This word is familiar to those who pray the Our Father on a regular basis — at least, we might say it a lot. We don’t always know what it means. Theological or church words have a way of retaining an archaic flavor long after the world has moved on. Some may debate whether this is good or not, but I think it is more good than bad. You can always teach people what the odd words mean, and it’s a link with the past. It reminds you that the Christian church didn’t begin with your birth, something that people are unbelievably persistent in thinking. It helps make saying the prayer or singing the hymn (or even reading the Bible, if you like the King James Version) more special — I think, anyway.

I didn’t know this word had a connection with the woman’s name Helga. Crazy, eh?

Of course, for this blog we’re focusing on the first meaning, not the noun or the interjection. Those are frankly silly and off topic here. Feel free to interject into everyday conversation, however.


From the Small Catechism:

The First Petition.

Hallowed be Thy name.

What does this mean?–Answer.

God’s name is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may become holy among us also.

How is this done?–Answer.

When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with it. To this end help us, dear Father in heaven. But he that teaches and lives otherwise than God’s Word teaches profanes the name of God among us. From this preserve us, Heavenly Father.


Word of the Day for Friday, November 19, 2010

hallow \HAL-oh\, verb:

1. To make holy; sanctify; consecrate.

1. Hallo.

1. To shout or chase with cries of “hallo!”

No moral quality, no association of purity, truth, modesty, self-denial, or family love, comes in to hallow the atmosphere about them, and create a sphere of loveliness which brightens as mere physical beauty fades.
— Harriet Beecher Stowe, Household Papers and Stories

Its bare walls and little single beds mocked him, mocked him, the sterile and featureless look to it, the lack of a presence to warm it, a purpose to hallow it.
— Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds

Hallow ultimately relates to the Old Norse helga, “health.”