Lord, open my lips – and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
With these words from the Divine Office, the Church begins each day’s prayer. It is the Lord who opens our lips so that we may proclaim his praise. One even makes a little Sign of the Cross over one’s lips, sanctifying them, a gesture remeniscent of the smoldering coal that purified Isaiah’s lips.
It is the Lord who opens our lips: God created us to Know Him, Love Him and Serve Him. He created us to be in relationship with himself, and to elevate us above the merely natural to partake of his divine nature. We humans talk a lot. About the weather, about the latest triumph or failure of our favorite sports team, about the operation I am about to undergo, about what to have for dinner, about the latest scientific discoveries, about the best choice of college, etc. We talk about trivialities and things of great import. But we must also speak of God. Indeed, He is the most important thing we can speak of, for we were created by him and for him, in him is our origin and destination. So when we choose (either individually or corporately) to be silent in regard to God, or claim (as atheists do) that there’s nothing to talk about, we are closing the door to our own eternal and transcendent destiny.
And we must declare his praise: We must speak of him, who he is and what he has done. But to do this we must tap into our own store of knowledge and experience. Authentic praise can only flow forth from hearts bursting with love for He-Who-Is and wonder in his majesty . Are our hearts empty in this regard? Do we know little or nothing about him? Then it is time to learn.