Meditations on the Psalms, On Some Observances of the Church #3, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

cover of the ebook 'Meditations on the Psalms, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox'

Psalm 23

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the world, and all they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas; and hath prepared it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord: or who shall stand in his holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbour. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour.

This is the generation of them that seek him, of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in. Who is this King of Glory? the Lord who is strong and mighty: the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in. Who is this King of Glory? the Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.

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The Ascension

First Point. Creation, and man as part of creation, belong to God. The artist, who has given new form to a piece of matter, speaks of his work; the father, who has endowed his son with physical life, but not with his soul, speaks of his son; the proprietor of lands which, sooner or later, will pass from him to another, speaks of his lands. But in the full and proper sense nothing “belongs” except to God, the Artist who made both form and matter, the Father who gave us both physical and spiritual life, the King to whom the highest on earth must do fealty, as holding their possessions from him. God, as the original of all things, is their absolute possessor. But more; he has founded his creation “in the seas,” prepared it upon the rivers: that is, all that exists besides himself would, but for his continual act of conservation, perish and decay in a moment like a house built on a bog or a quicksand. He is, there fore, absolute Lord of all things not merely by the fact of their origin, but by the fact of their daily continuance.

Second Point. Hence the right use of the material creation is that which God enjoins on us, to rise above it. This inferior creation, of which man” has been given the mastery, has only been lent to him by God, and on one condition that he should aspire to rise above it; the end of man is to attain to the vision of God and enjoy it eternally. Nature would have us revenge injuries, acquire goods unjustly, and so on; or at least resent what we cannot revenge, covet what we cannot acquire: our eternal destiny requires of us that we should not merely avoid the sinful act, but purify our hearts from the bad intention. Nature encourages us to make light of the eternal issue that lies before our souls; grace bids us make this our first care. Nature bids us keep on the right side of human opinion and respect; God, who sees the heart, demands inward truth. Thus the bestowal of God’s blessings, nay, even the remission of the punishments we so justly deserve, depend on the measure in which our hearts rise above the gift to the Giver, and dwell in heavenly places.

Third Point. Christ, our Head, by his Ascension into Heaven, has prepared the way to lead our souls upwards. Christ storms the gates of heaven, bringing with Him the Sacred Humanity the spoils He has rescued from a corrupt Nature and a fallen world. The Angels fall back and make room for a created Soul to pass into the bosom of the Godhead. He comes as Victor over hell and death; in the seeming defeat of His Passion and the triumph of his Resurrection He has won for us, His faithful soldiers, the grace which will enable us to follow Him. We have still to fight on earth the battles of the Lord of Hosts, but the conquest is already achieved, and the centre of our affections has passed already from this treacherous world to the heavenly mansions He has prepared for us.

Acts – Dependence upon God; aspiration to wards Heaven; thanksgiving and praise for the glories of the Ascension.

Colloquy with Christ as our Captain who has gone before us.