The third Petition: Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven
The word ‘Will’ means the same as ‘desire’. Hence, by praying “Thy will be done as it is in heaven”, we pray that what God desires might be done, not in the sense that God should do what he wants, but that we may be able to do what God wants. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). By praying this petition: “Thy will be done”, we ask that God’s will be done within us, to overcome our weak nature, prone to concupiscence and temptation. The expression “as it is in heaven” means that we may lovingly accomplish God’s will on earth as it has been accomplished by the angels and Saints in heaven.
We ask our Father that we may sincerely intend and submit ourselves to God’s authority and that our will may be enabled to fulfill his will, the plan of Salvation for the life of the world. We are basically incapable of fulfilling his will; but united with Jesus and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to do what is pleasing to the Father (Cf. CCC # 2825).
The fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily bread
This petition has a twofold meaning: first, we pray for our earthly nourishment, the food for our body, and secondly, our concern for daily bread entails, besides the food for our body, the Eucharist and the Word of God. In his discourse on the Bread from Heaven, Jesus instructs: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food, which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you…” (John 6:27). After forty days of prayer and fasting, when Jesus was hungry and the evil spirit tempted him to transform the stone into bread and eat, Jesus retorted saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Hence, in this petition, we pray for being nourished by the Word of God and by the Holy Eucharist as our daily bread. Through the power of this heavenly bread, we are brought into one Body of Christ.
The Father, who gives us life, cannot but give us the nourishment, that we require, both for physical and spiritual life. Hence, this petition expresses our filial acknowledgment of God’s goodness (Cf. CCC # 2828, 2830).
Let us hunger and thirst for this daily bread
Fr. Arul Joseph V.