Monday, September 15, 2014

Why we need to praise God and glorify the Trinity as a constant practice.

One of the most common prayers that the Catholic prays, apart from the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary is the Glory Be.  In this simple and short prayer, we make a very simple statement, or as traditional Catholicism calls it an ejaculation, that gives glory to the three persons of the Blessed Trinity whom we acknowledge has always existed, and will always exist for all time.  Why is this a prayer?  After all, there is no formal petition in this prayer whilst in the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary there are obvious petitionary phrases.  What is at the heart of this prayer is a doxology with an origin that is traceable back to seventh century Christendom, and vestiges of it can be found in St Paul’s own writing.  What is the spirit behind this prayer?

Because it primarily serves to glorify God and nothing else, a good starting point would be to ask ourselves why does God need glorification?  Is he not satisfied with and in himself that he needs this seemingly ego-boosting utterance to reassure his dominance, power and majesty over his creation?  Without doubt, we have to contend that God has always been full in himself.  As the preface in the Eucharistic Prayer (Common Preface IV in the Roman Missal) states so clearly, “For, although you have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving adds nothing to your greatness but profit us for our salvation”, so God definitely has no need at all of our praises.  God doesn’t need us to glorify him.  He is not needy in any way.  He is always and has always been sufficient.  Yet, we still do glorify God and the Church is constantly calling us to do this as a unified body.  This is because doing this reminds us of who God is, and who we are.  We forget this so easily, and so often.

Our constantly moving and working minds are a living testimony that nothing in us is static and unchanged.  We are constantly moving, thinking, remembering (living in some kind of past) and imagining (hoping for some kind of future).  The self-unassured and oftentimes insecure ego is also on the constant watch for some sort of self aggrandizement that asserts our presence and importance in the world around us, perhaps in a way reminding us that we are alive.  We just seem to be wired this way.  Just look at how furious postings of photos of the self and what the self is either wearing, eating, where the self is staying, going, enjoying, hating, loving and thinking are put up constantly on the social media and one will find evidence of this in spades.  Though not morally wrong in itself, what can easily happen is that we think this is normal, and that the more we do this, the happier we will be, putting ourselves on grand display and at the centre of just about everything.
Doe God want us to be happy?  Without doubt.  But our definition of happiness narrows and diminishes when we displace God from the centre and put ourselves in his place. When we purposefully remind ourselves from time to time that this happiness, no matter how temporal or temporary it is in the ways that we promote ourselves has to also include glorifying the one who makes it all possible, we gain back our true centre in God and that redefines our happiness and our pursuits of all that we hope makes us happy.  From being eccentric (literally meaning “out of or off-centre), we put God where he should always be – at the centre of our lives and of our world.

If there is one reason alone for praying this prayer often it will be this that I have tried to put across in terms current and with examples that I hope most people can identify with. 

The other reason that we need to pray this prayer often is because of the fact that we are made in God’s divine image.  When we pray this with a regularity that is as familiar to us as the beating of our hearts, it aligns us once more to our great and humble origins as a people of God, made in his image, and made in love for love.  It will no longer be just about us – our lives, our purposes and our origins will be re-instilled in our very being that we live in order to glorify God who delights in bringing glory to our own lives when lived in his sight and in his love.  When we are aware of this constantly, it gives us a very firm foundation to face anything that life may give us in terms of challenges, failures, sickness and bad news in general.  Our oneness in God is not hampered nor adversely affected by anything negative because our very being is in God who is constant.  We stand then, on a very secure grounding.

Perhaps it is too idealistic to stop everything in our lives and direct our hearts and minds to God in prayer in the busyness of our day.  I can only imagine what kind of chaos it may cause.  But what could be done is that while we are busy with our lives, doing what we do on a daily basis on the social media, using the many means of communication and putting our God-given talents to good use, it is also good to have this prayer silently prayed in the depths of our hearts simultaneously.  This will help to ensure that we do everything “ad majoram dei gloriam”, or for the greater glory of God. 


  1. Beautiful post, Fr. Luke. Thank you!

    If I were to choose just one 'catchphrase' to remind myself constantly about who I am in the grand scheme of things it would be:" It's not about me - it's all about Christ". God bless!

  2. "... This is because doing this reminds us of who God is, and who we are. We forget this so easily, and so often..." Correct frLuke. God is not only the loving indulging Father, but also our Creator. And if i acknowledge Him as my Creator, then He has every right to define my life; and when i can accept that, i shall be able to glorify Him no matter. Thank you, frLuke.


  3. Thanks Fr Luke, for praying with us, as we had a really blessed Asian Conference. So on a thankful note, strong in hope, we praise, Glory Be ... May you continue to grow strong. Love Ignatius & Florence

  4. In the mission school that I attended as a child, I could still recall vividly the morning sessions when the teacher in the nun habit gathered all of us non-Catholic/pagan children to listen to the stories of this fantastic man and miracle worker called Jesus. But it was the Friday mornings that I loved most for then we always begin the session with the following hymn...........
    “Praise God for whom all blessings flow; Praise Him all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host; Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” (a bit archaic nowadays – I’m afraid)

    In reading your blog, I am surprised - that actually – we, children were naively learning to praise God in a doxology of sorts.........though at that moment we were more engrossed in the song and the poetic sound of the words!

    Today, we are told that praise is one of the highest form of Christian worship and in praising the Holy Trinity in the doxology we are praising and thanking God, not so much for what He has done for us (which is everything!) – as for the sheer goodness of His being............or as the Psalms say, “ for His surpassing greatness/goodness”

    It would seem that praying this doxology is also a simple declaration of one’s faith in the Holy Trinity. Personally, I feel that it is also a timely reminder and an acknowledgement of the poverty of my surrender and submission to the kingly splendour of my Creator who is my all in all.

    God bless you, Fr.


  5. I pray this whenever I see sunrays piercing through the clouds or images of them. The "Glory Be" is especially meaningful to me at these occasions because of a talk you had given years ago on Gloria/Kabod. This image of God (in the Holy Trinity) is always there even though sometimes He is hidden behind clouds should give every Christian faith and hope.
    To me, the only utterance to such faith and hope in God can only be found in the "Glory Be" prayer.