1:38, ⇒ 49.
112 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. 2, 6, 24: PL 34, 1279.