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A Commentary Upon The Gospel According To Saint Luke -St. Cyril

Upon “Hallowed be Thy Name.”

ALL who desire the sacred words of God, the prophet Isaiah commands, saying; “Ye who thirst come to the waters:” for whosoever will may draw from the life-giving fountain. And who is this fountain? Plainly it is Christ, and His doctrines. For He has somewhere said unto us, “Whosoever thirsteth, let him come unto Me and drink.” Let us then once again come as to a fountain: let us fill our souls: let us satiate ourselves of the torrent of pleasure. For the blessed David somewhere in a psalm thus speaketh of Him unto God the Father: “They shall be satisfied with the fatness of Thy house: and Thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of Thy pleasure. For with Thee is the fountain of life.” For the river of pleasure is richly poured forth for us, and the fountain of life, even that which is in Christ: Who also by one of the prophets has thus spoken concerning us; “Behold, I bend down unto them as a river of peace, and as a torrent flooding them with the glory of the Gentiles.”

For observe how Christ watereth us with rich streams of spiritual blessings. For what will He next teach us? When ye pray, He says, say, “Our Father, Hallowed be Thy Name.” Now behold! already we have discoursed unto you not without profit, when explaining in what manner it is right for us to say, “Our Father.” And ye, I think, remember my words, in that ye are, as I said, eager after learning. In order, therefore, that we may not say the same things; for that were tedious to attentive listeners, who store up in the treasure-house of their heart whatever they have already understood, and wish constantly to advance unto something further, let us proceed to that which follows, namely, “Hallowed be Thy Name:” and let us consider in what way this also must be understood.

Do we then pray that additional holiness may accrue unto the all-holy God? And how would not this be absolutely absurd? For if indeed there be anything wanting to God over all, in order to his being perfect, and in need of nothing, He may need additional holiness: but if He be full, as He says, and in every respect perfect in and by Himself, and the Giver of holiness to the creation out of His own fulness; what addition can He receive? For all things are His, and He has reached the highest perfection in every good: for this is also an attribute of His by nature. And besides it is a foolish and ridiculous thing for those who pray to imagine that they offer their supplications not on their own behalf but on His. What therefore is the meaning of “Hallowed be Thy Name?”

We say then, that men do not supplicate for any addition of holiness to accrue unto God over all: for who is greater than He, and able to give Him any increase? “For without all doubt the less is blessed of the greater.” But they supplicate rather that this may be granted unto them and all mankind. For when it is our settled conviction and belief, that He Who by nature is God over all, is Holy of the Holies, then we confess His glory and supreme majesty: then we receive His fear into our mind, and lead upright and blameless lives, that by thus becoming ourselves holy, we may be able to be near unto the holy God. For it is written; “Become ye holy: for I am holy.” And He once also said to the hierophant Moses, “I will be hallowed in them that draw nigh unto Me.” The prayer therefore is, May Thy Name be kept holy in us, in our minds and wills: for this is the signification of the word “Hallowed.” For just as one who suffers under a disease in his bodily sight, and is able to see but little, and with difficulty; and prays, saying, ‘O Lord of all, grant that the light of the sun’s radiance may illuminate me also,’ does not, we affirm, make his supplications on the sun’s behalf, but, on the contrary, upon his own: so also if a man say, “Our Father, hallowed be Thy Name,” he is not requesting any addition to be made to God’s holiness, but rather asks, that he may himself possess such a mind and faith, as to feel that His Name is honourable and holy. The act therefore is the source of life, and the cause of every blessing: for to be thus affected towards God, how must it not be a thing; worthy of the highest estimation, and useful for the salvation of the soul?

But do not imagine, that when those who depend upon His love are earnest in their supplications towards God, that they ask these things of Him for themselves alone: but know rather, that their purpose is to intercede for all the dwellers upon earth: for those who already have believed; and for those who have not as yet received the faith, nor acknowledged the truth. For for those who already have believed, they ask that their faith may be established, and that they may be able to practise the glories of the more excellent life: while for those who as yet are not believers, they ask that they may be called, and their eyes be opened; even in this following the footsteps of Christ, Who according to the words of John is “the Advocate with the Father for our sins: and not for our’s only, but for the whole world.” He therefore Who is the Intercessor for the saints, and for the whole world, wills that His disciples be like Himself. When therefore men say to the Father, “Hallowed be Thy Name,” bear in mind, that among those who have not as yet gained the light of truth, nor received the faith, the Name of God is despised. It does not as yet seem to them to be holy, honourable, and adorable. But no sooner has the light of truth risen upon them, and they have with effort awoke as from some night and darkness, then learning Who and how great He is, they acknowledge Him as Holy of the Holies, and have correspondent sentiments and belief.

But that the phrase, that God is hallowed by us, is a confession of our regarding Him as Holy of Holies, and does not bestow on Him any additional holiness, thou mayest understand hence. One of the holy prophets said, “Hallow the Lord, and He shall be Thy fear: and if thou trustest in Him, He shall be holiness unto thee.” Do we then make God holy? Is it the act of human nature to bestow ought on God? Does the thing made benefit the Maker? Does any man imagiue that He, Who of his fulness richly distributes unto the creature His gifts, will Himself receive ought of us, whose place it is to listen to the words of the blessed Paul; “What hast thou that thou hast not received?” When, therefore, the prophet said, “Hallow the Lord, and He shall be thy fear, and holiness unto thee;” we affirm that what he teaches is, ‘Believe that He is holy, for then ye will fear Him; and ‘so He will thus be to you the means of holiness.’ And it is written again of Christ the Saviour of us all; “Hallow Him, Who despised Himself.” For He did despise Himself, by deeming His life of no account, and laying it down for our sakes. But let Him be hallowed, it says, by you: that is, let Him be acknowledged as holy. For such He is by nature, as being very God, and the Son of God. For to be essentially holy suits not any one whatsoever of those things, which from nonexistence have been brought into being: but only that supreme nature which transcends all. By believing therefore that He is by nature holy;—for this is the meaning of our hallowing Him;—we further acknowledge Him to be very God.

For ourselves therefore and not for God let us pray, saying, “Hallowed be Thy Name.” For if we are thus disposed, and with free mind offer up prayers such as this, God the Father will accept us, and Christ with Him will bless us: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen.








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