Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - " We're able to shout when our team scores a
goal, but not able to sing praises to the Lord?" . This
was Pope Francis' warning, during the mass celebrated this morning at Casa
Santa Marta, how many "pray only with our mouth and not with all our
heart" and have no "joy" in praising God.
The Pope, Vatican Radio reports, was inspired by the dance with which King David welcomes the return of the Ark of the Covenant, as recounted in the second Book of Samuel : "And David danced with all his might before the Lord ."
David's prayer of praise, "led him to move beyond all composure," adding, "this was precisely a prayer of praise." Explaining that the passage caused his thoughts to turn to Sarah, Abraham's wife, who, after giving birth to her son, Isaac, said, "The Lord made me dance with joy." He said that it is easy to understand a prayer of petition - asking something of the Lord - and prayer of thanksgiving, as well. Even prayer of adoration, he said, "is not so difficult," to understand. Prayer of praise, however, "We leave aside - it does not come to us so easily ". ""'But, Father! This is for the Renewal in the Spirit folks, not for all Christians!' No: prayer of praise is a Christian prayer, for all of us. In the Mass, every day, when we sing the Holy, Holy, Holy ... This is a prayer of praise: we praise God for his greatness, because He is great. We say beautiful things to Him, because we happy for His greatness. 'But, Father! I am not able...I have to...' Well, you're able to shout when your team scores a goal, and you are not able to sing praises to the Lord? To come out of your shell ever so slightly to sing? Praising God is completely gratis. In it we do not ask: we do not express gratitude for anything; we praise Him!"
We need to pray
"whole-heartedly," he said. "It is also an act of justice, because He is great!
He is our God." David, Pope Franics went on to observe, "was so happy, because
the ark was returning, the Lord was returning: his body, too, prayed with that
"Here is a good question for us to pose to ourselves today: 'But how am I doing about prayer of praise? Do I know how to praise the Lord? Do I know how to praise the Lord when I pray the Gloria or the Sanctus? Is my whole heart really in it, or do I merely mouth the words. What does David dancing here say to me, and Sarah, dancing for joy? When David enters the city there begins another thing: a party!"
"The joy of praise," said Pope Francis, "leads us to the joy of the feast - the feast of the family." The Pope went on to recall how, when David returned to the palace, Michal, the daughter of King Saul, scolded him and asked him if he did not feel ashamed for having danced like that in front of everyone, he, who is the king. Michal "despised David". ""I wonder sometimes how many times we despise good people in our hearts, good people who praise the Lord as it comes to them, so spontaneously, because they are not cultured, because they do not follow the formalities? I mean really despise them? The Bible says that, because of this, Michal remained sterile for the rest of her life. What does the Word of God mean, here? It means that joy, that the prayer of praise makes us fruitful! Sarah danced in the great moment of her fecundity - at the age of ninety! The fruitfulness that praise of the Lord gives us, the gratuity of praising the Lord: that man or that woman who praises the Lord, who prays praising the Lord, who, when praying the Gloria is filled with joy at doing so, and who, when singing the Sanctus in the Mass rejoices in singing it, is a fruitful person".
Instead, "those, who are closed in the formality of a prayer that is cold, stingy, might end up as Michal, in the sterility of her formality." The Pope asked, then, that we imagine David dancing, "with all his might before the Lord," and that, "we think how beautiful it is to make the prayer of praise." It will do us good, he said, to repeat the words of Psalm 23, which we prayed today: "Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of Glory."