Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 139, a familiar and powerful favorite for many of us.

As a whole, the psalm conveys an assurance that God is everywhere, caring for and directing our lives toward good.

Still, the psalmist paints the picture of a treacherous journey to that assurance, a journey through various levels of darkness:

the darkness of the womb:

You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.


the darkness of life’s “secrets”

LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
You sift through my travels and my rest;
with all my ways you are familiar.

139: 1-3

the darkness of people who make evil choices:

Do I not hate, LORD, those who hate you?
Those who rise against you, do I not loathe?
With fierce hatred I hate them,
enemies I count as my own.

139: 21-22

the darkness within the one who prays

Probe me, God, know my heart;
try me, know my thoughts.
See if there is a wicked path in me;
lead me along an ancient path.

139: 23-24

Even though we try – and often succeed – to live in God’s Light, as long as we live in this world we will be besieged by darkness. It is simply part of being human. The darkness can come to us, as it did to the psalmist, in many forms:

doubt, fear, sin, illness, loneliness, addiction, mental anguish, poverty, hunger, death and bereavement 

The triumphant core of Psalm 139 is the faith-filled assertion that God is greater than any darkness. God is always Light.

If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me,
and night shall be my light”, –
Darkness is not dark for you,
and night shines as the day.
Darkness and light are but one.

139: 11-12

Like the psalmist, we may struggle at times to find God in our shaded experiences. But God has, from the beginning and forever, already found us.

Behind and before you encircle me
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
far too lofty for me to reach

139: 5-6

Prose: Pope Benedict XVI on the Trinity

God is love and only love, 
most pure, infinite and eternal love. 
The Trinity does not live in a splendid solitude, 
but is rather the inexhaustible font of life 
that unceasingly gives itself and communicates itself….
The “name” of the Most Holy Trinity is in a certain way 
impressed upon everything that exists, 
because everything that exists, 
down to the least particle, 
is a being in relation, 
and thus God-relation shines forth, 
ultimately creative Love shines forth…. 
The strongest proof that we are made 
in the image of the Trinity is this: 
only love makes us happy, 
because we live in relation, 
and we live to love and be loved.

Address at The Angelus, June 7, 2009

Music: The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel 

Hello, Darkness, my old friend …

2 thoughts on “Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

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