By Elizabeth Pawelek
I am the type of person that tends to stumble through my day, kind of like a pinball machine, going to and fro, from thing to thing. Pretty typically, by the end of the day, I have to find a chapel to stop all of the to and fro-ness and ask Jesus to help me.
I stumble into the chapel, my arms full with the worries and cares of the day.
I plop myself in a chair and begin my babbling to Jesus, dumping all that I have been carrying at His feet. I tell Him how I wish to have handled this situation better, what I need from Him for this important pending event, how if this one particular suffering could get a teensy bit easier, it would be most appreciated, and oh the list could go on. Usually this is my wake up, stumble, repeat routine, until I had an opportunity to hear the most gentle priest give a talk on praise in prayer.
We went through countless readings in the Old Testament, and just like in today’s First Reading-
“Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered, "Amen, amen!" Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD, their faces to the ground.”
The people of the Old Testament consistently praise the Lord before any begging, pleading or beckoning.
This was not my disposition to Our Lord (refer to my formula for the day). The priest explained that praising Our God for who He is and what He has done puts us in a disposition of receptivity and humility. That this beginning of prayer changes our focus off of what we cannot do, but what He can do and has done.
So, I heeded the priest’s advice and I tried this thing called “praise.” I didn’t know where to start at first. I went to the Psalms; I figured it was the most like a song. At first it was awkward, I didn’t really feel the things I was praising God for, but then my heart started to change. I began to come outside of my typical conversation (or pleading) with God. I praised Him for His majesty, glory, and love. Mostly, I started to believe that He is good,
He wants my happiness, and He has the power to create and definitely the power to handle my stumbles throughout the day.
The praising started to bleed into the way I went through my day to day, praising become an attitude. The praising, I realized, was good not because it changes Him, but it changed my disposition towards the Most High. Now, as I go through my day, typically in pinball fashion, I find myself in the chapel, I praise Him because He is good and I need Him more! When I start feeling the weight of life, remembering who He is puts it all into perspective. My stumbles are less important because I am praising Him for His greatness, His power, and His power will not fail.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth believes that The Father has the biggest sense of humor (i.e. He laughs at her all the time) & can't get over His Unfailing Love. She has coffee stains on just about everything, & probably isn't wearing shoes. Her future hubby, family & friends, good music, old movies, & whiskey are a few of her favorite things (& musicals). She is currently working at a wonderful Catholic School in Denver, & has a love/hate relationship with St. Therese of Lisieux.