When is a person to praise God?
The well known writer C.S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia series, in his book called Reflections of the Psalms, mentions that the world is full of praise, praising of various things like weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, and so on. With all of that being said he hits the nail right on the head by stating that the most important part of praise is this:
We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is it’s appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.1
So praise, in other words, is the evidence of enjoying something. If you enjoy something, you’ll praise it, and you’ll want others to join in your praises.
So if we say we love God and that God created us in fact to love him, and if we love God, we will delight in God in all that we do and our praise will be the fruit of all that delight. The answer then would be that we should praise God constantly, in all things in fact. As the psalmist says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8).
Putting it simply, we praise God when we offer him our day in the morning. We can praise God on our way to school or to work. We praise God when we offer our activities and work to him, and by trying to do these things as best we can. We praise God when we correctly delight and enjoy other people or things. We can offer our praise in our own personal prayer that we carve out of certain times of the day. St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “man was created to praise and service God and thereby save their souls. All other things were created to help them attain that end.”2 When we use the things in our everyday life to grow closer to God we are giving Him praise.
But we especially praise God when we assemble together as the Body of Christ at the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
We need to praise Him now and regularly throughout our day because when and if we make it to heaven we shall begin offering our praise to the Most Holy Trinity face to face perpetually for the rest of time.
May we be able to say at every moment the words of the ‘90s Fat Boy Slim song – “I want to Praise You like I should.”
1. Clive Staple Lewis. Reflections of the Psalms. “A Word about Praise.” p.95.
2. Ignatius of Loyola. The Spiritual Exercises. “The Principle and Foundation.”