I know I should praise more. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the most challenging of my Lenten efforts, especially when brothers and sisters are not around to help.
A few days ago, during confession, the priest reminded me of the necessity of praising the Lord even for bad things. Immediately the question came out my mouth (once more) as spontaneously as if I had been 3 years old: “But… Should I praise the Lord for my alcoholic father?”
The priest had already heard this one, and he answered with confidence: “Yes”. Then he dove into the suitcase he keeps near his chair and, slipping it under his door of the confessional, told me to take the book “From prison to praise” by Merlin Carothers. And off I went, with the grace of the sacrament, my book, and my renewed determination to praise.
Two days later, after mass, the same old priest came straight towards me, smiling: “Hey! We praise God not for the bad things that have happened, but for the good things that came out of it!”
Very surprised, I smiled in return and managed to answer “yes, of course”… This nice priest had the kindness to think about me, and he wanted to help by completing his answer! His charity and big smile were the radiant face of the Church for me. And off I went, still determined to praise, and fighting for it in my heart.
A few days after, during mass, the idea popped up suddenly: I can praise indeed, because my father was more than the bad things that hurt me. In the eyes of the Lord, he was infinitely lovable and precious, and for me, it was (despite everything else) him who shared with me his love for books and literature. No bad memory should obliterate such a gift.
Being stuck on bad things prevented me from considering the good, and ended up making me judgmental instead of forgiving. Praising the Lord for my father made me open my eyes and my heart.
I had better praise more and go back to the confessional as soon as possible.