Monday, November 26, 2018

Notes from the Hours: Ringing Praise

The vaults of heaven ring with Your praise, O Lord.

The saints and angels in Heaven are continually praising God. They recognize fully the wonders of His being and the marvels of His works, and they express their recognition with great joy and gratitude.

Do we do the same? Are our prayers laced with praise? Or are they focused mostly on what we think we want and need from God, both for ourselves and others?

Prayers of petition and intercession are, of course, important. God wants us to talk to Him about our needs and desires. We're supposed to ask Him for His help and His blessings. He listens; He always responds; and these prayers can make a huge difference, even a critical difference, in our lives and the lives of those around us. After all, as Pascal once said, God gives us prayer that we may have the dignity of causing good things to happen.

But in the midst our petitions and intercessions, we must not forget praise. When we send up our praise to God with grateful hearts, we begin to give Him the worship, the adoration, that He so deserves. We acknowledge the wonderful things He has done for us...our creation, our redemption, our every breath. We express our love for Him, and our love grows deeper and richer as we pour it out.

It can be difficult to establish a habit of praise, for our petitions and intercessions tend to multiply and crowd out other prayers. Begin, perhaps, by praying a psalm of praise each day. Try Psalms 136, 93, 100, 111, 135, 138, 150, and 19. Turn on praise and worship music, and listen to it in the car and/or while doing daily tasks. Take a few moments during morning and evening prayer to simply praise God. Just tell Him how amazing He is, how worthy of all the love His creatures can give, how merciful, how perfect, how beautiful, how loving. The more we say these truths to God, the more they will take root in our hearts and the better we will know and love our Lord.

May the vaults of heaven ring with Your praise, O Lord, and may we help to multiply that praise forever. Amen.

(Antiphon from Monday, Week II, Morning Prayer of the Divine Office)

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