Giving Glory to God
August 22, 1993
Brother John Raymond
A very familiar prayer to most Catholics is the following: "Glory
be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in
the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
What do we mean when in this prayer, as well as in many others, when
we say to give glory to God? St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor
of the Church, defines glory as "adequate recognition and
God is so great in Himself that He is far beyond anything our
minds could possibly imagine. God knows His own greatness or glory.
He did not need to Create anything. But God wanted to share His
glory. So God manifested His glory by creating. But for God's
greatness to be recognized and appreciated somebody had to recognize
His magnificent work - and that's where we fit in.
Just look at the great complexity, order and harmony in Creation.
Look, for instance, at the perfect geometry of a spider's web. Does
the spider make perfect webs by accident? Look at the vastness of
the stars at night. Isn't looking at the stars something we all are
impressed by? How appropriately the Psalmist expresses the human
experience by stating that "the heavens proclaim the glory of God. .
.." (Psalm 19A, 1) Now We are also part of God's Creation. We give
glory to God ourselves because we were created in His image and
likeness. Unfortunately this image and likeness has been damaged by
original sin. But still, when we freely choose to try to do good we
reflect God's goodness to those around us and this gives God glory.
Jesus said that we should let our light shine before men so that
seeing our good works they would give glory to our Heavenly Father.
(Mt 5, 16)
Giving people glory comes quite naturally to us. We give glory to
people for the wonderful work they have accomplished. Look at what
we do to movie stars, singers, artists, sports players, scientists,
etc. We put their pictures everywhere, have statues made and have
trophy awarding ceremonies for them. We do all this for human glory
but what credit does God get? Didn't He make that person and give
him or her their talents? Do we have anything that did not come from
God first? The devil fell from Heaven because of pride - he
glorified himself instead of giving God the glory. With original sin
we have inherited the tendency to take pride in ourselves or to give
ourselves the glory.
Jesus came to set us back on the right track. He gave the glory
(or adequate recognition and appreciation) to His Heavenly Father
for us and for our example. His Heavenly Father in turn glorified
Him. "Father . . . glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee."
(Jn 17,1) Notice that Our Lady when praised by St. Elizabeth turned
the complement immediately to God, "My soul magnifies the Lord . .
.." (Lk 1,39-56) Look how God has exalted (glorified) His "lowly
handmaid." All the saints glorified God during their lives and God
in turned has glorified them. One could say that when we don't
glorify God we steal the glory from Him which is justly His by
Read Sacred Scripture looking at the many times in both the Old
and New Testament the word glory is mentioned. Think about how
important it is to give glory to God. That is our purpose in life.
Let us live and give the glory to God in the prayers we so often
proclaim. Let us glorify God in this life so that He will have a
reason to glorify us in the next!