A few hours ago Pope Francis concluded the celebration of the last Vespers (Evening Prayer of the Church) for 2014, and the first Vespers for today’s New Year feast of Mary the Mother of God, by praying the ancient hymn of gratitude to God “Te Deum.”
The hymn, attributed to Sts. Ambrose & Augustine at Ambrose‘s baptism in Milan at the end of the fourth century is a widely known hymn of praise of God, and prayed daily in the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Church.
Here in the diocese of Christchurch we know the Te Deum to be a favourite prayer of our bishop Barry Jones, and he often invites people to pray this prayer together to begin the meetings that he leads.
If you are up to it you can watch the entire Vespers with Pope Francis (all two hours of it) at the video link below. But even if you don’t have the couple of hours to spare, it’s enough to remember that an attitude of gratitude provides an effective generator of health and happiness in a human life. It is true that there are many things in life that might cause us to be anxious and burdened, but if we begin each day (and each meeting) with gratitude, we are open to receiving the grace that God is offering us in every moment.
Try it… in the midst of the day’s anxiety, take a moment to remember something for which you can be grateful to God. It won’t take you long…and your confidence in God will be renewed as you deal with the challenges of each hour.
“We praise you, O God: we acclaim you as the Lord…