St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians begins with a beautiful hymn of praise of God the Father. The hymn praises and magnifies God for the love that God has shown us through the gift of Jesus Christ. That gift is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Each day during our Evening Prayer, we raise our voices to praise God using the words of the Blessed Virgin. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Like St. Paul, she praises God for the love that God has shown her. Borrowing words from the Hebrew Scriptures and the canticle of Hannah from the First Book of Samuel, Mary praises God for what God has done and for what God will do.
St. Teresa echoes those words in one of her prayers: “Be joyful, my soul. Don’t let any earthly thing be enough to separate you from your delight, and rejoice in the grandeur of God; in how He deserves to be loved and praised; that He helps you to play some small role in the blessing of His name; and that you can truthfully say: My soul magnifies and praises the Lord.”
Paul, Mary, and Teresa all “magnify” God. Though their words express their praise differently, they all praise God as the giver of all good gifts and the source of all blessings.
Mary, Teresa and St. Paul all teach us something very important today; namely, the importance of praise in our prayer. The catechism teaches us that there are four motives for prayer. Praising God is the first and foremost kind of prayer as Jesus himself taught us: “Our Father, hallowed be thy name.”
As we gather at the table of the Eucharist, we praise God for the gift that God is in our lives.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator