Divine splendor and human frailty

People often worry about how long they will live on this earth. We take care of our health in many ordinary and extraordinary ways.

09/11/2021


By Msgr. James Gnanapiragasam

People often worry about how long they will live on this earth. We take care of our health in many ordinary and extraordinary ways. We can even become overly immersed in the many personal health issues that could affect our dealings and conversations with others, especially those who are closest to us. We are constantly aware that one day everything will come to an end. As the poet says: “Therefore send so as not to know for whom the bell is ringing; it pays tribute to you. ”This poem, No Man is an Iceland, shows how we are all part of the universe and that we are not alone. We are influenced by our fellow human beings. When a friend dies, it affects us and even “belittles” us.

Many philosophers have tried to explain the absurdity of life in this world. The psalm, which we are about to read, speaks in a way about this aspect of our human existence. As a man of faith, however, the psalmist writes a meaningful poem that shows the amazing contrast between the great God and our puny life.

Psalms of supplication (4) Psalms 89 (90) Week 4 Monday morning prayers

The psalm is a communal lament that is neatly divided into two parts, verses 1-10 and 11-17. The first speaks of the eternity and greatness of God, while the second part expresses the weakness and fragility of man before God. God was a refuge and a fortress for man from the beginning because He was there from the beginning. The native language is used for both the mountains and the earth. God is said to have given birth to them. In ancient times, the mountains were considered the abode of the gods. God is even greater than these gods because he is eternal, without beginning or end.

Verses 3-6 speak of God telling man (enosh = man in his frailty) to return to the dust from which he was created. Human life, however long it may be, can only be part of the night watch in God’s eyes, or a dream that is quickly forgotten when waking up, or beautiful green grass and flowers that simply wither in the evening. Verses 7-10 highlight the reason our life ends like a sigh. We have drawn the wrath of God because of our sins and mistakes. He puts an end to our days that were empty and without joy because we forgot God.

The composition of verses 11-17 is a masterful stroke of genius, in which the author creates a language of contrast to the preceding verses. The lament switches from the idea of ​​mortality to human misery. The psalmist first asks for wisdom to understand himself so that he can understand the wrath of God. The opposites are played out accordingly: Verse 13 “Lord, let yourself go”, that is to say “return” to us, is in contrast to verse 3 “Go back”, that is to say “return” to dust. Verse 14 “Fill us with your love in the morning” contrasts with verses 5-6, where the grass and flowers that bloom in the morning wither in the evening. “Rejoice in all our days” of verse 14 contrasts with verse 9 “All our days pass …” And so the psalmist calls for a balance of joy in his life, just as he has endured sadness and pain. Thus the psalm ends with a trusting prayer to God to bless the work that fulfills our human endeavors in this world.

Christ admonished us not to base everything on earthly values ​​or “build bigger barns”, Lk 12:18. He urged people to be “poor in spirit”. He even asked a potential successor to sell everything and give to the poor and then come back to follow him. The Sermon on the Mount insists that God is aware of what is going on in our lives. He can never be absent.

In our own prayer we can see our frailty and fragility. We must have the confident hope that God is present in our weaknesses. God is angry with Satan, not the sinner for whom his son has already won the victory. We can meditate on grace and freedom in our life. Perhaps it is sometimes helpful to begin our prayer with a focus on our sinfulness and to be filled with hope for his boundless love and forgiveness.

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