Recently I was at a Church meeting, and at the end of it, someone was asked to pray. Now she started her prayer with a litany of praise to our God and I couldn't help but notice an uneasy look on the faces of some people gathered there. Unfortunately, I have found that many Catholics - even those who go to Mass regularly - are not sure about what praising God is, or they are quite uncomfortable with it. So in this article. and others that will follow, we will take a look at what praise is, how do we praise God, when should we praise Him, and hopefully all or most of the questions or reservations you may have on this will be addressed.
Our Catholic Catechism teaches us that "Praise is a form of prayer which recognizes immediately that God is GOD! It lauds God for His own sake, and it gives Him glory, quite beyond what He does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing Him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God, testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted, and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them towards Him who is its source and goal: the one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist." CCC 2639
That's quite a mouthful isn't it? Just based on that above paragraph, doesn't sound like our lives should be deeply immersed in praising God?
There's a game that children play called Tag. Well with all the new technology that is available to children these days, I would not be surprised if this game is now defunct........ I take that back. I understand from one of my nieces that they still play that game. All is not lost (glory to God!) Anyway, the whole idea behind this game is it starts with one person who is "It". Now that person has to chase the other children, and try to touch one of them. When they do, they shout, "Tag! You're it!" That child then has to do the same thing, the goal being not to get tagged, but if you do, not to stay tagged. When we praise God we're saying to Him, "TAGGED! YOU'RE IT!" The big difference here is that God is not running away from us, nor do we have to chase Him down to catch Him. He is always right there. He's our ever-present Friend who wants to remain tagged, and wants to remain the central point of our lives.
All of us have our favourite personality; be it a talented footballer, basket ball player, a singer maybe, or maybe someone in your church community that you really admire. We all have someone like that. When ever we speak about that person, we'd normally describe something about them that we like or admire. Maybe it's the way they play if they're a sports person. If it is someone in your parish community, maybe you admire them for their faith. Whenever we talk about them, we praise them.
As Christians, we aught to recognize that all the goodness we see in others is God's gift to them, and if we can praise them for possessing these gifts, how much more should we praise the Giver of these gifts!
Not too long ago, I was driving on my way to practice, together with one of my brothers from our music ministry. If I remember right, it was a little after six in the evening. We were heading east and just talking in general, but then we both saw a really awesome site. The moon was already out and it was full moon. It was quite majestic and nested itself partially behind a cloud. It was an absolutely awesome sight, and we both exclaimed, "God how great you are!" That is praising God. We both recognized that the awesome sight we had just seen could only have come from the hand of God. No one else and nothing that existed, that now exists, or that will ever exists can create such. Only God can. As we drove on, we praised God a bit more and wondered how people can say there is no God.
This leads to another very important point here. You cannot praise that which you do not know. I cannot praise the son I do not have. I was a great fan of Michael Jordon when he played basketball for the Chicago Bulls. I personally believe that he is the greatest basketball player to date. I do not remember the year, but do you remember the game they played against the Utah Jazz? Michael was sick with the flu, but he played like a man on fire that game. At the end of it, he had to be helped off the court by his team mate. I talked about that game for a long time and each time I spoke about it, I showered praises on Michael Jordon. If I did not know who he was and I never saw him play basketball, then how can I praise him? I couldn't because I'd have no clue about who he is, except maybe hearing his name on the sports cast.
We cannot praise God if we do not know who He is, and do not know what He's done. However - and I say again; however - the other side of that truth is when we come to know God; when we come to know Him through Jesus Christ His Son; when we come to understand and to personally experience what He has done, we cannot help but praise Him. It is impossible for any one to truly know God, to have seem His Mighty Works, to have personally experienced His awesome power in their lives, and not praise Him. That just simply cannot happen. We cannot help but lift our hearts and our voices in total praise unto the Living God.
|< To Praise God - A Way Of Life (Part 2)||The Baptism Of Jesus - Go Make A Difference >|