Revelation 4:1-11;Psalm 150:1-6; Luke 19:11-28
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty.” (Revelation 4:8)
Reading this passage, we might feel pretty far removed from what John is describing. The saints are in heaven, praising God, and we’re still stuck in this earthly existence with our hang-ups and sins. But we don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to start living a heavenly life! In fact, today’s reading tells us one way to begin right here and right now: through the prayer of praise.
Praise is one of the secret weapons of our faith. It not only brings us closer to God, it sanctifies us in the process. To understand this truth, reflect on these words of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household:
“Praise is, par excellence, anti-sin. If, as St. Paul has said, the moth-er-sin is impiety, that is a refusal to glorify and thank God, then the exact opposite to sin is not virtue but praise! … We must learn to overcome sin with big means and not small ones, with positive ones and not negative ones… .
“The Bible often talks of a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving: Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving… . He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me… . I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psalm 50:14-23; 116:17). What relationship could possibly exist between praise and sacrifice? Sacrifice indicates the immolation and destruction of something, but what does praise immolate and destroy? It immolates and destroys our pride!
“Whoever offers praise sacrifices to God the most acceptable victim that could exist: his or her own glory. This is what the extraordinary purifying power of praise consists of. Humility is concealed in praise. The most extraordinary thing of all is that nothing exists that cannot be transformed, if we want, into a reason for praising and giving thanks to God, not even sin. There is no state of conscience, however difficult, that cannot be reversed if a person tears himself away from all the contrary reasoning of the flesh and decides to glorify God.”
“Come, Holy Spirit, and reveal to me the goodness and power of the Lord! Help me to lift my heart and mind to Jesus in praise today. May I forget what lies behind me and fix my eyes only on you.” ~WAU