O come, let us adore Him

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So many voices rightfully press for justice in the public square, and we are increasingly asked to consider what exactly constitutes fundamental rights. The conversation, although perhaps too strident, is necessary — for when rights are overlooked some people are crushed without recourse. How often, though, do we consider God in this conversation, and what we owe to Him?

To refer back to the First Commandment, we see that acknowledging God begins with worship, which is grounded in Adoration, “the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge Him as God, as the Creator and Saviour, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve,’ says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy” (“Catechism of the Catholic Church,” 2096). 

This is primarily what we are doing at Mass. Surely, we think of duty and obligation, and we come laden with our intentions and aspirations, but often we forget what we’re about. We are to dress ourselves, drive to a church, and enter the building in order to give our full attention to the One Who made us, Who loves us, and Who commands a return on that gift. This requires recollection and a firm intention to listen and adore.

In the more familiar language of rights, we are giving God His due. Primarily, “to adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the ‘nothingness of the creature’ who would not exist but for God” (CCC, 2097). Admittedly, this can be extremely difficult if we don’t have a relationship with Him, and moreover if we are unsure of what He’s about. But, like any relationship, we need to start somewhere, and “I adore You, Lord, and thank You for making me” is a very good place to start. 

Surely, the thanks we offer — for our life, our comforts, our loved ones, and the proposal of future bliss — is quite shabby, often distracted, and even grudging. But God commands it, just as we stand over our children as they open gifts, nudging them to thank the giver. It’s what a parent does. All the adults in the room can see that the child mouths the words thoughtlessly, but it’s an essential lesson. God our Father is no less a parent, and the gifts He offers are far more than the thanks we can ever muster. Indeed, if we could forget ourselves for a moment — and our laundry list of needs (important as these items are!) — in order just to praise the One from Whom all good things flow, “the worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world” (CCC, 2097). 

It’s such an odd sort of justice — we try to give God His due and in exchange we are given far more than our due! One might imagine the duties of religion enslaving the believer, forcing him to act in certain ways, and yet it is the exact opposite. The one who worships is free, unencumbered, and blessed with a prudence about people and things, a prudence that will serve him well. To be honest, this doesn’t come all at once, but the investment of time in true worship of God is rewarded, for as we discover in all acts of virtue, the benefits redound to the one who acts.

This clarity of vision will echo beyond the believer in due time, for his reordering of priorities will inevitably ripple into the public square. From kneeling selflessly at the crib in the coming weeks will flow the only real potential for a rightly ordered society, for in His light we see light — and by that light can truly see one another. 

Anchor columnist Genevieve Kineke is the author of “The Authentic Catholic Woman.” She blogs at feminine-genius.typepad.com.


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