Friday, October 14, 2005

The Psalms of David -- Psalms 14-15

Psalm 14 asks the LORD who may abide in His tabernacle. Fr Patrick says this means four things:

  • It is “an ethical inquiry by which man seeks to identify the nature of the dark, haunting, and native imperative that stalks his soul.”

  • Its implied eschatology is that “at the base of his soul [man] senses that it would be life’s greatest tragedy if he should, at the end, fail to abide in God’s tabernacle and to rest on His holy mountain.”

  • It is “invariably answered with some kind of command: ‘Believe,’ ‘repent,’ ‘love justice and hate iniquity,’ ‘be baptized,’ ‘sell all you have and give to the poor,’ ‘take up your cross.’ In other words, since God puts the…question into the human heart, it is a justified question that is always answered.”

  • “The same haunting sense that prompts the inquiry also informs the man that he is supposed to scale to the pinnacle, and…we would rightly be suspicious of any response suggesting acquiescence in the aboriginal gravity of our fallen state. ‘Doing what comes naturally’ is scarcely the path to ascent. To ‘go with the flow’ is invariably to go lower.”

  • Psalm 15, then, ties all the commands given to the man who would ascend -- which, by the way, all paint a picture of a man the Fathers say has achieved peace, stillness and immoveable inner silence -- into one particular description (v. 8):

    “I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.”

    May we set Him before the eyes of our hearts through constant meditation and contemplation of His Name. May we be so still at His side that we resist any of our own, sinful, inner reactions to the cares of the world listed in Psalm 14, and rather that we be moved into action from our stillness only by the holy prodding of the Holy Spirit.

    No comments: