The Effect of the Liturgy of Prayer and Praise on the Being of Man
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
It is not difficult to perceive that prayer and praise are in themselves a work of the Holy Spirit in us... When your soul has once been aroused by hymns or set prayers in church, prayer will always be able to admit to the presence of God without any difficulty, like a child who has once learned to speak.
considered a fine example of one who prayed much and praised and sang to God in
joy and humility night and day. It is also clear from his life and from God's
own witness concerning him that there is a strong relationship between prayer
and praise on the one hand, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and his
dwelling in the heart of man on the other.
It is not difficult to perceive that prayer and praise are in themselves a work of the Holy Spirit in us, and that to practise them is to some extent fellowship with the Holy Spirit. So regular participation in the service of the liturgy of prayer and praise in the church is a door through which we may enter into a life that is spiritual, without difficulty and without pride. It can change us little by little from our worldly form into a new form loved by God and mean.
We notice that when we praise God from our hearts, it awakens the sense of immortality that lies dormant deep inside us and increases our love for eternal life. Afterwards, one grows accustomed to the atmosphere of praise and it becomes to us like the air of heaven, our better homeland. We breathe the fragrance of God simply by hearing the church choir sing, for the melody of the hymns is a language of the spirit and from it the soul draws a sense of heavenly things.
When your soul has once been aroused by hymns or set prayers in church, prayer will always be able to admit to the presence of God without any difficulty, like a child who has once learned to speak.
So, it is that the liturgy of communal prayer and praise in church is able to stir the soul of man into a recognition of his heavenly homeland, to increase his awareness of eternity and his sense of divine things, and to change and renew his thinking.
The choir that sings praise in church is used by the Holy Spirit to draw the hears of the repentant towards heaven and to make the voice of God heard above the voice of this transitory world.
Thus, hymns of praise and supplication prepare us inwardly and without our consciousness to take part in the communal fellowship with God in the mystery of the Eucharist. This is especially true, because participation in the communal singing of praise in church breaks down the barriers between the individual and the community, just as the individual voice is lost among the voices of the congregation. Praising God creates harmony between the believers and prepares them to be one voice for one heart and one spirit, for a hymn separates man from the world just as it separates him from his own selfishness.
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