The term “to hallow” is to be understood here not primar
ily in its causative sense (only God hallows, makes holy), but above
all in an evaluative sense: to recognize as holy, to treat in a holy
way. And so, in adoration, this invocation is sometimes understood
as praise and thanksgiving.
But this petition is here taught to us
by Jesus as an optative: a petition, a desire, and an expectation in
which God and man are involved. Beginning with this first petition
to our Father, we are immersed in the innermost mystery of his
Godhead and the drama of the salvation of our humanity. Asking
the Father that his name be made holy draws us into his plan of
loving kindness for the fullness of time, “according to his purpose
which he set forth in Christ,” that we might “be holy and blameless
before him in love.”
In the decisive moments of his economy God reveals his
name, but he does so by accomplishing his work. This work, then,
is realized for us and in us only if his name is hallowed by us and
The holiness of God is the inaccessible center of his eternal
mystery. What is revealed of it in creation and history, Scripture
calls “glory,” the radiance of his majesty.
In making man in his
image and likeness, God “crowned himwith glory and honor,” but
by sinning, man fell “short of the glory of God.”
From that time
on, God was to manifest his holiness by revealing and giving his
name, in order to restore man to the image of his Creator.
In the promise toAbraham and the oath that accompanied
God commits himself but without disclosing his name. He
begins to reveal it to Moses and makes it known clearly before the
eyes of the whole people when he saves them from the Egyptians:
“he has triumphed gloriously.”
From the covenant of Sinai on
wards, this people is “his own” and it is to be a “holy (or “conse
crated”: the same word is used for both in Hebrew) nation,”
because the name of God dwells in it.
15:1; cf. 3:14.