Friday, October 21, 2011
God's Eternal Mercy
I am a little late in posting about the Holy Father's latest catechesis on prayer, but week's is one that should definitely not be missed.
This week Pope Benedict XVI focused on Psalm 136 which is often called the Great Hallel. As the pope points out, it is the psalm traditionally sung at the end of the Passover meal and as such was most likely sung by Jesus and his Apostles at the last Passover before His Passion on that first Holy Thursday evening.
What I loved about the Holy Father's very rich teaching on this psalm is how he explains and shows us that all of Salvation History is in this prayer. Pope Benedict takes us through each section of the prayer and opens it up for us so that we can see so very plainly and clearly that our awesome God's love and mercy do endure forever. No matter what we have done or will do, no matter what we go through in this life, we can be assured of God's love and mercy. When we really stop and prayerfully think about this, it is a source of great hope and comfort.
One of my favorite priests will end his hearing of a person's confession with the antiphon of this psalm. After he absolves you he says "Give thanks and praise to the Lord for He is good..." then he allows the penitent to finish with: "His love and mercy endure forever." (This phrase or a variation of it is found in several psalms) It is a beautiful way to close the Sacrament of Reconciliation sending the person off with a real sense of God's mercy and love, and the desire to "go and sin no more."
There really is nothing I can add to the Holy Father's teaching on this beautiful psalm. Go pray the Great Hallel and then read Pope Benedict XVI's teaching for yourself.
Let us always remember: "God is; God is Good, and His Mercy is Eternal."
Pope Benedict XVI on Psalm 136 (135)
Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.