Meditations on the Psalms, On The Interior Life #13, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

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

Psalm 131

O Lord, remember David, and all his meekness. How he swore to the Lord, he vowed a vow to the God of Jacob: If I shall enter into the tabernacle of my house: if I shall go up into the bed wherein I lie: If I shall give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids, Or rest to my temples: until I find out a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.

Behold we have heard of it in Ephrata: we have found it in the fields of the wood. We will go into his tabernacle: We will adore in the place where his feet stood. Arise, O Lord, into thy resting place: thou and the ark, which thou hast sanctified. Let thy priests be clothed with justice: and let thy saints rejoice. For thy servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of thy anointed.

The Lord hath sworn truth to David, and he will not make it void: of the fruit of thy womb I will set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep thy covenant, and these my testimonies which I shall teach them: Their children also for evermore shall sit upon thy throne. For the Lord hath chosen Sion: he hath chosen it for his dwelling. This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it. Blessing, I will bless her widow: I will satisfy her poor with bread.

I will clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall rejoice with exceeding great joy. There will I bring forth a horn to David: I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with confusion: but upon him will my sanctification flourish.

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Maintenance of the Spirit of an Institute

First Point. Where we are slack about the obligations of our state, the memory of our human founder should fill us with confusion. We appeal to God to hear our prayers through the cherished memory of our founder; let us remind ourselves, in doing so, how far we have fallen short of our model. Our institute was founded in great meekness of obedience and of mutual forbearance; how often have we given scandal by self-will and self-seeking! It was founded in heroic labours, which admitted of no rest in body or mind, and involved sleepless nights of anxiety or of prayer; how poor is our record of watchfulness, of industry, of mortification, when judged by that human standard! It was a work of such toil to found our institute, to enshrine in human observance the cult of this particular mystery or grace; are we to neglect the easier task of perpetuating it? The plan was first conceived, the life was first started, in rough, primitive surroundings, a Subiaco or a Manresa, and from small beginnings; every chance, then, seemed to be against it: now it has expressed itself solidly in elaborate buildings, smoothly-running organization, crowded churches etc.: shall we not, thus privileged, follow lovingly in the footsteps already marked out for us?

Second Point. Yet our trust must be in God, not in ourselves. It was for God that this Institute was founded, that his Name might rest here, honoured and adored by us; that he might dwell among us as in his temple through our common sanctification. Let us then, pleading on our own behalf the prayers of our founder, whether on earth or in heaven, implore all the graces our Saviour won for us by his Passion; that our directors and all those in authority over us may be guided rightly, and their subjects be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit. We need not be afraid; by the mere fact that he raised up our first founders, God has shewn it to be his will that our work should continue and flourish through the centuries; so long at least as we are honestly resolved to remain true to our spirit, and to correspond readily with every indication God gives of his purpose for us. And though we confess ourselves inferior to our fathers in our degree of holiness, for their sakes he will not allow their successors to die out.

Third Point. It is for God’s sake, not for ours, that the Institute exists. God, although he does not dwell in temples made with hands, does nevertheless single out certain places and certain institutions for the manifesting of his glory. Here, then, by his special favour, he dwells for ever; we are only his tenants for the brief lease of our lives. We renounce earthly ties and pleasures that we may be wedded to him; we renounce earthly goods that all our sufficiency may be of him; our priests minister to us only as his stewards; our happiness must all come from him and be devoted to him. We are here to reflect our founder’s spirit; and what was that but a tiny lamp kindled from the furnace of our Saviour’s love? All that we do, then, must be from God, in God, to God. So long as we are bent on that, we need not allow ourselves to be disturbed either by the criticisms of our detractors or by scruples about our own spiritual state.

Acts – Gratitude for our common blessings, confidence in our vocation, self-abandonment to God’s service.

Colloquy with God enthroned in the rules of our order.