Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Pope Benedict XVI was fond of calling the psalms a “school of prayer.” Indeed, we can learn much about how to pray from them. We are privileged today with a simple yet striking psalm. In very short phrases, the psalmist recounts who God has been for him and what he needs from God. In this way, it is a model of prayer.
It begins with the affirmation of God as “refuge.” The word conjures how trouble is overcome by God’s loving care. Can we call God our refuge in our worries, our hardships, and our sadness? Then we too can say, “For you are my hope, O Lord.” Later the psalmist intimately prays, “from my mother’s womb you are my strength.” Insofar as we are able today, let us pray from the heart, as we trust in God as our saving refuge and our strength.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.