St Antony Mary Claret

I have cried to you, God, because you will listen;
   turn your ear to me and listen to my words.
Pour out your kindness till men are astonished,
   you, who keep safe from attack
   all who trust in your strength.
                                           Psalm 17
 
 
I was so struck by this pair of verses from one of the psalms of the day that I have deviated from my usual practice of reflecting on the Mass readings (especially the psalm). ‘I have cried to you, God, because you will listen.’ The psalmist is out of options, it seems. Nobody else will listen. It reminds me of the verse from Psalm 27: even though father and mother have abandoned me, the Lord will take me up. God is the last, best hope, the One who will always listen, and never abandon us.
 
What the psalmist asks of God is equally striking, I think. ‘Pour out your kindness till men are astonished.’ (I admit this may not be the most accurate translation, but stay with me.) It makes me think of unlikely, seemingly impossible, flourishing: those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. I love the evangelistic flavor of the verse, too. It is not only for myself that I ask, but for others: the others who hope in God, and the others who do not yet hope in God.
 
Once again, I find the old wisdom rings true: it’s not about what we do, it’s about what we allow God to do in and through us. What does God ask of us? ‘Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, /and pay your vows to the most high;/ and call upon me in the day of trouble;/ I shall rescue you, and you will honor me’ (Psalm 50 [49]: 14-15). Cry to the Lord, because he will listen.
 
Deo gratias.
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