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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE FIRST PETITION: "Hallowed Be Thy Name."
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We pray that this name may be manifested in us, that it be known and revered as holy. Now "holy" (or hallowed) may have a threefold meaning. First, it is the same as firm. Thus, those who are firmly established in eternal happiness are all the blessed in heaven, the Saints. In this sense, none is a "Saint" on earth because here all is continually changeable. As St. Augustine says: "I sank away from Thee, O Lord, and I wandered too much astray from Thee who art my firm support."7


Secondly, "holy" may be understood as "unearthly." The holy ones who are in heaven have naught earthly about them: "I count (all things) . . . but as dung, that I may gain Christ."8 Earth may signify sinners. This would arise as reference to production. For if the earth is not cultivated, it will produce thorns and thistles. Similarly, if the soul of the sinner is not cultivated by grace, it will produce only thistles and thorns of sins: "Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee."9 Again, earth may signify sinners as regards its darkness. The earth is dark and opaque; and so also is the sinner dark and obstructive to light: "Darkness was on the face of the deep."10 And, finally, earth is a dry element which will fall to pieces unless it is mixed with the moisture of water. So God placed earth just above water: "Who established the earth above the waters."11 So also the soul of the sinner is dry and without moisture as it is said: "My soul is as earth without water unto Thee."12


"Holy" may, finally, be understood as "laved in blood," since the Saints in heaven are called Saints because they have been washed in blood: "These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb."13 And again: "He hath washed us from our sins in His blood."14





7. "Confessions," II, x.


8. Phil., iii. 8.


9. Gen., iii. 18.


10. Gen., i. 2.


11. Ps. cxxxv. 6.


12. Ps. cxlii. 6.


13. Apoc., vii. 14.


14. "Ibid.," i. 5.

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