We Catholics praise God. We, as His creatures praise God for many reasons. We praise God to thank Him, to adore Him, and to glorify Him. Praise is a great expression of one’s indebtedness to God. Sometimes when we praise God, we do so with a transactional mentality, as though we were ‘paying Him back.’ However, even our praises to God are a gift He gives us. Everything we have comes from God: our life, our talents, our family, and everything else. When we praise God, we do not add to His greatness. It is good for us and for our salvation to praise God because He allows us to know Him and to love Him. This reminds me of one of the prefaces of the Mass, which says: “For, although you have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness but profit us for salvation through Christ our Lord” (Common Preface IV).
In praising God, there are three things that happen. First, we recognize His omnipotent power. We recognize that God is capable of anything. We recognize His dominion over us, and we submit ourselves to Him. We allow God to rule over us.
Second, in praising God, we also remind ourselves that we are His creation, that we are subordinate to Him, and that we are sinners who have to receive His mercy and consolation. We recognize that we have sinned against God, and we remember that we have received forgiveness from Him. In praising God, we humble ourselves to Him and prepare ourselves to follow His call.
Lastly, in praising God, we also express desire to be closer to God; we seek to be with Him. We pursue holiness in the eyes of God. St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that “by praising Him our devotion is aroused towards Him… by praising God, [man] ascends in his affections to God, by so much is he withdrawn from things opposed to God” (ST II-II.91.1 co). We turn our back on evil when we praise God. We are drawn towards goodness. We pursue holiness and strive to be free of sin and blemish. In praising God, we desire to be with Him.
So dear friends, as we praise God, let us recall that our actions do not add greatness to Him but rather justify us to be worthy to be with Him. In praising God, we allow God to rule over our lives; we submit ourselves to His sovereignty and cultivate our desire to be with Him.
Br. Joshua Gatus, O.P. | Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE