“We have the spirit, yes we do! We have the spirit, how about you!” And of course, the opposing team’s fans chant back, “We have the spirit, yes we do! We have the spirit! how about you. “ This goes back and forth increasing in volume until one side says, “We have more! We have more!”
During High School sports there is a lot of school spirit that is built on pride and emotion. There is a certain giving of oneself to the community in order to win the game or attain a goal. Many athletes and band members practice long hours to accomplish such temporary goals.
In a certain manner, this is what we do at the Holy Mass. We give ourselves to God through the prayers of the Mass and songs, and in moments of quiet and re-flection. Our goal is to win eternity! Praise is a prayer that lifts one’s mind and heart to God enthusiastically through song and word because Christ is present within us, and calls us to an everlasting life of perfect praise and happiness.
The word “enthusiastic” actually come from the Greek meaning “in God” en theos. We need to let the Spirit of God within us pray through us.
However, praising God does not always mean shouting or singing as loud as we can. Praise can be a quiet turning to God by telling him we love him for having created us, redeemed us, loved us in Christ. After praising God, we can thank him for all the blessings and ask him to open our hearts and minds to receive more of his graces.
When we practice this prayer of praise in the morning and at night, and especially at Mass, we grow closer to God and to begin to feel his commitment to us. We can rest assured that he is within us because we are humble and pray in Jesus’ name through the power of the Holy Spirit received at our baptism, even when we do not experience feelings of his closeness.
At times it is not always easy to praise God, especially when we are going through a moment of sad-ness and disappointment. My Mother reminded me what she received from her Mother: when you are feel-ing sad or disappointed do something good for another person whether it is calling them on the phone, or smiling at them, asking if you can help, or saying a prayer for them.
When we tap into Jesus Christ who gave himself completely to God the Father, and to all of us, by serving us through his miracles, suffering and giving praise to God, then we can experience him saying to our own soul, “Come to me, all of you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your-selves. For my yoke is easy, and my bur-den light.”
The yoke of Jesus Christ is easy and light because he carries it with us out of love for God and others. We are called to do the same for one another for the praise and glory of God.
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe