In Us All Creation Praises God

Lenten Reflections 2016

“Praise the Lord from the heavens.” As if the Psalmist found some in the heavens who were not praising the Lord, he exhorts them to rise and praise him. Heavenly creatures never cease to praise their creator, and neither do creatures on earth. But, of course, there are some creatures that have the intention of praising God out of love for him. No one praises what he doesn’t love. Other creatures do not have the spirit of life nor the understanding to praise God, but because they themselves are good and well-ordered and contribute to the beauty of the universe that God created, then although they do not praise God by voice and heart, when they are considered by creatures that can understand, God is praised through them, and since God is praised through them, in a certain sense they, too, are praising God.... (EnPs 148, 3; PL 37, 1939)

“His praise [confessio] on earth and in heaven” (Ps 148:14). What does this mean? The praise by which God praises? No; the praise by which all things confess him, all things shout it out. In a way, the beauty of them all is their voice, confessing him. The sky shouts to God: “You made me, not I.” The earth shouts: “You founded me, not I.” How do they shout these things? This is what happens when they are considered by us. They shout when you consider them, they shout with your voice: “His praise on earth and in heaven.” Look at the sky–it’s beautiful; look at the earth–it’s beautiful; and both of them together are very beautiful. He made them; he rules them; they are governed by his command; he drives the seasons and establishes and renews all things. All those things praise him, then, whether at rest or in motion, whether from earth on up or from the sky on down, whether they are old or have been renewed.

When you rejoice at seeing these things and are brought to the artist who made them and you see and understand invisible things from things that were made (Rom 1:20), “His praise on earth and in heaven,” that is, you praise him for things on earth and you praise him for things in heaven. And because he made them all and there is nothing better than he, whatever he made is beneath him, and whatever pleases you in them is less than he himself is. Don’t be so pleased, then, by what he made that you withdraw from the one who made it. If you love what he made, you must love more the one who made it. If the things he made are beautiful, how much more beautiful is the one who made them. “His confession on earth and in heaven.” (EnPs 148, 15; PL 37-2947-1948)

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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Lenten Reflections 2016

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