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

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

Psalm 147

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: praise thy God, O Sion. Because he hath strengthened the bolts of thy gates, he hath blessed thy children within thee. Who hath placed peace in thy borders: and filleth thee with the fat of corn. Who sendeth forth his speech to the earth: his word runneth swiftly. Who giveth snow like wool: scattereth mists like ashes.

He sendeth his crystal like morsels: who shall stand before the face of his cold? He shall send out his word, and shall melt them: his wind shall blow, and the waters shall run. Who declareth his word to Jacob: his justices and his judgments to Israel. He hath not done in like manner to every nation: and his judgments he hath not made manifest to them. Alleluia.

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The Blessed Sacrament

First Point. The Sacrament of Peace. The Church, in her manifold unity and in the interdependence of all her members, is compared to a city Jerusalem, the city of Peace. By God’s ordinance, the bars of her gates are made fast: her Sacraments are ordained for her own children, and loyalty to her is the prerequisite for participation in them; the Communion of the Church, precisely because it is marked off by signs and tests, is a real spiritual bond between the faithful. Within that Communion, God has promised us special blessings, but these are, first and foremost, social blessings; for the receiving of them we need, and by the receiving of them we increase, that grace of charity which is the bond of peace between Christian people. And as the basis of civic harmony is the participation of all in the means of life, so the basis of our Christian harmony is the Bread that is given us from heaven, the Body and Blood of Christ received in the Eucharist: the Church is his mystical Body, and it is by the sacramental partaking of his human Body that she becomes ever more closely incorporated with him.

Second Point. The Sacrament of Life. For our sakes, the Word of God was made Flesh; and as, at the first touch of spring, the winter snows begin to thaw and the frost to relax its grip, so in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ the chains of sin that bound us fell away, and the paralysis of our human nature, powerless for good, gave plaice to fullness of life and spiritual energy. Yet, through our own refusals of grace, we have again and again withdrawn ourselves from the genial warmth of grace, grown hard and inert under the chilling influence of sin. Thanks be to God for the word of absolution that has freed and softened our hearts once more; once more the Holy Spirit makes his temple in us, and from the temple flow streams of living water grace that irrigates our hardened souls and fertilizes them anew. Now is the time to sow in our hearts the heavenly Grain that will spring up in us and bring forth the fruit of justice what other Grain than the divine principle of supernatural life which is imparted to us in Holy Communion?

Third Point. The Sacrament of Love. But the Sacrament is more than this; like the ladder of Jacob that reached from earth to heaven, it is the actual meeting-place of God’s chosen people with himself. To the heathen he gave the instinct of offering sacrifice and of desiring sacramental union, with no means, as yet, of satisfying it. To the Jews he gave temporary ordinances that were the types of sacraments to come, yet were in themselves unavailing. What other nation is there, then, so great as the Christian nation, that has its God drawing near to it? With what grateful love ought we to acknowledge this supreme privilege, of seeing him, who will one day sit in judgment on the whole of mankind, truly present on our altars, at once concealed and revealed under earthly forms, and throned in the monstrance! The two great tests of love are readiness for sacrifice and desire for intimacy; and behold! He who was sacrificed for our sins here vouchsafes to make himself known to us, delighting to be with the sons of men.

Acts: Charity towards all men, loyalty to the Church, desire for mo re abundant life, love and gratitude to the Saviour who thus invites our intimacy.

Colloquy with Jesus as our King, our Life, and our Friend.