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The Kingdom and the Three Churches

James L. Ward
Have you ever wondered what Our Lord Jesus Christ intended when, in response to the request of His Apostles to teach them how to pray as He did, He cited for them what we now know as the Our Father or the Lord’s Prayer? The prayer seems rather direct and understandable, but it is interesting how very little is really known about the promised Kingdom on earth and the significance of the words: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

castle building

In the Middle Ages man sought to build God's kingdom in constructing temporal society

We all understand the words, but what did Our Lord mean by them? Do these words veil something that He deliberately intended for us to discover in the latter days of man’s mortal existence on earth? Have we been given a sip of the mysterious to be revealed in the “fullness of time?”

I believe this prayer is a merciful gift unveiling an infinite good to be tasted by only those with eyes to see and ears to hear: Catholics who are committed to living as faithful and obedient children of God in times of faithlessness and apostasy.

Is there some way that we, as mere mortals, can live in perfect harmony with the Will of the Father? What did Our Lord mean when He enjoined us to pray for the coming of the Kingdom and for God’s Will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven? We know that God would never ask us to do something that was never intended to be fulfilled in time.

The trial of the Angels

Let us flash back to Creation and the subsequent trial of the Angels in Heaven. These pure spirits, in addition to their superior intellect and preternatural gifts, were endowed by God with a free will. They needed, like us, to pass a test to prove their love for God.

St Michael

St. Michael passed the trial with the cry
"Who is like unto God"

Most probably, that trial came in the form of a revelation by God that He would become man and incarnate in the womb of a Virgin. The Angels themselves for eternity would have to adore and serve Jesus Christ the King, God and Man, and would have to pay the tribute of hyperdulia to His Mother, and serve her as their Queen. This dramatic revelation by God to the Angels - pure spirits so superior to man - would have overwhelmed their understanding and thrust them into the situation of having to submit their wills to those inscrutable designs of their Creator.

This hypothesis would explain that, in response to this supernatural mystery, the Heavens reverberated with the cry of Michael the Archangel: “Who is like unto God” and Lucifer’s defiant declaration: “I will not serve!”

Michael and his Angels by their own free will chose to follow God’s Will. This momentous decision would have been their unequivocal declaration of love and obedience to their Creator. Having passed the test of love, they would have become fully enlightened and united to God’s Will as their own, which, in turn, would have become their eternal beatitude.

Lucifer and his minions, on the other hand, would have left the Divine Will by their crass disobedience to the same revelations given by God to all the Angels. In consequence for their rebellion against the Will of God, they would have condemned themselves to the eternal fires of Hell in retribution for their hubristic defiance.

“And the Angels who kept not their principality, but forsook their own habitation, He hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6).

The Church Triumphant

As with the obedient Angels, the Saints in Heaven also earned eternal bliss because they spent their lives doing the Will of God. Their constant battle in life was to overcome their own wills and submit themselves to the Will of their Creator.

Upon reaching Heaven they no longer experience the battle of the wills. They no longer need to overcome their own will to do the Will of God because, in their new state of beatitude, they are totally united with the Will of God. Their will is eternally unified to the Divine Will and, therefore, wants only what God wills for them.

The Church Suffering

The same situation exists in Purgatory. The following is a quote from St. Catherine of Genoa regarding the souls in Purgatory:

“These souls are intimately united to the Will of God and so completely transformed into it that they are always satisfied with its holy ordinances. The souls in Purgatory have no choice of their own; they can no longer will anything other than what God wills. They receive with perfect submission all that God gives them; and neither pleasure nor contentment, nor pain can ever again make them think of themselves.”

The Church Militant

crusaders

We must each adopt a militant spirit and resist

Much of this is far more than our finite minds could ever grasp. Spiritual maturity takes time. Our Lord, taking into consideration our weaknesses and lack of knowledge, left His most precious jewel to navigate the fledgling Church Militant: His own beloved Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

She must be the font of our spiritual life, and the lighthouse of grace by which we will safely arrive at our heavenly destination. Our Lord has assured us that in the final battle for our souls, the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother will prevail ! What comfort !

Remember what St. Paul said when he was brought up into the Third Heaven: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it ever entered into the heart of man what God hath prepared for them who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9) .

So, if God’s Will is for the Church Militant to enjoy on earth an analogous kingdom to that which the Angels and Saints are experiencing in Heaven, that is, living united with God’s Will, then it will happen in the fullness of time !

The next article will examine this further.

Continued

Posted April 3, 2014