How God Praises Himself

Lenten Reflections 2016

We have longed to praise God with you, and he has graciously granted this; and so that the praise we speak to him might be in proper order lest we offend the one it praises, we seek in God’s Scriptures the best way of praise so that we don’t stray from the path either to right or to left. For I dare to tell you, beloved, so that God might be well praised by man, God praised himself, and because he deigned to praise himself, man found how to praise him. What is said to a man can’t be said to God: “Let your mouth not praise you” (Prov 27:2). For a man to praise himself is arrogance, but for God to praise himself is mercy. It benefits us to love what we praise: loving the good God we become better. And because God knows that it benefits us to love him, he made himself lovable by praising himself, and it was for our benefit that he made himself lovable. Our hearts are exhorted to praise him: he filled his servants with his Spirit so that they would praise him. And because it is his Spirit who in his servants praises him, what else is this but for God to love himself? And so this is how this Psalm begins: “I will exalt you, my God, my king, and I will praise your name forever, and for ages of ages.” You see that praise of God begins here, and that same praise will be prolonged till the end of the Psalm. ... Start to praise God, then, if you are to praise him forever. Whoever does not want to praise God while this world is passing, will become speechless when the end of the end of ages comes. (EnPs 144[145], 1-2; PL 37, 1869-1870)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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