Speak Lord: Our help and hope

Moulin.jpgThe psalm sung at Mass tomorrow, the 4th Sunday of the Year, confesses the help and protection afforded by the Lord for his children, his people.

My lips will tell of your help.

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, free me:
pay heed to me and save me.

My lips will tell of your help.

Be a rock where I can take refuge,
a mighty stronghold to save me;
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
Free me from the hand of the wicked.

My lips will tell of your help.

It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
from my mother’s womb you have been my help.

My lips will tell of your help.

My lips will tell of your justice
and day by day of your help.
O God, you have taught me from my youth
and I proclaim your wonders still.

My lips will tell of your help.

Psalm 70:1-6,15,17

At the end of a week that has seen us remember Auschwitz and Holocaust, provided a fresh reminder of child abuse, and in which news continues to come of fresh barbarity and persecution of people in Syria and beyond, we might be forgiven for wondering what is the help that the Lord gives.

There is no easy answer.

But people of belief continue to find truth in their faith, truth in the scripture, to set beside the evils. Sometimes these truths provide the encouragement to fight and overwhelm wickedness, to drain its power and overcome its perpetrators. Sometimes it is enough to assure that despite the consequences of evil here there is life beyond here where that evil cannot reach and somehow, by grace, all will be well.

Our singing of the psalm must not be an evasion of the hard truth of the existence of evil and suffering. But it should sustain us in our faithful living, confident because of God…

These are two things sometimes hard to hold together.

  • How, in God, might you respond to the needs of those who suffer evil?
  • When has faith helped you deal best with the consequences of evil?
  • Pray for those who suffer.
  • Pray for those who seek to do good.

Self-portrait (1928) by Jean Moulin, resistance fighter in 2nd World War. Musée Des Beaux-Arts – Hotel Fabrégat, Béziers. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.