Meditations on the Psalms, On The Interior Life #20, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

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

Psalm 65

Shout with joy to God, all the earth, Sing ye a psalm to his name; give glory to his praise. Say unto God, How terrible are thy works, O Lord! in the multitude of thy strength thy enemies shall lie to thee. Let all the earth adore thee, and sing to thee: let it sing a psalm to thy name. Come and see the works of God; who is terrible in his counsels over the sons of men.

Who turneth the sea into dry land, in the river they shall pass on foot: there shall we rejoice in him. Who by his power ruleth for ever: his eyes behold the nations; let not them that provoke him be exalted in themselves. O bless our God, ye Gentiles: and make the voice of his praise to be heard. Who hath set my soul to live: and hath not suffered my feet to be moved: For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us by fire, as silver is tried.

Thou hast brought us into a net, thou hast laid afflictions on our back: Thou hast set men over our heads. We have passed through fire and water, and thou hast brought us out into a refreshment. I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips have uttered, And my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. I will offer up to thee holocausts full of marrow, with burnt offerings of rams: I will offer to thee bullocks with goats.

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what great things he hath done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth: and I extolled him with my tongue. If I have looked at iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Therefore hath God heard me, and hath attended to the voice of my supplication. Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

• • •

Thanksgiving for a Spiritual Deliverance

First Point. God is the absolute Master of his creatures. May the song of gratitude that now fills my heart be united with the whole chorus of praise that goes up to God continually from his creatures! His works, even in Nature around me, are such as to fill me with awe; it is only because of the vastness of his unchanging, unhurrying design that sinners are led to forget him and neglect him in their lives. But, where the ungodly sees nothing but blind force and purposeless wealth of detail, the devout soul recognises that everything in the world contributes finally to the praise of God. There is the same leisureliness and the same mystery in his dealings with men; yet, to the eye of faith, his chastisements, however terrible, are still a revelation of his purpose. The terrible waves of persecution and distress are seen to be merely the probation through which he makes a way for his redeemed to walk by. His arm is not shortened, even where men try to live without him and offend him by their neglect; sooner or later, the pride of his enemies is shewn to be ill-grounded.

Second Point. God has shown his mastery in my own life. As he deals with continents or with nations, so with souls; would that all men might share the revelation he has given me of his Providence. My scruples told me that I was marked down for eternal damnation; my fears almost persuaded me that I should never again feel solid ground under my feet. And yet in all this he did but try me and prove me, like the silver which is all the more precious for its refining in the fire till it reflects its maker’s image perfectly. That I might learn to distrust myself, he let me feel myself clogged down by the claims of my corrupt nature; he gave me mortifications, interior and exterior, which seemed as if they must break my spirit; he allowed me to be misjudged and despised by my superiors and my fellows. My soul fought for breath, as if suffocated by the waters that ran over me, or pined for healing moisture amidst the spiritual drought that parched me. And behold! he has brought me out into a place of refreshment, where flood and desert are at an end, where I can breathe freely again and feel his cool winds fan me.

Third Point. This deliverance should inspire me with greater fidelity. May he enlighten my ungrateful heart, so that I may signalize this deliverance by the strict fulfillment of the vows and aspirations I made to him in the time of my trouble, promising to devote my whole self to him! There shall be no reserves, no keeping back for myself of certain cherished immortifications, no distinction between what I will and what I will not sacrifice for him. The Saints in heaven are witnesses of my deliverance, they are witnesses also of the prayers that preceded it. If I relapse again into inconsistency and half-measures, can I expect to be heard again in time of tribulation? If God has listened to me at this time, it has been in order that he might find me more faithful to himself; blessed be his name, who has so often seen me worthy of reprobation and banishment from himself, yet still bears with me, relieves my afflictions, and encompasses me with his mercy.

Acts – Gratitude, resignation to God’s will, renewal of resolutions.

Colloquy with the divine Artificer who tempers us with the fires of tribulation.