EXERCISING PRAISE


We who mystically represent (μυστικῶς εἰκονίζοντες) the Cherubim, and who sing to the Life-Giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn, let us now lay aside all earthly cares that we may receive the King of all…” (Cherubic Hymn, Byzantine Divine Liturgy) What is the point, one might ask, of “mystically representing” (or, more specifically, “being icons of/images of” εἰκονίζοντες) the Cherubim? First of all, we are proclaiming our unity with all faithful, God-praising creation, both visible and invisible. And we “exercise” a capacity we share with the invisible creation: Praise. We are “doxological” beings, meant to “bless” or pronounce “good words” in God’s good world. But we need to “exercise” our praise-capacity, lest it be smothered by other capacities, like ingratitude, grumbling, and always seeing the glass “half-empty.” Let me exercise my capacity for praise and gratitude today, for God and also for other people. Because gratitude and praise open my eyes and my heart to things and people as they are, in the all-loving eyes of God. Glory be to Him.
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