I have a friend that is currently on a different spiritual path. She was baptized Catholic but knows very little about it. Recently she is expressing interest and asking me questions. As disrespectful as this question sounds, she is actually struggling with this one concept in particular. She asked if God is “egotistical” because he wants or needs praise all the time. Can you help me explain?
God doesn’t need our praise and doesn’t want it for his own sake. He asks it of us because we have been created for complete and total union with him, and that is accomplished by emptying ourselves of self-interest and disordered self-love and directing that love to God. God doesn’t “hoard” such love like a miser secreting away his money. The Father and the Son empty themselves to each other out of love for each other, and that love between them is the Holy Spirit. So what God is really calling us to do is to imitate himself. As C. S. Lewis once said:
God’s heaven is not a bribe: it offers nothing a mercenary soul can desire. The great summons to heaven is that away from self. This is the ultimate law – the seed dies to live, the bread must be cast upon the waters, if you lose your soul you’ll save it. Perhaps self-conquest will never end; eternal life may mean an eternal dying. It is in this sense that, as there may be pleasures in hell (God shield us from them), there may be something not at all unlike pains in heaven (God grant us soon to taste them) source].