Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saturday May 29, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 19, full of beautiful words for us to pluck and relish. 

The sublime British writer and theologian C.S. Lewis says this about Psalm 19 and how the ancient Israelite may have appreciated it:

“Law” … must have shone with an extraordinary radiance. Sweeter than honey; or if that metaphor does not suit us who have not such a sweet tooth as all ancient peoples (partly because we have plenty of sugar), let us say like mountain water, like fresh air after a dungeon, like sanity after a nightmare. But, once again, the best image is in a Psalm, the 19th. I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world. Most readers will remember its structure; six verses about Nature, five about the Law, and four of personal prayer.

C.S. Lewis, Reflection on the Psalms

As we pray today with the verses about God’s Law, we may consider each word as a facet of the Holy Spirit’s gifts given at Pentecost and at our Confirmation:

The precepts of the Lord are:

perfect
refreshing
trustworthy
wise
right
joy giving
clear
enlightening
pure
enduring 
true
just
precious
sweet


Meditating on the virtues, wouldn’t we like to fill our days with their peace, beauty, and wisdom?

The writer of Sirach surely wanted to, whose simple and profound prayer is the perfect complement to our psalm.

I thank the LORD and I praise him;
    I bless the name of the LORD.
When I was young and innocent,
    I sought wisdom openly in my prayer
I prayed for her before the temple,
    and I will seek her until the end,
    and she flourished as a grape soon ripe.
My heart delighted in her,
My feet kept to the level path
    because from earliest youth I was familiar with her.

Sirach 51: 12-15

Praying with these readings
may lead us to be awed
by the Spirit’s power in our lives
and open us to
its transformative presence.

Poetry: Psalm 19: XXIX Caeli enarrant – Malcolm Guite

In that still place where earth and heaven meet
Under mysterious starlight, raise your head
and gaze up at their glory: ‘the complete

Consort dancing’ as one poet said
Of his own words. But these are all God’s words

A shining poem, waiting to be read

Afresh in every heart. Now look towards
The bright’ning east, and see the splendid sun
Rise and rejoice, the icon of his Lord’s

True Light. Be joyful with him, watch him run
His course, receive the treasure of his light
Pouring like honeyed gold till day is done.

As sweet and strong as all God’s laws, as right
As all his judgements and as clean and pure,
All given for your growth, and your delight!


Music: Psalm 19 – The Law is Perfect

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