The shortest homily, on the longest Psalm (maybe)

This month Celtic Daily Prayer has included short extracts from the longest f Psalm (119) as one of the daily the readings. I have ‘enjoyed,’ the discipline of focusing on a few verses each day. Repetition, I hope, will pay dividends. But, I am also finding myself getting frustrated, for two reasons: my natural impatience normally compels me to consume books, I like to get to the end in double quick time and move on. My other frustration lies in the repetition of the message itself. The spiritual need to reflect and meditate on God’s ordinances (love) in the face of a hostile world. I have come to the conclusion that the Psalm is to some extent a psycho-spiritual-autobiography.

Sure the Psalmist lives in the midst of a hostile world, but he also lives with his own internal battles, contradictions, temptations and so forth. Surely we can relate to the Psalmist in this regard? Maybe the Psalmist is frustrated (like me) with his inability to contain the battles that rage within? Is it the Psalmist who causes strife in his community? Is he a contentious ……?

Yet here are the encouragements:

Whatever happens, either internally or externally, we can always  return to God, to the prayer,meditative, place where we can abide with Him, in Him and His ways.

Conversion to the ways of God, as all good Benedictines know, is the work of a lifetime. It’s not easy, it will cause us to confront ourselves, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, ‘conversion of life’ is possible. I think the Psalmist knew this and this is why he needed to write 176 wonderful verses. 

How many verses are there in your conversion story?



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