Meditations on the Psalms, On The Interior Life #4, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

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

Psalm 26

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? Whilst the wicked draw near against me, to eat my flesh. My enemies that trouble me, have themselves been weakened, and have fallen. If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident. One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple. For he hath hidden me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.

He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies. I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me and hear me. My heart hath said to thee: My face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek. Turn not away thy face from me; decline not in thy wrath from thy servant. Be thou my helper, forsake me not; do not thou despise me, O God my Saviour. For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up.

Set me, O Lord, a law in thy way, and guide me in the right path, because of my enemies. Deliver me not over to the will of them that trouble me; for unjust witnesses have risen up against me; and iniquity hath lied to itself. I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living. Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.

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The Hidden Life Is the Christian’s Strength

First Point. Security of conscience arises from trust in God. The Lord is my light; it is by his illumination that I judge and am judged; I need not be afraid of any secret machinations while the rays of this Sun make my path plain. He is my salvation; it is not any deeds of mine, but his merciful Redemption that gives me leave to hope. He is the protector or coverer of my life; his out-stretched Hand shields me from the world’s rebukes. Hence, when my fleshly enemies assail me with criticism, or the Devil (who by his very name is a False Accuser) tempts me to despair by the thought of my own sins, their efforts are unavailing. Even when it seems as if a camp, or fortified line, were drawn across my path of spiritual progress, I can confidently attack it; and, if my enemies take the offensive, this fact (i.e. the fact that I am responsible to God only) will give me strength to resist.

Second Point. Therefore, in order to seek strength, I must develop the interior life. Only one thing I ask of God, not that I may have no temptations, not that I may have no detractors, but that I may enjoy an interior intimacy with him; that my appetite may be for the pleasures he only gives, and my refuge in trouble the sanctuary of his presence. The seclusion of interior prayer is a curtain or tent which at once makes me feel closer to him, and enables me to forget and disregard any attack from without; just as a roof, however poor, gives a man comfort in a storm, while the very raging of the storm without makes him feel more intimate with his companions inside. Or I may think of prayer as a plateau of rock, on which a man escaping from his enemies is concealed, because the level of it is above their heads so the interior life is unassailable, because it is beyond the reach of earthly minds. For this interior fastness I can never cease to thank and praise God, whose promises afford me such shelter.

Third Point. Diligence and patience needed for this intercourse with God. As a man’s face continually turns to look for something he is expecting, or towards some special object of his affections, so the regard of the soul must continually be towards God in attention, when his Face shines upon us, in aspiration, when he hides it, as he sometimes will. Only let us not deserve that through any fault of our own he should hide it in displeasure. He will not abandon us, unless he is first abandoned: we may lose the love of our closest friends without our fault, but not God’s love. We must seek his face “as the eyes of servants wait on the hand of their masters” looking anxiously for any sign of what his will is for us; we must be sure of his approbation if we are to avoid being filled with fears and scruples by consideration for human criticism. Further, we must believe that he is able to reward us, even in this life, with spiritual privileges: if they seem to be denied us, we must wait patiently, and fight on bravely in the dark, looking for his own good time in which he will turn and reward us.

Acts – Confidence, desire for God, patience to attend on his will.

Colloquy ask for intimate communion with God, hidden from the world’s distractions.