Reflecting the Mind of the Vatican since 1850
The Love of the Lord for the Lowly
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Psalm 136 recalls the Lord’s mercy in the actions of the Creator and the Savior as the sacred psalmist raises a joyful acclamation of praise for the eternal goodness of God. As we listen to the voice of God, our prayer must accompany every meditative path even when we approach biblical texts that are not actually formulas prepared for liturgical recitation. The Sacred Scriptures are only respected when we reverently open our hearts in full obedience to the Word of God so that it can penetrate us deeply as a fruitful seed and transform our consciences, making them merciful. This is the fruit of prayerful listening.

In Psalm 136 the contemplation of God’s benevolent action begins with an emphasis on the greatness of the Creator’s works, starting with the immensity of the heavens (vv. 4-9); it then evokes the great epic of the Exodus where the Lord’s powerful hand brings about victory over the “mighty” kings of the earth (vv. 10-22). The psalm concludes its litany of thanksgiving remembering the gift of the “small” in the daily bread.

One of the most significant elements of our biblical faith is the tension between the Lord’s infinite power – celebrated with an abundance of superlative attributes connected with his Name (“God of gods, Lord of lords” vv.2-3) – and the humble reality of his servant (v.22) on whom divine greatness is bestowed. It is the paradoxical way of our God’s revelation, stimulating our reflective attention and belief.
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© Union of Catholic Asian News 2021