St Vincent de Paul

O send out your light and your truth,
    let them lead me;
Let them bring me to your holy hill,
And to your dwelling places.
                                              Psalm 42 [43]: 3

This is one of a set of two psalms, which, with their refrain (“Hope in God, for again I shall praise him, the help of my countenance and my God” [NASB]) ,were the core of my spiritual life for a large part of my twenties. Despair often settled on me, and I found myself asking “Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why so disquieted within me?” along with the psalmist. “Disquieted” seemed like the perfect adjective to describe my soul a lot of the time. I was grateful for the psalmist’s response to his own soul, and repeated it to mine: “Hope in God…” Honestly, this psalm and a handful of others kept me going when things seemed bleak.

During those years, I was too unsettled to see the direction of the psalm, beyond my soul’s hope, to the hope of the whole world. The psalmist cries out, “O send out your light and your truth, let them lead me,” and so he has. His Light and his Truth came to dwell among us in Jesus. And that holy hill, where God dwells, is also the mount of crucifixion. God is there, too, even as God was there–closer to me than my own soul–during the darkest and most difficult times. It was not for nothing that I encouraged my soul to “hope in God.”

Twenty years ago, I was helped by the psalms; now I am also helped by the saints, those who have followed God’s Light and Truth before me. Today we remember St Vincent de Paul, who devoted his life to helping the poor, and reminds us that “the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the poor with salvation,”and that God’s Light and Truth became poor for our sake, that again we might praise him.

Deo gratias.

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