This week I made it as far as the next psalm, Psalm 9. At this rate, it will take me a couple of years to make it through the Psalms. Actually, that does not seem to be a problem at all. Each psalm is so rich that a week to consider it is well within reason. I am really enjoying the opportunity to work my way through the Psalms. Psalm 9 turns away from the themes of the first eight psalms and turns toward praising God -- for an entire litany of things: protection against enemies, support, righteous judgment & justice, wonders, help, succor for the oppressed, never being forsaken, and "a stronghold in times of trouble," among others.
Reading: Psalm 9
Meditation: Reading through David's list of reasons to praise God makes one realize how little the world has changed in all this passage of an incredible number of years and centuries. We still look to God for help in time of trouble, and He does not forsake us. We still need Him to protect us against our enemies, and He does not fail us. We still look to Him for justice and righteous judgment, and He does not disappoint us. We still look for Him for succor when we are oppressed, and He does not deny us a deep emotional relief. And still today we wonder at His wonders. How often, though, do we remember to praise Him for all these things?
I have upon occasion noticed in our prayer group that we tend to have an imbalance in our prayer mixture. Prayers of petition come easily; oh, we have quite a list of petitions. We actually do not do too poorly at identifying our own failings, regrets, and things for which we truly repent. We have, over the few years we have been together, seen wonders in the ways in which prayers have been answered, people have been helped, and even life-threatening medical (and financial) problems have been overcome -- and for these, it has been easy to express our gratitude. When it comes to praise, however, we sometimes forget and sometimes simply lack the words. I don't know why that is, but in talking to others, I realize that we are not alone. We need David's enthusiasm in praising God for everything that David lists and more and more and more. We need David's words and more words. I wonder if David felt at times that he did not have all the words he needed to express the kinds of praise God deserves to hear from us. Praise the Lord! We say it so often in passing to each other. Maybe we need to say it more often to God.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I must retire to private prayer and this week, this time, I believe I shall spend it entirely in praising God, praising that is overdue. Then I will spend as much time as I can in contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves, something for which I should -- and will -- express greater gratitude and praise.
I will leave you to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I hope you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.