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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why do we worship God?

This article (From is very much in line with something Nick told us some weeks ago. Why do we go for Mass? To receive Jesus? To receive His blessings? That shouldn't be the primary reason. We should move away from the me-centred attitude that is so prevalent around us. We go to Mass to worship God because that's what He deserves - because He's God. "It's is right to give Him thanks and praise" because of who He is and who we are, not because what we can get from Him and what He does for us. Our worship of God is a matter of justice (which has been defined as according a person what they actually deserve or are entitled to)



Last week in the combox discussion related to SDG's post, I wrote the following in response to an unbeliever who held that the praise and worship of God - especially in heaven for all eternity - strikes even most Christians as a bore and a drudgery, but they do it anyway because it's what God commands;

I have always been an artist. I have always understood that the world is a work of art, that it means something, and if it means something, then there must be someone to mean it.

(I know I'm paraphrasing Chesterton here and there)

The worship of God - due praise to the artist - is not only something I don't find AT ALL to be a dreary duty, but is something that can hardly be helped. It wants to leap out on its own, like a laugh or the "Oooohs and Aaahhhs" you hear at a fireworks show. They won't be able to shut me up in heaven.

I believe I did get the point across that the praise and worship of God is a very natural response, and this statement is alright as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough and could leave the false impression that we worship God mainly for what he does, rather than who he is.

God does deserve endless praise just for his work, his artfulness in creating the universe, but that is only the beginning of the story. The universe is as achingly beautiful and subtle and powerful and fascinating as it is because it reflects in many ways the character - the attributes - of the artist who made it. If the world is an artwork and does have meaning as I maintained above, then it all points back to the one who made it and what he is like. Not that a person would be able to really understand everything about God from nature alone (the pagans demonstrate that), but as St. Paul said in Romans 1:20, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.".

As we pray in the Gloria, "We praise you for your glory.". God's glory is this revelation of himself, this radiant presence that comes to us through all of his creation. His glory consists in the very fact that the Triune God, infinitely perfect and complete, does not keep himself to himself. He continually shares his divine life with all creation, holding every atom in existence by his will from moment to moment. God shares with us the attributes of existence and free will in a completely unnecessary and ongoing act of love.

We praise God for who he is, and we only know who he is because he has revealed it to us in this radiant penumbra of glory called Creation. We often think of Creation as a noun, like it's only a thing. Creation is also a verb, the ongoing act of God.

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