Hallowed Be Thy Name
The First Petition of the Lord's Prayer
In the first of the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, we ask, “Hallowed be thy name.” Since “only God hallows”, this request is not made with the intention of making the name of God holy, but rather as an expression of adoration in which we recognize the name of God as holy and beseech him to reveal it to us and to conform us to it more fully. Moving beyond mere belief in the existence of God to an authentic participation in his divine life, “we are immersed in the innermost mystery of his Godhead and the drama of the salvation of our humanity.” (CCC 2807) The revelation of the name of God is thus central to the history of his covenant relationship with humanity and key to our salvation.
The Catechism teaches that the name of God “is the inaccessible center of his eternal mystery.” (CCC 2809) Through his name, God is revealed to be personal and, through Christ, a Trinity of three persons of one substantial unity; he is not merely a deistic or demiurgic creator or a detached pagan deity. Rather, he wishes humanity to know him and to share in his very life. For this reason, he reveals his name gradually and subtly, through the sacramental symbolism of Creation and his great works in salvation history; these show forth his glory, “the radiance of his majesty.” (CCC 2809) In this way, God is never removed, even in his “light inaccessible,” (1 Tim 6:16 DRA) and he shows this personal eminence and presence most profoundly by having created man “to his own image” (Gn 1:27) and so “crowned him with glory and honour”. (Heb 2:7)
Nevertheless, through the original sin of the Fall, man rejected God and forgot his divine name, and by losing his “likeness” to God, he is in need of God’s glory for the redemption and regeneration of his soul. (CCC 2809) Salvation history is thus a record of the revelation of the name of God to his people, those who even in their fallen state remained faithful to him, beginning with Abraham, to whose descendants he promises to one day reveal his name, then to Moses for whom this promise is partially fulfilled, especially by the glorious works God accomplished for the Hebrew people in the Exodus, and finally in Jesus who, as the Word of God incarnate, fully reveals the name of God and his divine nature as Trinitarian. (CCC 2812)
Through the Sacraments instituted by Christ, he restores us to his likeness by our participation in his redemptive sacrifice and saving resurrection and gives us the power to bless and sanctify in his name through the Holy Spirit. (CCC 2813) Our own salvation depends on the glorification of the name of Jesus in ourselves, (CCC 2813) but so also does our fulfillment of the Great Commission given to us by Christ prior to his Ascension: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Mt 28:19) Only by the “sanctification of his name among the nations” can the world be reconciled to Christ, since the glory of his name is the source of our salvation through the Sacraments, and this evangelization “depends inseparably on our life and our prayer”. (CCC 2814)
In conclusion, the first petition of the Our Father teaches us to bless the name of God and, through our consecration to his name in baptism, to be a blessing to his glory throughout the world. In this way, the importance of the adoration of the name of God is contrasted with the prohibition against the blaspheming of God’s name, which the Second Commandment expressly forbids; we can blaspheme the name of God both by our words and actions: “For God’s name is blessed when we live well, but is blasphemed when we live wickedly.” (CCC 2814) For this reason, the Catechism teaches that this petition “embodies all the others”, (CCC 2815) with our life in Christ being ultimately a participation in his name through the imitation of his prayer and the glorification of his name to all the world.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 2020), 2807. Kindle.