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The prayer that is the exact opposite of evil


Jeffrey Bruno

A local resident says a prayer at the Statue of San Rocco before the procession gets underway.

Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 11/29/22

There’s no prayer more powerful than the prayer of praise.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

“Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.’” 

Let’s face it: There’s no prayer more powerful than the prayer of praise. It’s exactly the opposite of evil. For if evil always puts complaints in our mouths, the Spirit on the other hand always stirs up gratitude in us. It’s a gift of the Spirit, not a character trait. 

We should pray to the point of feeling praise gushing forth in our heart. At that moment evil is completely crushed. There’s no more powerful exorcism than the gratitude that flows from the heart of a man or a woman. If someone were to ask us why we should pray, we might answer like this: We pray that we may learn to foster gratitude and praise within ourselves. 

This is the explanation for the prayers of some people with very heavy crosses on their shoulders whose words, however, are not curses and complaints, but only endless thanksgiving. It’s the clear sign that God is working mysteriously in their hearts.

“Turning to the disciples in private he said, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’”

We almost never think about the fact that we, unlike all those who came before Christ, know how the story turned out, and because of that we have extra help in dealing with life. For this, too, we should be grateful.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

DiscipleshipGospelLiturgyMassPrayerSpiritual Life
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