Virgin Most Powerful and the
Our Father
By Albert Power, S.J., M.A.

It is through prayer that Mary exerts her power with God. The Our Father was the form of prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples. It contains the petitions He wishes His friends to have ever in their hearts and on their lips. We may be sure then that in that prayer we have the thoughts that occupied constantly the soul of our Immaculate Mother. Since she was so closely united with Jesus, His wishes were her wishes, His aspirations were her aspirations, His petitions were her petitions.

     Jesus Christ came into the world to influence human thought, and in this prayer He tells us the thoughts that should occupy us, the petitions we should offer to God, the wishes and aspirations we should indulge in and encourage in our seasons of meditation. What a wonderful thing to reflect that we can feed our souls on the same nourishing thoughts as fed the soul of Jesus and of Mary!


We place ourselves in God's Presence as His children, and remember His serene blessedness and felicity. So Jesus bids us begin our prayer by thinking of Heaven, of the peace and infinite serenity of the Blessed Trinity. "May Thy Name be blessed." His Name for the most part is cursed and blasphemed by mankind. We pray that it may be honored. Now, this is a subject for deep reflection-----viz., that we, by our aspirations and desires, can stop the havoc of irreligion: our desires in prayer are like a fortified wall drawn across the world to stop the devil' s advance. So it was with Moses' prayer; and as Ignatius Loyola looked out on Europe swept by the devastating storms of Luther's revolt, and his soul was torn with longing to come to the rescue, the piercing cry, "Hallowed be Thy Name!" rang out in the castle of his soul, rang sharp and loud in God's listening ear, and God answered the cry; and whilst Ignatius strove in prayer, this Almighty Spirit was shaping other souls in Spain, in Italy, and far-off Germany to come and help him. Peter Favre was a boy at school, Xavier was a young student, Teresa of Avila was a child of six, dreaming of Martyrdom; and whilst Ignatius was buried in profound contemplation of Christ's Kingdom, and with all the intensity of his soul was crying out that God's Name might be blessed, the answer was being prepared, the tide of heresy was being rolled back. It is in the white heat of desire that the weapons are forged, the steel is tempered, to hew in pieces God's foes. No mild simmering heat will suffice; it must be an intense, white, blazing fire to shape the sword to such high work. Let us therefore indulge long and ardently in this wish, "May Thy Name be honored." In actual fact this honoring of His Name will only come about by the activity of God's graces in the depths of human souls, turning them gently to the light and showing them His Divine beauty. When they catch a glimpse of His beauty, then they cease to sin and begin to praise.

 And our prayer is not merely that sinners may cease to dishonor His Name [since evil children are their father's shame], but that His friends may learn to praise Him more perfectly, that the gift of prayer may be bestowed liberally upon them, that they may get more intense light and elevation, and so honor Him more. Thus Jesus prayed for all men; for me, too; and so I must pray in union with Him. How intensely Jesus must have dwelt on this prayer, living as He did surrounded by idolatrous peoples!


God's Kingdom is in the souls of men; His reign is in the world of spirit, and He reigns through His grace. A king reigns when his law is recognized and obeyed by his subjects. So God reigns when men are submissive to His law. When sin comes, God's flag ceases to float over the castle of the soul, and the Devil's flag is flung out instead. God is thrust forth from His own domain, becomes an exile from the home He created for Himself. This petition is, that He may be restored to those castles, that His sway may be extended to the places that know Him not. We acknowledge Him Lord by handing Him the keys of our soul and bidding Him come and occupy it. This we do by union in prayer and the union of the Holy Eucharist. Hence, "Thy Kingdom come" includes a desire to see the practice of Holy Communion more widespread, to see more people given up to prayer, to see more vocations, more young people becoming priests or nuns, a greater number of zealous souls going on foreign missions; for in every such case God's Kingdom is coming more intensely into human souls.


     That God's will should be accomplished is a tremendous thought; just as the opposite, that His will should be frustrated and set at nought, is a terrible thing to think about, when we remember that He is Infinite. The insolence of petty, ill-informed, blinded creatures setting God's will aside and refusing to obey it is appalling. When, in silent contemplation, we look out on history, the sight that meets our gaze is that of God's will being formally despised and contemned. Now we set to work to entertain in our souls this deep wish that God's will be done by His creatures. And the effect on ourselves of this prayer should be to make us avoid sin: and by praying this prayer for others we beg that immorality and vice be checked and that virtue may spread and increase [both public and private].

     Hence, by the first petition, "Hallowed be Thy Name," we beg that idolatry and worship of creatures be abolished, and that God's Name be praised through the increase of the Light of Faith. For this is the first step to conversion and holiness of life; to believe in and reverence God. By the second petition, "Thy Kingdom come," we beg that God may reign in men's souls by Hope. By hope we long for God as our own supreme Good, and when our hearts are set upon securing Him as our treasure, then His Kingdom is established in us. It is hope and trust that finally turn men to God. Hope kills that fear of pain, humiliation, toil, or death, that is such a powerful factor in making men turn from God, making them mutiny against the Captain of their soul. And it is hope that sends souls into religious life undaunted by the difficulties, it is hope that steels them to face hardships for His sake. So "Thy Kingdom come" is a prayer for the increase of hope in ourselves and others.

      By the third petition, "Thy will be done," we pray for the virtue of charity, since "He that loveth Me keeps My Commandments"-----i.e., does My will. And love is the lasting and noble motive to make us do another's will. No other power in the world can make us truly, genuinely, interiorly obedient. But Jesus puts the matter in its most practical shape. Men may speak deceptively of love; but about doing God's will there can be no deception; if you
do His will you love Him. The only antidote to sin is love of God, and so we pray that charity may grow.

     Mary's soul was ever filled with those ardent petitions, and the work that has actually been accomplished by the Church of Jesus, the conversions that have been wrought, the souls that have been sanctified, are the answer to her all-powerful prayers.

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