Psalm 8: God’s Handiwork

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 8 which, in keeping with our first reading from Genesis, describes our Creator God in terms we can humanly understand.

I have always thought of these verses as the “Psalm of the Knitting God” who weaves the cloth of Creation to clothe us:

When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars which you set in place—
What are we that you should be mindful of us ,
    or that you should care for us?

Psalm 8:4

As beautiful as its images are, Psalm 8 contains a challenging verse which some, over time, have interpreted to support human domination of all creation:

You have made humans little less than the angels,
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them rule over the works of your hands,
    putting all things under their feet.

Psalm 8:6-7

Elephant Trophy Hunting

The verse has been manipulated to justify an attitude of supremacy rather than unity and cooperation with nature. That misinterpretation supports such activities as uncontrolled extraction mining, land seizure, trophy hunting and many other forms of natural exploitation.

More recent theology has helped to understand our role in Creation in a humbler, truer light, as stated in the introduction to Laudato Sí:

LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.

This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

To prepare for prayer this morning, I reflected on “The Way of Beauty”, Stations of the Cross composed by Gilbert Choondal, SDB, a Salesian Priest of Don Bosco. He holds a PhD in Catechetics and Youth Ministry from the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome. Presently he is the president of the Indian Catechetical Association.
You may find these prayerful reflections helpful, especially as we approach the season of Lent. (You may have to double-click the picture of the Good Shepherd to make the document come up.)

Poetry: Hovering – Joseph Stroud

(for Tom Marshall)
Tom and I are walking Last Chance Road
down from the mountain where we had been
hunting mushrooms under a stand of coast oaks,
walking down and looking out to the Pacific
shimmering in the late fall sun, the light
on the surface like glittering flakes of mica,
when we see a white-tailed kite hovering
in the air, hovering over a green pasture,
hovering over the day, over the two of us,
our very lives hovering as well, there
on the California coast, in the fall, in the sun,
on our way home, with a sack of chanterelles,
with our love for this world, with so much time,
and so little time—all of it—hovering—
and hovering still.

Music: Take Care of the Planet – a delightful reminder from Australia🤗

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s