Whooping as our sacrifice

I had to rush this when I first sent it with a terribleFreudian slip in the title: `"Whooping a sour sacrifice!!". The Latin for the key phrase is `"holocausta jubilationis". Jubilation, as verb and noun, is found all over the Psalms, and every time he encountered it, Augustine explained it meant the sound of exultation that people make when they experience a joy that is beyond words. So I started thinking about what the English word for this is, and I came up with "whooping". When I used it once in a sermon, a woman asked for a copy because, she said, it was the first homily her teen-aged son had expressed any interest in! Cause for whooping there!!

I have gone round, and in his tent have offered up a sacrifice of whooping (Ps 26, 6). We are offering a sacrifice of whooping; we are offering a sacrifice of joy, a sacrifice of , a sacrifice of thanksgiving that cannot be expressed in words. And where do we offer it? In Gods own tent, in holy Church. What do we offer? An utterly abounding and inexpressible joy, beyond words, inexpressible. This is our sacrifice of whooping.

Where was it sought? Where was it found? By going round. I have gone round, the Psalmist says, and in his tent have offered up a sacrifice of whooping. Let your mind go round the whole of creation: everywhere creation will cry to you: God made me. Whatever delights you in the work of art commends the artist; the more you go round the universe, reflection brings forth praise of the maker. You see the heavens, the great works of God. You see the earth: God made the many seeds, the different plants, the many animals. Go again around the heavens and back to earth, leaving nothing out. Everywhere all creatures re-echo their maker, and the very kinds of creatures are voices praising their creator. But who can unfold all of creation? Who can set it out with proper praise? Who will worthily praise heaven and earth, the sea, and all the things in them? And besides all these visible things, who will worthily praise the angels, the thrones, the dominations, the principalities, and the powers? Who will worthily praise that which lives within us, giving life to the body, moving its members, making use of its senses, and embracing so much in its memory, discerning so many things by its intelligencewho will worthily praise that. But if human speech labors so much with regard to Gods creatures, what can it do with regard to the Creator? Words failing, all that is left is whooping. I have gone round, and in your tent I have offered a sacrifice of whooping. (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps 26-2, 12; PL 36, 205-206))

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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