WHY “PRAISE GOD”?

Dear Readers,

Spiritual writers have always told us that we are either growing or regressing, never neutral.

This means that we are either praising someone or demanding we be praised, offering gratitude or muttering in bitterness, blessing or cursing, turning attention away from ourselves or demanding it be focused on us, expressing admiration or demanding it, praying a doxology (glorifying God)or doing violence.

We are always doing one or the other and it’s only by deflecting attention away from ourselves, which is what we do in essence when we give glory to God, that we save ourselves from egoism, jealousy, bitterness, greed, and violence.

We’re made in God’s image, have a divine fire in us that over-charges us for this world, and live lives of quiet desperation. That desperation, all too often, expresses itself in negative, bitter, and even murderous judgements because the divine in us has been ignored and we feel rage about this slight. But that’s precisely why daily, hourly, we need to give glory to God, to pray a doxology.” Glory be to the Father , and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit!”

Only by focusing ourselves on the real centre of the universe can we displace ourselves from that centre.

When St. Paul begins his Epistles, he usually does so in a rapture of praise: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ from whose great mercy we all drink!” That isn’t a throwaway opening, it’s a key part of the main lesson: Only by praising something beyond ourselves do we save ourselves from bitterness.

All the great spiritual writers do the same: They won’t write for long, no matter how bitter or difficult the topic, before they insert some kind of doxology: “Glory be to the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit”.

They know a deep secret: Only praise saves us from bitterness and only by blessing others do we save ourselves from cursing them.

Fr. Leon