A song of ascents
The LORD answered me when I called in my distress:
When we cry out to God we are always heard. Whether we cry out loudly to the mountains or find ourselves weeping quietly in our room, God hears us. And as surely as hears us, so too does he answer us. Our pilgrimage begins with this assurance: Emmanuel, God with us.
LORD, deliver my soul from lying lips, from a treacherous tongue.
Often, we will find ourselves confronted by those who seek to break us down, but no tongue is more treacherous, and no lips are so full of lies as Satan’s. His lies are webs of shame which seek to entrap us in our sin. But the Lord has answered and has brought his light and his truth. More than that, Christ is himself Truth. In Christ we see the truth about ourselves: We are imperfect but loved by Divine Love Himself. That is enough for now.
What will he inflict on you, O treacherous tongue,
and what more besides?
A question is now posed for us: How can we fight back against these lies of Satan? Sin has taken and twisted so much from us, but we cannot fight it with violence or with hate. We must answer sin and fear with love and courage. We must chase after Christ, our stronghold and our strength.
A warrior’s arrows sharpened with coals of brush wood!
Christ answers the attacks and snares of the Devil with his own weapons, these ‘warrior’s arrows.’ These weapons in the Lord’s quiver are the Sacraments, particularly Baptism and Confession. Baptism cleans us from the stain of original sin and the arrow of mercy continues on, piercing our souls and lancing the evil Satan has tried to plant in our hearts. We are then strengthened and given food for the journey in the Eucharist.
Alas, I am a foreigner in Meshech, I live among the tents of Kedar!
Our life here on Earth can be a burden and the goal of Heavenly Peace seems so far away. We walk, as Christians and Catholics, amid many peoples and lands, but we must always remember that we are citizens of Heaven and not of Earth. Even though we must at times trudge through life, we must keep ourselves oriented towards the heavenly reality, our final telos, or end.
Too long do I live among those who hate peace.
When I speak of peace, they are for war.
The Christian will always be a sign of contradiction. When the world cries out for glory and wealth we reply with humility and poverty. When the world calls for violence and hate, we respond with peace and with love. On the ascent up to God, weapons only slow us down. Violence and worldly desires are too heavy, and we have too far to go. Put them down, let go of the heavy weight they bring and starting running towards Christ.
Written by Br. Dominick Jean, O.P.
Dominican Friars of St. Louis, MO
The Dominican Friars living at St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis, MO are members of both the Central U.S. Province and the Southern U.S. Province. Our student friars go through their formation together at the St. Louis Studium, otherwise known as the House of Studies.