Meditations on the Psalms, On The Interior Life #6, by Monsignor Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

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

Psalm 42

Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. For thou art God my strength: why hast thou cast me off? and why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me? Send forth thy light and thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. And I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth. To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp: why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me?

Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.

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Temptations to Worldliness

First Point. The world claims over us a false right of parentage, from which we must be emancipated. We have recourse to God as our Judge and our Patron, appealing to him to give sentence against the claim of the world, which would make of us its children and its citizens, whereas we know that by baptism we have become children of grace and members of a royal nation. Yet the world is full of plausible excuses, constantly appealing to our corrupt nature as if that were our true self. At times this claim is so insistent that we feel as if God had cut us off from our inheritance, although he himself is the very witness on whom we rely. How can this be? It may be as a punishment for some infidelity to grace, for which we should implore his pardon: it may be only to test our loyalty: in either case, with whatever heaviness of heart, we must go forward (incedo), never yielding an inch to the importunacy of our adversary.

Second Point. To this end, we must pray to be allowed to see the world and our souls in a divine light. Let us then earnestly contemplate the truths our holy Religion reveals to us: our fallen state, the price paid for our ransom, the destiny, heaven or hell, that lies before us. Let us ask for light to see ourselves as we are creatures made out of nothing, helpless in our own strength, half-hearted in our desire for perfection: to see God as he is, infinitely holy, possessing all rights over us as our Creator and our Father. Thus we shall be brought to the foot of his holy hill the mountain of perfection, up the slopes of which we must strive painfully, though it be a Calvary: God’s truth will still keep our faces set forward, his light still illuminate our path. But we shall also be brought to his tabernacles, his meeting-place with men on their pilgrimage to a growing intimacy with him, as the truth makes us more sure of his presence, and the light shews us something of its beauty.

Third Point. Meanwhile we have no reason to be discouraged, so long as we offer ourselves generously. In the outer court of the tabernacle stood the altar for whole burnt-offerings. And we, if we are to enter his tabernacles, must first offer ourselves to him without reserve. It is from him that we derive our existence itself, and all the happiness we enjoy; it is but his right that we should offer it back to him. So, whether in heaviness or in gladness, every mood of ours will be turned into a melody in his honour: we will not allow the persistence of temptations to distract or disquiet us in his service. There could be no Christian virtue of hope, if God did not test even his chosen with darkness and difficulties. Thanks to his infinite mercies, I need never blush to appear before Him, who, however weak my efforts and however low my state of prayer, is not ashamed to be called my God.

Acts – Protestation of fidelity to God’s service: unconditional offering of self: resolve of perseverance.

Colloquy with God as the Patron who vindicates us to himself.