Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam

On why prayer is not about cultivating a particular kind of self, but about praising God:

"It is Jesus Christ Who prays in us; it is He Who prays by us; it is He Who prays with us....

"Finite creatures, be they the holiest and highest, can never worship God as He deserves; for to Him is due a worship without bounds. How, then, can creatures, who are limited on all sides, pay such a homage? No one but God Himself, the Infinite One, can offer a worship which has the perfection that is required. It was therefore necessary, if He is to have a fitting worship, that God the Son, of the very same substance and equal to His Father in all things, should become Man, so that as the God-Man He, in His created nature, and in the name of all creation, should pay a homage which, on account of His Own Divine Person, is infinite and worthy of all acceptance by the Eternal Father.... He is decreed to be our Head in order to enable us through Him to worship our Maker....

"Sharing as we do in His life, forming but one body with Him, He makes use of our souls as so many instruments by which He can praise God. The words we utter are His in very truth; it is He Who prays in us and by us, if we place ourselves wholly at His disposal.... [We] are like a harp of living strings--of strings which willingly place themselves under the master's power and share in his sentiment as far as possible....

"This, then, is our position when, in the name of the Church, we take up our Office book and say our hours. As the Apostle says: We put on the Lord Jesus Christ [Romans 13:14]. We become His mouthpiece, and give voice to the feelings of adoration, thanksgiving, supplication, and atonement which are for ever welling up from the Sacred Heart as Jesus lifts up His five wounds before the Father and intercedes for us. We give voice to that great cry which, amidst the toil and bustle of the day, and in the stillness and solitude of the night, is ever ascending from that same Sacred Heart in the countless tabernacles where in sacramental life Jesus abides in our midst. His prayer is ours; ours is His.... This is why the Church always ends our prayers with the words, 'Through Christ our Lord'--to unite us with Him Who prays in us, and to remind us of His promise that anything we ask the Father in His name shall be presently granted to us....

"As long as we keep our mind and heart lifted up to God--that is to say, as long as we keep ourselves, as it were, basking in the sunshine of His presence--the weaknesses of human nature, such as distractions, cannot harm us or take away from the value of our prayer....

"To sum up, then, the Liturgical Prayer, such as we have it in the Office, and is laid upon us by the Church, is no private devotion, but it is the Prayer which the Word Incarnate is ever pouring forth on behalf of the Mystical Body of which He is the Head. Those who say it are the willing instruments placed as His disposal by His spouse, the Church. We abide in Him and He in us. The words we speak, we speak not of ourselves, but in His person.... By Jesus Christ, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name [Hebrews 13:15]."

--Ethelred L. Taunton, priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster, The Little Office of Our Lady: A Treatise Theoretical, Practical, and Exegetical (London: John Bale, Sons & Danielsson, et al: 1903), pp. 4-15 passim.

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