Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Meditation on Psalm 90

Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart. (Psalm 90:12)

“In the troubles and distractions of our earthly life, there is one thought that should be constantly near, either to console or to control us—the eternity of God. His existence, itself altogether outside of and unconditioned by time, recedes infinitely (in our human mode of calculation) into the past and into the future. To let the imagination feed on this truth has, at first, the effect of altogether crushing our spirits and frightening us away; this is not the effect God intends. If we will think of the meaning of our life in the light of eternity, it will be a sure way to conversion of the heart. With him, a thousand years are as one day, a mere brief episode: nay, time itself is lost in an eternal Now. In His sight a human life is simply the turn of a watchman at his post; maturity follows upon youth, and decay upon maturity so soon, that the brief time of man’s probation loses all value and colour of its own, and is seen merely as a preparation for eternity.

...And that preparation—how miserably used! How little we should shrink from God’s chastisements in time, if we could always remember that he has our eternal destiny in view! Our sins, even when we ourselves are unconscious of their weight, lie open and naked in his sight; our worldliness is seen in its true colours in that infallible Light in which God sees the hearts of men. Our allotted days slip away from us almost unnoticed; almost unnoticed, too, the offences against God which mount up as our life goes on: are declining years to bring a better mind? Or are we to risk an eternity of God’s displeasure? And that in exchange for something as frail and unsubstantial as a spider’s web,—the enjoyment of our brief human existence; seventy or eighty years, perhaps, and how many of them darkened by infirmities, miseries, anxieties, and despairs? God’s mercy inflicts these upon us, precisely lest we should forget, in unchequered happiness, the small worth of our life here. Otherwise, so weak are we, it would be hard for us to keep in mind the claims God has upon us, and avert his anger by the constant exercise of holy fear. O may His hand never cease to visit us with chastisement, until we have learned that divine wisdom which consists in a proper disposition of our hearts towards him!

...How long will it be before God will give us grace to live simply for his service? Would that this very morning might see the dawn in our souls of that heavenly illumination, which alone can bring true happiness ... We are creatures of his hand, bound to him by an infinite debt of service; may he teach us, then, to direct all our works to the sole intention of his glory: may the consciousness of his enlightening presence be with us continually, so that, as far as possible, no moment of our transitory lives may be wasted by being spent on occupations which we cannot devote to his honour.”
~Ronald Knox

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