Praising is to give thanks for the blessings or crosses in our lives and to recognize what God is doing for us. The Gospel is a story of praise. “Without joy,” Pope Francis says, “we Christians cannot become free, we become slaves to our sorrows. Sad, hopeless, anxious Christians cannot advance the Gospel”. On many different occasions, Pope Francis has reminded us that praising is central to our Christian life to develop an intimate connection to God. “You here at Mass,” the Pope said in the chapel of St. Martha’s House, “do you give praise to God or do you only petition God and thank God?” (May, 2013)
For the Emmanuel Community, praising is vital, the joy that is celebration, to prepare the heart with a positive attitude and bring the joy of the Christ at the center of our day. The EC encourages to begin the day with songs of praise and to listen to songs whenever possible.
Yet, I must admit, I have struggled in the past with praise: about how to do it, when, why, for how long, and so on. For many years I simply found it difficult to enter into praise. I could not find the right time in the morning, or the right songs, or the right attitude to do it. Ultimately it was almost like a sense of embarrassment to sing aloud and be happy for doing it out of tune!
The turning point has been experiencing the impact of praising in my spiritual life. After a consistent period of every-morning, 10 minutes of praise in front of an icon of Our Lady, I have experienced a long lasting happiness and a stronger desire to witness to Jesus, stronger that any prayers I ever done. A few minutes of singing are a precious time of grace of encountering Jesus. As Pope Francis said, “This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God! And that will not be boring; it will be beautiful! This joy makes us free.”
I am not turning back! Being a joyful Christian relies on the grace of converting small moments in praising Jesus, for the natural reason that he is worthy of praise, always. These days, praise has became the only way I start my day free from the slavery of the secular world, free from musical uninhibited fears, in the contagious attitude of rejoicing in the joy of Christ’s freedom.
Written by Stefania (PA)