Psalm 71: From My Youth ’til Now

Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June 6, 2020

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Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 71.

Psalm 71_16

This is the psalm of someone who has loved God all their lives. Theirs is a proven love, a long faithfulness.

O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.


As we look back over our own lives in humility and gratitude, we might speak a similar prayer.

Some of us have been blessed with an early faith that has illuminated every page of our life story. Some of us have come by it a little harder, or a little later, or with frequent clouds around our light.

But we are still here praying, aren’t we – still reaching, like the psalmist, for God’s steadying hand.

My mouth shall be filled with your praise,
with your glory day by day.
Cast me not off in my old age;
as my strength fails, forsake me not.


The psalmist’s enduring relationship with God is rooted in this understanding: that every moment of our lives reveals the face of a just and merciful God. Our part is to believe and trust enough to discover that Face and reveal it to others.

But I will always hope
and praise you ever more and more.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.


king harpThe psalmist promises to witness to God’s faithfulness by singing with the lyre. In his letter today, Paul charges Timothy to do the same thing (sans lyre):

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient …


In our Gospel, Jesus says that the proclamation of our faith must be sincere, generous, and humble, never used to politicize and advance our stature over others, or as a tool for our personal aggrandizement:

scribeBeware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext,
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.

 


Oh, so many modern applications come to mind regarding this advice! But, for today, let’s just examine our own hearts.

Music: Psalm 71 – Jason Silver


Poetry: For Light
 by John O’Donohue

Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.

In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.

That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.

That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.

When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.

That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.

When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.

When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.

When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.

As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.

And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The color and stillness
Of a found word.

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