Wednesday, November 29, 2006

34th Wednesday in Ordinary Time (II)
Praise and Inspiration

Readings: Revelations 15:1-4; Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 7-8, 9; Luke 21:12-19

Our readings invite reflection upon a connection between two aspects of the spiritual life that’s probably not very obvious, but is well known to some, especially those in the Charismatic Renewal. It’s the connection between praise and inspiration.

In the first reading, we notice how those who had fought against the beast and won, sing a great hymn of praise to God, even as angels are bringing the seven plagues upon the earth. And in the gospel, Jesus assures his disciples that even when they have to undergo persecution on account of His name, he will be with them, inspiring them and giving them an eloquence and a wisdom that none… will be able to resist or contradict. Could there be some connection between the praise we find in the first reading and the inspiration in the gospel?

Without hesitation, those in the Charismatic Renewal would say yes. Indeed they rely on this connection between praise and inspiration at their prayer meetings each week when they go through what some call the Charismatic Cycle. The meeting usually begins with enthusiastic and even boisterous praise of God in song. But if properly facilitated, loud praise gradually gives way to a time of quiet, when all listen attentively to words of inspiration from God and then share what is received with one another either through words of prophecy or passages from scripture, through testimonies or teachings. The principle being relied upon is that praise somehow inserts us into the flow of God’s Spirit, such that our hearts become more open to God’s inspirations and promptings.

And doesn’t this basic spiritual principle admit of broader application in our lives – beyond the limited time and space of the Charismatic prayer meeting, beyond even those in the Charismatic Renewal? Amidst the inevitable trials that come our way each day perhaps we need especially to recall the great and wonderful works of our Lord God and to praise Him for it in word and deed. Could this be one way that we can practice the endurance of which Jesus speaks in the gospel, the kind that will win you your lives?

What connection might we find between praise and inspiration today?

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