The malice of sinners and God?s goodness
No follower of mine wanders in the dark; he shall have the light of life (John 8:12).
Sin speaks to the sinner *
in the depths of his heart.
There is no fear of God *
before his eyes.
He so flatters himself in his mind *
that he knows not his guilt.
In his mouth are mischief and deceit. *
All wisdom is gone.
He plots the defeat of goodness *
as he lies on his bed.
He has set his foot on evil ways, *
he clings to what is evil.
[I can’t help but think of how relevant this is to our times. As Scott Hahn once said, the problem today when sharing with others the saving grace of our Lord, is that many no longer believe they have any need to be saved. More frightening is that our people have freely elected leaders that Psalm 36 describes – some more than once.]
Your love, Lord, reaches to heaven; *
your truth to the skies.
Your justice is like God?s mountain, *
your judgments like the deep.
To both man and beast you give protection. *
O Lord, how precious is your love.
My God, the sons of men *
find refuge in the shelter of your wings.
They feast on the riches of your house; *
they drink from the stream of your delight.
In you is the source of life *
and in your light we see light.
Keep on loving those who know you, *
doing justice for upright hearts.
Let the foot of the proud not crush me *
nor the hand of the wicked cast me out.
See how the evil-doers fall! *
Flung down, they shall never arise.
[But I am leery of identifying too easily with the Psalm writer. I, too, can rationalize or minimize the sins of which I’m most fond. If we Dominicans are to effectively preach to others, we must always examine ourselves and continually repent, lest we become hippocrits. Psalm 51 tells us that we must be restored to salvation and THEN teach transgressors God’s ways.]
Psalms 51: 3 – 4, 12 – 13
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.
12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.
[It is my personal belief that in our times, most leaders of democratic nations, in order to gain and retain power, follow the masses, rather than lead the people. Their opinions are formed by polls rather than principle.
It follows then, that if we are to change national policy on life issues; if we are to build a just society that respects the dignity of all; if we wish to foster an economy that serves the poor, rather than incites greed; then we must become prophets of our time, just as Jonah did for Nin’even. Note that Jonah preached to the people first. Only then did the King repent of his ways.]
4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he cried, “Yet forty days, and Nin’eveh shall be overthrown!”
5 And the people of Nin’eveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
6 Then tidings reached the king of Nin’eveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
From St Ephrem: “When the Lord commanded us to be vigilant, he meant vigilance in both parts of man: in the body, against the tendency to sleep; in the soul, against lethargy and timidity. As Scripture says: Wake up, you just, and I have risen, and am still with you; and again, Do not lose heart.”
What are your prayerful thoughts?
Steve Graves, O.P.
Director of Formation