Johannine Hours



Psalm 13

March 1997

[The "Johannine hours" are meant as a way of seeking God in silence and prayer in the midst of our daily life. During the course of a day, take a moment to read the Bible passage with the short commentary and to reflect on the questions which follow. Afterwards, a small group people can meet to share what they have discovered and perhaps for a time of prayer.]

One of the most beautiful aspects of the Book of Psalms is the frankness with which believers express to God all that is in them. Far from limiting themselves to edifying thoughts, the authors of the psalms cast all their pain and their despair before God, without sorting out in advance what is acceptable and what is not. This freedom in prayer testifies to an impressive trust in God, even in the middle of the night, and already carries with it the seeds of a new dawn.

The author of this psalm sees himself at the bottom of a well, trapped in a suffering that seems without end. What causes his distress, more than this or that particular misfortune, is the feeling that God has abandoned him. Since he no longer feels God's presence, he is left all alone with those inner voices that come from "the enemy" and that bring him closer and closer to despair. That is the meaning of the word "revolt" (v.3a): those obsessive thoughts that try and convince us that God no longer loves us, that in fact we deserve our atrocious fate.

But then, instead of "letting his darkness speak to him" (St Augustine), the psalmist makes a leap of trust and lifts up his groaning to God. From the depths of his darkness, he remembers God's faithful love for him. He makes a choice, refusing to consent to the victory of the enemy. And as a result, a new beginning is made possible; a small space opens up, large enough for God to rush in, and the lament can turn into a song of praise for a rediscovered communion.

Taizé Community, France © Copyright 1997. All Rights Reserved. Material may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial purposes and provided that its editorial content remains unaltered in any way.



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