Saturday, January 30, 2010
The Divine Praises
It is our human nature to desire to pay homage to someone... be it God, man, or a mythical creation of power, we worship. This has been proved time and again as every generation since ancient times has worshiped the Deity or deities. As Christians, we believe that worship belongs to God and God alone, and rightly so. We follow the first commandment inasmuch as we say "All praise and adoration belongs to You and You alone." However, there is a very common mistake that we fall into which causes us to neglect these duties severely.
What is this mistake? This mistake is forgetting the meaning of worship and why we worship God. Not misunderstanding it, but simply forgetting. Sometimes, we forget it by overriding our adoration of Divinity by sensing a "human connection" with God... but I will touch this in a minute. First of all, allow me to offer definitions of adoration and worship taken from the Merriam Webster Dictionary:
Worship: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power
Adoration: the act of worship; profound love or esteem.
Why do we adore God? Because He was here before the first movement of any being... because He is almighty and all knowing... because He is our Creator... because He sees all things and is intimately aware of each happening, even in the depths of our souls... because He is King of Heaven and Earth, our Supreme Ruler... because of His care for us throughout the ages and His constant love... because of His Justice and Goodness and our fear of these... because He is infinitely greater than we can fathom.
We do this every week at Mass. You may be wondering now what point I could possibly be making... and this is it: When we see Jesus Christ in the Host at Mass and we watch the priest's deep gestures of worship... are we simply watching a ritual or are we participating in Divine Worship? Are we aware that we are in the presence of this great Being I just spoke of, or do we simply think we are in a church with many other people? If not, aren't we exhibiting a mockery of what we truly believe? Are we not crowning Him with thorns and robing Him in purple and bowing down for Him with no purpose of really giving Him worship?
In one of the readings of the Divine Office, yesterday, I noted a singular thing... man forgets to be grateful! When Jesus cured the ten lepers, only one returned. In the Old Testament it was often spoken of about God's peoples' lack of gratefulness. We begin to take God for granted, and begin to take what He did for us for granted. We get so used to looking at the broken Figure on the Crucifix that we begin to FORGET what exactly He went through, and what He still does for us. We receive the Blessed Host so often that we forget that God is coming to us... that He is coming to reside in our own souls! Should this not be something that we are constantly remembering and renewing within ourselves?
I will return to my former mention of this mistaken "human connection" with God. God is all good and loves us all with absolute divine love. He is Mercy and He is our Friend. Not everyone falls into this failure to adore God... but some begin to recognize these gifts of God's Supreme Love as something they deserve. We begin to think that our understanding of Divinity and Spirituality is whole and complete... and that we are God's partners! Think about this for a moment. I am not speaking of intimacy with Christ, I am speaking of a false look at oneself and a lack of humility. Jesus, who comes to us intimately and directly relates with our human nature through His Own, IS Divinity. He is greater than all our understanding... He loves all of us with absolute love, not just some of us. The moment that we begin to look at ourselves as worthy, we begin to lose some understanding of Divinity. The minute we begin to consider the understanding of Divinity as our personal capacity, we are lying to ourselves very stupidly. We can only be intimately connected with our God if we adore Him as Divinity with every inch of our being, and to do this we must be constantly aware of His Greatness and our own not-so-greatness.
We can never find perfection, nor follow our true vocations faithfully, if we cannot even recognize the first commandment. "I Am the Lord your God" let's take Him at His word, shall we? Let's always recognize this first part of the first commandment as what should be foremost in our minds. Let us always recognize all that He has done for us, and how unworthily we receive His Gifts, and be grateful to Him with our whole hearts. Let us use His Gift of our inheritance, of our intimacy with Him to further our adoration of Him and gratefulness to Him, to further His Greatness on earth, not to attempt raise ourselves as Lucifer and the hypocrites did to His level. Let our adoration always be pure from ulterior motives, and let us offer true and impersonal worship freely, admitting our shame and lowliness, whenever it is called for. Let us never attend the Miracle of the Mass without at least attempting to realize the magnitude of what we must be grateful for and adore.
Blessed be God!
Blessed be His holy name!
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man!
Blessed be the name of Jesus!
Blessed be His most Sacred Heart!
Blessed be His most Precious Blood!
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the alter!
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Consoler!
Blessed be the great mother of God, Mary most holy!
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception!
Blessed be her glorious Assumption!
Blessed be the name of Mary, virgin and mother!
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse!
Blessed be God, in His angels, and in His saints!
The Divine Praises, which we say at Benediction, have a singular quality that deserves recognition. The last six lines are blessing the creations and wonderful works of God. We honor the angels, the saints, and God's acts throughout the ages because they are the works of the Most High! God contains all Good. All that is and all that has every been is the work of His Hands. We cannot truly worship and adore Him without recognizing His wondrous works. By loving and adoring Him in and for Himself, we must love and adore all that is contained in Him and all that He has seen fit to do. So great is God that we honor those who have worshiped Him... we honor those who have brought Him glory... for they have furthered the Divine Cause. We honor Mary because Jesus loved her very uniquely and desires us to honor her as our Mother (fourth commandment and His words at the foot of the Cross). So absolute must be our adoration that we must worship God in all His Works and all His servants.
I hope that you all find intimacy with Christ... that His Love and Mercy fills you. I hope you will all be filled with the gratitude for His works that increases understanding and love and closeness to Him. I hope that you will recognize your littleness in the face of God's Greatness, that by so doing you may be granted His Personal blessing as His children. I hope that your fervor for God is always so great that you see the saints as heroes for His Cause and deserving of great respect, for this brings Him joy and thus brings saintliness to you yourselves. Finally, I hope you will never forget the greatness of Divinity and that our adoration must be absolute, so that you may be admitted kindly to the Beatific Vision by showing through your life the desire to see and adore Him infinitely. This is our true vocation, which will last forever. God bless you.