604 love has no bounds, neither should our prayer.52 Praying ‘our’ Father opens to us the dimensions of his love revealed in Christ: praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ may ‘gather into one the children of God’.53 God’s care for all men and for the whole of creation has inspired all the great practitioners of prayer; it should extend our prayer to the full breadth of love whenever we dare to say ‘our’ Father.


‘Who Art in Heaven’

2794 This biblical expression does not mean a place (‘space’), but a


way of being; it does not mean that God is distant, but majestic.

Our Father is not ‘elsewhere’: he transcends everything we can conceive of his holiness. It is precisely because he is thrice—holy that he is so close to the humble and contrite heart. ‘Our Father who art in heaven’ is rightly understood to mean that God is in the hearts of the just, as in his holy temple. At the same time, it means that those who pray should desire the one they invoke to dwell in them.54 ‘Heaven’ could also be those who bear the image of the heavenly world, and in whom God dwells and tarries.55
2795 The symbol of the heavens refers us back to the mystery of the covenant we are living when we pray to our Father. He is in heaven, his dwelling place; the Father’s house is our homeland. Sin has exiled us from the land of the covenant,~6 but conversion of


heart enables us to return to the Father, to heaven.57 In Christ,

then, heaven and earth are reconciled,~8 for the Son alone ‘descended from heaven’ and causes us to ascend there with him, by his Cross, Resurrection and Ascension.59 2796 When the Church prays ‘our Father who art in heaven’, she is professing that we are the People of God, already seated ‘with


him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ and ‘hidden with Christ

in God’;6° yet at the same time, ‘here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling.’6’ [Christians] are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They spend their lives on earth, but are citizens of heaven.62