The human condition, my condition… When I can forget myself, all is well, I live for the Other, grace has blinded me to my failures and to my accomplish- ments, to my sins and to my virtues, to my weakness and to my strength. When I look at myself, all is lost, as I find myself either skillfully descending into sin, or painfully arising from having committed it. I say to myself, ‘I am so small, so weak, one among so many, with nothing and no one to save me except God, but He is so great, so beyond me, perfect and righteous, maintaining all, why should He even notice me? I am nothing.’ Whether slipping into sin or climbing out of it, or even while committing it, thinking of and looking at myself, I say these things, a sick man, paralysed and blind, naked before myself, before all, and like many others I cry ‘Have mercy on me, a sinner!’
I detest myself, I loathe myself. My only hope, my only desire, is in God, but He is far off, or He looks that way when I am looking at myself, I loom so large in my own eyes, great and sinful, and He appears so small, though my mind shows me that only my distance from Him makes Him appear so, like a distant star. I see myself, and my thoughts of God magnify Him and tear my own flesh in self-deprecation. Even that, I see, is sinful. It seems to me that the problem, the gigantic disconnect with what I know is right and righteous, is that I exist at all. Therefore, I repeat again and again, ‘I do not exist, I am nothing,’ desiring annihilation to end my misery. Just knowing that there is a perfect God seems to be enough, if only I could disappear forever.
The solution to all this is salvation: To look up, to receive my sight, to forget myself, to remember God, to turn away from the wrath that I know I am, to turn to the voice I hear roaring from somewhere behind my back like many waters, to fall down before His feet as though dead, to listen to the First and the Last speaking to me, like waves, like breakers rolling over me, till I am no more, only He, only He is, only Him see, only Him know, only He the I am, and no more ‘I, me and mine.’The psalms for the 12th Day speak as they always have, the words of the King that only kings can pray, no one else. We have been recreated a nation of kings and priests to the Most-High, the Only God, and so we are beckoned to enter in. The words envelope us as water envelopes us as we enter, as with trepidation the diseased would enter the healing waters of Bethesda, seeking the angel’s touch, changing us utterly, and arising no longer we look the same, no longer we see the same, anymore unto the ages.
Psalms for the 12th Day
62 63 64 65 66 67
In God alone there is rest for my soul,
from Him comes my safety,
with Him alone for my Rock, my Safety,
my Fortress, I cannot fall.
God has spoken once,
twice I have heard this:
It is for God to be strong,
for You, Lord, to be loving;
and You Yourself repay
man as His works deserve.
God, You are my God, I am seeking You,
my soul is thirsting for You,
my flesh is longing for You,
a land parched, weary and waterless;
I long to gaze on You in the Sanctuary,
and to see Your power and glory.
Your love is better than life itself,
my lips will recite your praise;
all my life I will bless You,
in Your Name lift up my hands;
my soul will feast most richly,
on my lips a song of joy and, in my mouth, praise.
On my bed I think of You,
I meditate on You all night long,
for You have always helped me.
I sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings;
my soul clings close to You,
Your right hand supports me.
All flesh must come to You
with all its sins;
though our faults overpower us,
You blot them out.
Happy the man You choose,
whom You invite to live in Your courts.
Fill us with the good things of Your House,
of Your holy Temple.
Your righteousness repays us with marvels,
God our Saviour,
Hope of all the ends of the earth
and the distant islands.
Come and listen, all you who fear God,
while I tell you what He has done for me:
when I uttered my cry to Him
and high praise was on my tongue,
had I been guilty in my heart,
the Lord would never have heard me.
But God not only heard me,
He listened to my prayer.
The soil has given its harvest,
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God bless us, and let Him be feared
to the very ends of the earth.