12 February 2013

A Psalm for Pope Benedict XVI

My spiritual director long ago suggested to me that in praying the Psalms of the Divine Office I might remember a particular person or intention for each Psalm. I form the intention before I read it, so as it happens I usually don't know ahead of time which Psalm is next in the queue.

Today at Lauds one of my intentions was for the Holy Father, that he might be blessed, strengthened, and given the graces he needs. This is the Psalm that followed, so familiar to traditional Catholics:

Psalm 42

42:1 Iúdica me, Deus, et discérne causam meam de gente non sancta, * ab hómine iníquo, et dolóso érue me.

42:2 Quia tu es, Deus, fortitúdo mea: * quare me repulísti? et quare tristis incédo, dum afflígit me inimícus?

42:3 Emítte lucem tuam et veritátem tuam: * ipsa me deduxérunt, et adduxérunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernácula tua.

42:4 Et introíbo ad altáre Dei: * ad Deum, qui lætíficat iuventútem meam.

42:5 Confitébor tibi in cíthara, Deus, Deus meus: * quare tristis es, ánima mea? et quare contúrbas me?

42:6 Spera in Deo, quóniam adhuc confitébor illi: * salutáre vultus mei, et Deus meus.

V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, * et in sǽcula sæculórum. Amen.

The translation:

42:1 Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: * deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.

42:2 For thou art God my strength: * why hast thou cast me off? and why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?

42:3 Send forth thy light and thy truth: * they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles.

42:4 And I will go in to the altar of God: * to God who giveth joy to my youth.

42:5 To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp: * why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me?

42:6 Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: * the salvation of my countenance, and my God.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, * and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

This Psalm, which is a reference to the Christ, may be fittingly applied to His Vicar.


Karen said...

"Pray for me that I may not flee for fear of the wolves."

I think they pursued him and tore at him until he could not longer physically fight them. God bless him.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Karen, God bless our Holy Father Benedict XVI, may the Lord bless him and preserve him, and give him peace, and may the Lord bless our future Pope, who at present remains hidden to us.

“Pray for me that I may not flee for fear of the wolves” But what does that look like? Were these prayers answered? It occurred to me today, what might Joan of Arc have done had she renounced her position? She being one of the brightest saints our Church celebrates ... schools and parishes named in her honor, but I wonder if any of us would have known her had she not endured even unto martyrdom?

Are the stories of the saints, their heroic acts, are these just nice stories in books? Is this where heroism lives, and dies? None of us wants to be martyred or suffer, and none of us can say with any certainty what we would do if given the choice, but what would the saints have to say? “In due season you will reap if you faint not.” Have there not been legions of war-weary saints?

I am concerned. If I were graced with a brief audience with the Holy Father, I would ask ‘how do I explain to my children who are on the cusp of Confirmation, joining in the army of Christ, how do I explain to them the General’s resignation of that same army?’ How would I be answered? It’s easy to hear from the pulpit, or the blog, or the combox ‘ready yourselves for the pending fight! There will be suffering and martyrdom’ but how do I square that? Is the flock not in some way struck now that the shepherd is leaving the field? I consider too Jane Chantal’s earlier comment: “... it surely must be something that has had such impact on him -- is so enormously compelling -- that it would be difficult for the "average" person to get his or her mind around it.” Lord increase my faith.

Understanding that these comments represent an immensely minority view, there will no doubt be those who will call it calloused, incorrectly attributing to it some sadistic insensitivity for the elderly, but few are asking these questions above the din of emotion. To ask such questions when the wound is bleeding is tantamount to responding ‘not today!’ to the throngs chanting ‘Santo Subito’ for BJPII.


Karen said...


Who can know the reality of the Holy Father's position? How can anyone possibly know what things have happened that we have no knowledge of? How can we know if maybe Our Lord has spoken to the Holy Father and instructed him to step down? Not possible?

I am not saying Pope
Benedict is a saint but God can communicate with whomever He wishes. He did communicate with a poor peasant girl from France so why not the Holy Father?

There may be millions of souls over the years who have had some kind of direct communication from God. We cannot know any of this but it certainly remains a possibility, and therefore, I don't think our children necessarily must be told that the general has deserted the ranks.

We need to pray of course and TRUST in the Holy Ghost Who will forever be at the tiller. Even if the Pope did leave without any instruction from God or even against God's wishes, Our Lord can work with anything and make it to His purpose. There is nothing to worry about and please reassure your children of that.

I do not think I am burying my head in the sand; just trying to peacefully and calmly trust that whatever happens, we must be ready to face God with pure hearts and clean souls. That is the most important thing for children preparing for confirmation to know about this event.

Keep our souls in a state of grace and be ready to do whatever God calls us to do.

Please don't take my comments as trying to parent your children. This is just what I would do if my children were still young.