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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE SECOND PETITION: "Thy Kingdom Come."
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This kingdom is greatly to be desired for three reasons. (1) It is to be greatly desired because of the perfect justice that obtains there: "Thy people shall be all just."12 In this world the bad are mingled with the good, but in heaven there will be no wicked and no sinners. (2) The heavenly kingdom is to be desired because of its perfect liberty. Here below there is no liberty, although all men naturally desire it; but above there will be perfect liberty without any form of oppression: "Because the creature also shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption."13 Not only will men then be free, but indeed they will all be kings: "And Thou hast made us to our God a kingdom."14 This is because all shall be of one will with God, and God shall will what the Saints will, and the Saints shall will whatsoever God wills; hence, in the will of God shall their will be done All, therefore, shall reign, because the will of all shall be done, and the Lord shall be their crown: "In that day, the Lord of hosts shall be a crown of glory and a garland of joy to the residue of His people."15 (3) The kingdom of God is to be desired because of the marvellous riches of heaven: "The eye hath not seen O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that wait for Thee."16 And also: "Who satisfieth thy desire with good things."17


Note that man will find everything that he seeks for in this world more excellently and more perfectly in God alone. Thus, if it is pleasure you seek, then in God you will find the highest pleasure: "You shall see and your heart shall rejoice."18 "And everlasting joy shall be upon their heads."19 If it is riches, there you will find it in abundance: "When the soul strays from Thee, she looks for things apart from Thee, but she finds all things impure and useless until she returns to Thee," says St. Augustine.20


Lastly, "Thy kingdom come" is understood in another sense because sometimes sin reigns in this world. This occurs when man is so disposed that he follows at once the enticement of sin. "Let not sin reign in your mortal body,"21 but let God reign in your heart; and this will be when thou art prepared to obey God and keep all His Commandments. Therefore, when we pray to God that His kingdom may come, we pray that God and not sin may reign in us.


May we through this petition arrive at that happiness of which the Lord speaks: "Blessed are the meek!"22 Now, according to what we have first explained above, viz., that man desires that God be the Lord of all things, then let him not avenge injuries that are done him, but let him leave that for the Lord. If you avenge yourself, you do not really desire that the kingdom of God may come. According to our second explanation (i.e., regarding the glory of paradise), if you await the coming of this kingdom which is the glory of paradise, you need not worry about losing earthly things. Likewise, if according to the third explanation, you pray that God may reign within you, then you must be humble, for He is Himself most humble: "Learn of Me because I am meek and humble of heart."23





12. Isa., lx. 21.


13. Rom., viii, 21.


14. Apoc., v. 10.


15. Isa., xxviii. 5.


16. "Ibid.," lxiv. 4.


17. Ps. cii. 5.


18. Isa., lxvi. 14.


19. "Ibid.," xxxv. 10. These two citations in Vives edition are omitted in Parma.


20. "Confessions," II, 6.


21. Rom., vi. 12.


22. Matt., v. 4


23. "Ibid.," xi. 29. "Finally, we pray that God alone may live, alone may reign, within us, that death no longer may exist, but may be absorbed by the victory won by Chrisl our Lord, who, having broken and scattered the power of all His enemies, may, in His might, subject all things to His dominion. . . . Let us, therefore, earnestly implore . . . that His commands may be observed, that there be found no traitor, no deserter, and that all may so act that they may come with joy into the presence of God their King: and may reach the possession of the heavenly kingdom prepared for them from all eternity" ("Roman Catechism." "Lord's Prayer," Chapter xi. 14, 19).

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