Navigating the Faith: The Divine Praises & Praying the Psalms


by Kim Long

I enjoy a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. Oh I make them, but keeping them is well… another story. My prayer life needed a bump, some insight. My prayer is usually conversational, but at times I just don’t “say much.” I felt I needed a new start for a new year. To facilitate this I looked into our Catholic heritage and chose two “old standards” to get me back onto a workable routine.

The Divine Praises
I cannot recall the first time I heard this litany, but I can tell you when it stuck with me. I was on a family vacation where everyone packed the “wrong” things (read here hurts, little offenses, pride, ego, etc). I always attend Mass on my birthday and this year was no exception. So early that morning, I drove to Our Lady of the Gulf with reluctant family members rubbing sleep from their eyes and filing into the pew for “Mass as usual.” What I distinctly recall was the elderly priest coming up the aisle at the close of Mass praying The Divine Praises. God had given me a lovely birthday gift; his voice undulating as the recessional reached the back of the church had me struggling to recall each part of this prayer. So I decided to dust it off and employ it in the new year.

First penned in 1797 by Luigi Felici, a Jesuit priest, this prayer is also known by its Latin name Laudes Divinae. These “Divine Praises” are often recited after Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and before the Holy Eucharist is returned to the tabernacle. They were composed in reparation for blasphemy and profanity. Private recitation of the Divine Praises is always appropriate and, as a side note, they have been traditionally used to “ward off” or make reparations for use of foul language.

St. Thomas Aquinas once noted that the Divine Praises can increase the fervor of our devotion to God, and that thus “we praise God not for His benefit, but for ours.” This prayer reminds us of the glories of the Trinity, and of the key role our Blessed Mother, St. Joseph the angels and saints have played in our salvation as well.

The Divine Praises:
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.
May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.

Praying the Psalms
The Church has a long-standing tradition of “praying” the psalms. The word psalm means praise. The psalms, like our lives, run the gamut from petitions, laments, prayers of thanksgiving, confidence in God, penitence and extolling the royalty of God.

I decided to “retrieve” Psalm 150 for part of my daily prayers. I chose it because it is a psalm of praise, making it a natural segue from The Divine Praises. The practice of praying the psalms was given to me many years ago by Fr. John Scanlon. I was “stuck” and felt that I couldn’t pray. In his wisdom he suggested I follow many of the saints in our history and give the psalms a try. I was put off by it. Firstly the language wasn’t mine, it seemed stilted and even contrived; they did not seem relatable.

I was very young when Fr. Scanlon counseled with me. Now, I have some age, experience, heartache and joy under my belt, this practice hits a home run. Psalm 150 is an unbridled expression of joy and we can never experience too much of that. Fr. Scanlon recommended that I pray before reading the psalm once through, and then go back and slowly read it a second time allowing the Lord to show me what He had for me. It works. Here is Psalm 150 in all its glory. May your new year be filled with every good and perfect gift which is from above.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

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