Fr. Rusty's Corner

Turn Four: Thoughts from Your Parish Priest

"Who Art in Heaven"

              Whenever I see the line “who art in heaven” in the Our Father, my first reaction seems to be, “Of course God is in heaven!  Where else would He be?”  Jesus’s inclusion of stating God's presence in heaven does not focus on His divine location.  The focus for us should be on where we look to God; not the reality of where He is.  We lift up our eyes to heaven and hopefully realize that we are also called to heaven.

              One of the reasons to realize the presence of God in heaven is for us to be able to recognize the glory of heaven.  It is the great reward for living a holy life.  We seek to live a life reflecting and imitating the things of heaven and not of earth.  Our minds are meant to reflect and dwell on heavenly realities and not the anxieties of earth.  And, possibly, most importantly our souls are searching restlessly for the rest that heaven provides. Seeing this recognition of heaven is meant to call us to the divine reality of holiness in our actions, in our minds, and in our hearts.

              The affirmation of God in heaven is also meant to show the nearness of God to us.  Though God may dwell in heaven, He still hears us and is present to us in our lives.   Heaven is not a distant location to where we are traveling.  Heaven is a transformation from an earthly reality.  We are seeking each day to convert and transform ourselves into this reality.  When we seek to live the reality of heaven in our actions, minds, and hearts, God dwells in us, because God is not located in heaven.  God and heaven are one, which means the more we seek to live the heavenly reality in striving to be saints, the more God dwells in us.

              Finally, the purpose of us recognizing that God dwells in heaven is to show the power of the One who dwells there as ruler and king.  God is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful.  It also shows that God is unchanging in eternity.  In that realization at the beginning of the Our Father, we take a step back from our own lives and realize that the power and authority of God seeks to lead us to our heavenly home.  To conform ourselves to God and His commands is to conform ourselves to heaven, which is the great desire of our hearts.

           The line of “who art in heaven” means so much more than simply stating where our God is located.  It is the initial raising of our minds and souls to the splendor of the heavenly reality, and it is setting the stage for the rest of the Our Father of what we will strive to do in order to find the reality of heaven for ourselves.

- Fr. Rusty Vincent

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