The baptized cannot pray to “our” Father without bring
ing before him all those for whom he gave his beloved Son. God’s
love has no bounds, neither should our prayer.
Father opens to us the dimensions of his love revealed in Christ:
praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ
may “gather into one the children of God.”
God’s care for all men
and for the whole of creation has inspired all the great practitioners
of prayer; it should extend our prayer to the full breadth of love
whenever we dare to say “our” Father.
This biblical expression does not mean a place (“space”),
but a way of being; it does not mean that God is distant, but
majestic. Our Father is not “elsewhere”: he transcends everything
we can conceive of his holiness. It is precisely because he is thrice-
holy that he is so close to the humble and contrite heart.
“Our Father who art in heaven” is rightly understood to
mean that God is in the hearts of the just, as in his holy
temple. At the same time, it means that those who pray
should desire the one they invoke to dwell in them.
“Heaven” could also be those who bear the image of the
heavenly world, and in whom God dwells and tarries.
The symbol of the heavens refers us back to the mystery of
the covenant we are living when we pray to our Father. He is in
heaven, his dwelling place; the Father’s house is our homeland.
Sin has exiled us from the land of the covenant,
but conversion of
heart enables us to return to the Father, to heaven.
In Christ, then,
heaven and earth are reconciled,
for the Son alone “descended
from heaven” and causes us to ascend there with him, by his Cross,
Resurrection, and Ascension.
54 St. Augustine,
De serm. Dom. in monte
2, 5, 18: PL 34, 1277.
55 St. Cyril of Jerusalem,
5:11: PG 33, 1117.
3:13; 12:32; 14:2-3; 16:28; 20:17;