The Latin words of the first petition bring out clearly what
we are here asking for: Sanctificetur Nomen tuum.
What we are asking is that the Name of God may be
sanctified. This calls for some explanations. We are not asking that God might
become more holy. That would be blasphemy. He is the All-Holy One because He is
the Totally Other. He alone is the Necessary One, the Infinite One; there is no
other God than He.
Our petition is rather that God might be recognized and
served as God by us and in us. He is all
powerful, all wise, and all good. He is the
Creator and the Destiny of the human race. But not everyone either acknowledges
Him for who He is, or serves Him as He deserves.
Yet that is the main reason why God created rational human
beings. He wants them to know Him love and serve Him in time as the
condition for possessing Him in eternity.
In biblical language, name means the being who is named.
When we pray that the name of God may be sanctified, we are asking that He may
be glorified by His human creatures because they are His children and He is
In the Churchs understanding, the comparison which occurs
in the third petition, on earth as it is in heaven, refers to all the first
three petitions. Consequently, in asking that the name of God be hallowed
that God may be known and loved we are really praying that His name may be as
hallowed on earth as it is in heaven.
If we ask, how is Gods name hallowed in heaven? the answer
is clear. He is hallowed in heaven perfectly. The angels and saints in heaven
know Him to perfection and they love Him to the limit of their created power.
Our petition, then, is that we on earth might grow in our
knowledge and love of God. Every day, and in fact, every moment, our loving
knowledge or intelligent love of Him should become more and more like the
beatific vision of the hosts of heaven.
One more observation. The more we sanctify the name of God,
by our devoted service, the more He will sanctify us. Indeed, we may say that
our sanctity depends on how devotedly we hallow the name of God.
Copyright © 2002 Inter Mirifica
Pocket Catholic Catechism