Friday, March 14, 2008

Prayer of a sick person--Psalm 41

There's a line in Psalm 41 that goes like this:

"My enemies whisper together against me. They all weigh up the evil which is on me: 'Some deadly thing has fastened upon him, he will not rise again from where he lies.' Thus even my friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has turned against me."

These words bring to mind the betrayal of Jesus, but what about you today?

Do you ever feel that you are in the grip of something, that "some deadly thing has fastened" upon you? Do you ever feel that you cannot bring yourself out of the cloud that has rested over your head? That your spirit feels dead, as though it will "not rise again?"

Here the Psalmist speaks to the very heaviness of the human heart. Sometimes we get weighed down by our own sins, our own nature, our own character and we don't know how to rise above. Here the Psalmist speaks of the friends bringing about the pain and suffering, turning against the one who pleads. A truly painful experience when your own friends turn against you.

It is in these very moments that we can turn to Jesus in confidence that he will--as Psalm 41 attests--save us from the day of evil, guard us, give us life and make us happy. The Psalm tells us that Jesus will not "give him up to the will of his foes."

Whatever is weighing heavy on you today, be lifted by the words of this Psalm that plead for God's mercy and help. The beautiful Antiphon that comes before this in the Liturgy of the Hours says:

"Lord, lay your healing hand upon me, for I have sinned."

No greater heaviness comes upon us than knowledge of our sinfulness and the destructive impact our sins have upon others. Praying with this Antiphon turns to God in awareness of our sins and begs of his healing hand. This is an excellent prayer for Lent and I pray that it will inspire your trust in God's mercy and forgiveness when you come under the realization of the depth of your own sinfulness.

God bless!

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