The Fatherhood of God

On the Lord's Prayer
by Origen, 3rd century

Hallowed be Thy Name

 What is the meaning of the words `name' and `hallow'? 'Name' denotes the proper and exclusive nature of the being that carries it and indicates the general effect of its qualities. In human beings these qualities can change, and with them their names too. Abram came to be called Abraham, Simon became Peter, and Saul's name was changed to Paul. By contrast in the case of God who is immutable, who never changes, there is but one name, the `I am' that was given him in Exodus. [Exod. 3:14] We all endeavor to reflect on God to understand his nature, but they are few indeed that succeed in sensing his holiness.

 Jesus' prayer teaches us that God is holy. It helps us to discover the holiness of the Being that creates, provides, judges, chooses and abounds in generosity, welcomes and rejects, rewards and punishes equally. This is what characterizes the quality that belongs to God, the quality that the Scriptures call by the name of God.

Therefore in the Scriptures we read: `You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,' [Exod. 20:7] and again: `May my teaching drop as the rain my speech distill as the dew, as the gentle rain upon the
tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb, for I will proclaim the name of the Lord.' [Deut. 32:2]

Anyone who prays ought therefore to ask that the name of God may be hallowed, as is said also in the Psalms: `Let us exalt his name together.' [Ps. 34:3] The Psalmist hopes that we may arrive, in harmony of spirit, at a true understanding of the nature of God.


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(c) 1999 Don Schwager