As we continue our Thursday Lenten meditation series for adoration, join us in reading Chapter II of Mother Mary Loyola’s Coram Sanctissimo.
by Mother Mary Loyola
Give praise to our God, all ye His servants, and you
that fear Him, little and great. (Apoc. xix. 5.)
When heaven is opened for an instant it is to let out a burst of praise. “Glory to God in the highest!” (Luke ii.) “Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power!”(Apoc. iv.) “The Lamb that was slain, is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction…To Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction and honour and glory and power for ever and ever.” (Ibid. v)
We lift up our heads; we are rapt. It is an unexpected strain from fatherland that catches the exile’s ear and thrills through every fibre of his being. It finds an affinity, that burst of praise, in every human soul on which the sense of exile weighs. For it is the strain to which every soul is attuned by the very fact of its creation. The language of praise is our mother-tongue. Gementes et flentes in hac lacrymarum valle [For you, moaning and weeping in this vale of tears] was no part of God’s original design for us. We took the golden harps out of His hand and strained and broke the strings, and now the notes are plaintive when not discordant. But Christ has restored all things. He has brought back our joy by taking our sorrow on Himself. Because here on earth He prayed “with a strong cry and tears” (Heb. v.) the song of praise is to be put again upon our lips. Yet a little while and “God shall wipe away all tears…and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more” (Appoc. xxi). He is here upon the altar, waiting to catch up the faint accents of my praise, and bear them with His own before the throne of God.
Do this for me, O dearest Lord. Praise does not come easily to these lips of mine. The cares of life, and its failures, and its pains; heaviness of soul, and the weight of the corruptible body, with all the engrossingness of self, wring my heart dry of praise. A sudden revelation of Your goodness in the removal of a trial, or the advent of an unlooked-for joy, will lighten it for a moment and lift it up to You in benediction. Yet even this impulse of thankful love is weak and cannot long sustain itself, and I fall again humbled at Your feet, to feel how little I can do and say even at my best. As to the pure praise of heaven—free of all thought of self, where self is drowned in the glad, triumphant, all-absorbing sense of Your greatness, and grandeur, and all-sufficingness—of this I know nothing. Yet it is the language of my country, the tongue I shall speak for ever—should I not be learning it here in time? A language may be learned in a foreign land though the accent we only catch on its own soil.
Often and often, dear Master, I say to You with the Twelve, “Teach me to pray.” I say to You now, “Teach me to praise.” Teach me that highest, purest prayer which will be the incense rising for ever from my heart when other prayer has ceased.
Fuller and richer every hour grows the heavenly harmony, as part after part is taken up by the blessed choristers arriving from earth and purgatory. But for whom are reserved the richest notes in the anthem, entoned with human voice by Christ Himself? Surely for those who have practised that praise even here in hac lacrymarum valle [in this vale of tears]. Whose hearts have never been allowed, even in exile, to forget the tongue of fatherland. Which have leaped up day by day in the Gloria in excelsis and the Magnificat, in the Benedictus and the Te Deum. Which have persisted in praise when the heart was weighted heaviest; when doubt, repining, rebellion even, sought to stifle its voice. They heard the call: “Arise, give praise in the night” (Lament. ii.). And answered: “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job i). It is this praise in the night that sounds sweetest in the ear of God. It is of these His faithful servants that He says: “They shall praise Me in the land of their captivity, and shall be mindful of My name” (Baruch ii).
What wonder that their song shall be sweetest in the City of Peace; that their voices shall mingle more intimately than the rest with hers whose heart was singing Ecce ancilla—even in its agony—with His Who, having sung a hymn, went forth to Calvary!