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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE THIRD PETITION: "Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven."
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Out of humility one does not trust one's own knowledge: "Where humility is there is also wisdom."4 The proud trust only themselves. Now, the Holy Spirit, through the gift of wisdom, teaches us that we do not our own will but the will of God. It is through this gift that we pray of God that His "will be done on earth as it is in heaven." And in this is seen the gift of knowledge. Thus, one says to God "let Thy will be done," in the same way as one who is sick desires something from the physician; and his will is not precisely his own, because it is the will of the physician. Otherwise, if his desire were purely from his own will, he would be indeed foolish. So we ought not to pray other than that in us God's will may be done; that is, that His will be accomplished in us. The heart of man is only right when it is in accord with the will of God. This did Christ: "Because I came down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him that sent Me."5 Christ, as God, has the same will with the Father; but as a Man He has a distinct will from the Father's, and it was according to this that He says He does not do His will but the Father's. Hence, He teaches us to pray and to ask: "Thy will be done."6


4. "Ibid.," xi. 2.


5. John, vi. 38.


6. "Now, this is what we implore when we address lhese words to God: 'Thy will be done.' We have fallen into this state of misery by disobeying and despising the divine will. Now, God deigns to propose to us, as the sole corrective of all our evils, a conformity to His will which by our sins we despised. He commands us to regulate all our thoughts and actions by this standard. And to be able to accomplish this is our aim when we humbly say this prayer to God: 'Thy will be done' " ("Roman Catechism," "Lord's Prayer,"Chapter xli, 8).


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