Praise is an important part of living the spiritual life because it elevates and deepens prayer, according to the Rev. Jacques Philippe, CB, Tuesday at the weekly all-campus praise and worship.
Philippe, author of many books on the spiritual life, including “Searching for and Maintaining Peace,” preached the various ways praise can elevate hearts to be closer to God during the third of a series of talks given in Steubenville to prepare for the season of Lent. Despite speaking in his native French with a translator, he shared his message in a lively manner to the students and visitors packed inside of Christ the King Chapel.
“(Praise) opens up a work of the Holy Spirit which allows us to enter into a depth,” Philippe said. “Sometimes our praise starts in songs … and our prayer becomes deeper, … and then at a certain point, our praise is so deep that we are going to be quiet. We can’t talk anymore because we sense that we are faced with mystery, beauty, a depth, a wisdom that no word can describe.”
Philippe said there is a recognition of the beauty of praise in numerous books of the Bible and cited the Psalms, the Gospel of Luke and some of the letters of St. Paul.
“Paul says that … the Holy Spirit comes to call us in our weakness,” Philippe said. “It’s beautiful when our prayer is not something that we made, but when it is guided, when it is elevated by the grace of the Holy Spirit.”
In addition, Philippe elaborated on the way praise can direct hearts towards God and away from sin, relating the importance of praise to the season of Lent.
“(Lent) is a time of grace,” Philippe said. “Maybe a beautiful effort this Lent which will purify our hearts on a deep level is to ask the Lord for this grace to live more and more in the way of thanksgiving.”
Emily Heffernan, freshman, said that Philippe’s talk affected how she views praise.
“It influenced me to change my own style of praise and to not focus so much on the feeling or my own intentions, but to truly glorify God through it, through singing and expressions,” Heffernan said.