My subtext: These days, the airwaves and worldwide web, as I listen and read, are filled with invective. Folk of every political and theological ideological camp lash out at “the other.” Criticism, oft ad hominem, has risen to new heights (which, in my view, is to have fallen into an abysmal abyss) of meanness. As human, I am as tempted as anyone, predicated on my preferences and prejudices, to join in. However, as I continue to reflect on the sorrowfully base state of converse in today’s public square, I choose another course…
Thus, my subtitle: A self-critique
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well (Psalm 139.14)
The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth…So, the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created…for I am sorry that I have made them”…(then) all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. The rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights (Genesis 6.5a, 7a,c, 7.11b-12, abridged)
I, as human,
have been Divinely-made
as no other creature in all creation,
with consciousness of mind and conscience of soul,
set aside wholly)
“fearfully” to revere God.
when I contemplate all my freely committed ill
(in thought and word and deed,
afore this day,
on this day,
and, doubtless, on the ‘morrows of this day)
o’er that wretched hill apart from the Divine will
in that far country of prodigality,
then I feel
(less wonderfully fearfully,
and, rather, more self-pityingly)
that I breathe still
as a living witness
to God’s Self-imposed sentence
of penance for having made me.
Christ on the cross,
as Divine-with-human suffering-shared,
an eternal sign of salvation,
by its very necessity,
too, ever bears
in His Blood
a stain of separation
Whene’er I think, feel this,
it is then I hear,
fast falling on my ear,
the swift-wing of the hovering Spirit dove
ever reminding me
of that which is unerringly wonderfully, fearfully never made,
for alway it was and is and ever will be:
The Creation of Adam (1512), Michelangelo (1475-1564)
Crucifixion (c. 1618-1620), Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
2 thoughts on “A stormy night’s self-pity yields to Love’s light…”
Thank you Paul,
We’ve all committed so much ill in this world, that’s for sure. I’m sure God is disappointed in many of the actions in the world today. Whenever I read about the floods, fires, and tornadoes of late and even the earthquakes of the last couple of days, I wonder afresh if God is mad at us again!!! When are we going to get it!???? That for all of the suffering Jesus endured for us on that cross, WHY can’t we just be kind to one another?? As you pointed out, it’s easy for us to pity ourselves but it’s something we should try to avoid at all costs. Easier said than done of course!! More stuff for me to practice this week!!
I pray, Loretta, that natural disasters are not expressions of Divine ire. Though I can understand how and why that might be a natural reaction or, at the least, a wonderment.
And, trust me, I take no delight in pondering the ill I’ve done, whether in deed or in word or in thought. Rather, if I have a faithful (perhaps even a fateful) choice, I’d rather consider my wrongs than what I view as those of others. For, practically speaking (and, indeed, doing), I cannot control (nor do I desire to control) others. The only person I reasonably can influence for good is me. And I’ve proven to myself again and again how difficult that is!
Love you back