Meditations on the Psalms, On Some Observances of the Church #6, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

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

Psalm 137

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: for thou hast heard the words of my mouth. I will sing praise to thee in the sight of his angels: I will worship towards thy holy temple, and I will give glory to thy name. For thy mercy, and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy holy name above all. In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me: thou shall multiply strength in my soul. May all the kings of the earth give glory to thee: for they have heard all the words of thy mouth. And let them sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord.

For the Lord is high, and looketh on the low: and the high he knoweth afar off. If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, thou wilt quicken me: and thou hast stretched forth thy hand against the wrath of my enemies: and thy right hand hath saved me. The Lord will repay for me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: O despise not the work of thy hands.

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The Faithful Departed

First Point. The souls in Purgatory are sure of their final salvation. Whatever be the sufferings of Purgatory, the state of the faithful dead must yet be one that causes thankfulness, seeing that they have now been granted the prayer that is most solemn and urgent of all our prayers on earth that for final perseverance. With the Angel Guardians that have brought them safely to the end of their pilgrimage, they can look forwards to the Heavenly City which is now their sure destination, and thank God for the certainty. Perhaps they see more clearly now that it was only his mercy, only his faithfulness, that saved them, for his own glory, from the pains of Hell. Though they can no longer merit, they can still pray, and feel (instead of blindly guessing, as they did on earth) the answer to their prayers. Weak and helpless so far as their own merits are concerned, they know now that, by God’s gracious assistance, they will go on from strength to strength till they appear before him in Sion.

Second Point. They see earthly values in their true light. The outward circumstances of life, which gave to one soul worldly superiority over another, are now torn away; riches, good birth, power, influence, personal attractiveness avail them nothing, and have lost their meaning: the stern lessons of Scripture on these subjects, often read and understood, but in many cases little meditated over and applied, now stand out evident to their view. They are all in one case, travelling together along the road by which God’s Justice leads them to himself, and the thought of his glory now swamps and overshadows all lesser distinctions. Nay, in proportion as poverty, subjection, and misfortune, borne with patience and humility, won them favour with God, they find their lot in that world alleviated: in proportion as they were led to neglect God’s claims and their neighbour’s necessities through the pride of their prosperity, they have to suffer the temporal punishment due to them for their indifference.

Third Point. They suffer, and need our prayers. They go forward, indeed, but by a way of purgation, in which the debts of their earthly life must be paid by suffering; and we must join our prayers with theirs that God will refresh and revive their drooping spirits, and alleviate the pains which are now exacted from them by the sins that have become their tormentors. Not that they could ever pay the full debt; it is our Lord himself who makes satisfaction, by the merits of his Passion, for the heinousness of their guilt. But his mercy does not stop there; he hates nothing that he has made, and will remit something of that most merciful retribution in Purgatory, in answer to the prayers of the friends they have left on earth, till at last his creatures arrive at the destiny for which they were made to know him and to enjoy him for all eternity.

Acts – Prayer for perseverance; contempt of the world’s values; intercession for the faithful departed.

Colloquy with God who holds the issues of our life here and hereafter.