THE PRAYER OF PRAISE
During this difficult time when our lives are on hold, the following excerpts from a recent homily given by Pope Francis are worth considering:
The topic he chose is PRAISE of God. In his homily he compares those who praise God to climbers. Climbers need to breathe in oxygen if they are to be enabled to reach the summit of a mountain.
Praise, he said, must be practised not only when life fills us with happiness, but above all in difficult moments…moments of darkness when the path becomes an uphill climb.
“Giving praise is like breathing in pure oxygen: it purifies the soul, it makes you look far ahead so as not to remain imprisoned in the difficult moment, in the darkness of difficulty.”
The prayer of praise is one of the principal forms of prayer. Others are blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, and thanksgiving.
Pope Francis asks the question: “To whom is praise helpful? To us or to God?”. In answer he points to a text of the Eucharistic liturgy that says: “Although you have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself you gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness, but profit us for salvation,’ By giving praise to God, we are saved”
GRATITUDE and PRAISE go together
In the preface of the Mass we have the words:
It is truly right and just , our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.
These words give us an important and practical key for our basic spirituality. Through them we are encouraged to put gratitude and thanksgiving at the centre of our spirituality. Giving our heavenly Father thanks always and everywhere helps us to put our focus on God, the giver of all that is good, rather than on ourselves. We are encouraged to purposely notice and purposely thank the Lord for the myriad blessings we receive –. (Our whole day can easily be filled with short expressions of loving gratitude – for life itself, the food we eat, family, companionship, the thousands of people who help provide for our daily needs, fresh water, all the amenities we enjoy… ) We thank God even for our difficulties and trials. In doing so we put our trust in the inspired words we find in the epistle of St Paul to the Romans: We know that ALL THINGS work for good for those who love God Rm 8:28
The following is a link to an Ignatian spirituality website that may be of help: (The spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, is based on gratitude)
The following quotes might also help: (I am sure that you can find many more)
“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.” – St Gianna Beretta Molla
“Prayer is an aspiration of the heart. It is a simple glance directed to Heaven. It is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy.” –St. Therese Lisieux
Gratitude and praise goes with complete and TOTAL TRUST IN GOD’S LOVE FOR US.
St Paul points to the ultimate foundation of complete trust in God in his letter to the Romans: What can God deny us when he has given us his own son? “He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not also given us all things along with him,?”(Rom. 8:32) Therefore we can most confidently abandon ourselves to all the dispositions of divine providence, since they are for our own good.
Our faith invites us to place ourselves unreservedly in God’s hands because he will not fail to have care of us: “Casting all your worries upon him because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7). “If you..who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more with your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him” (Mt7:11)
The inspired words of Psalm 23 expresses this trust in God’s care:
1 The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want…..
3 You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.
4 Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side;
your rod and staff give me courage…..
6 Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.