A re-edited, previous post that’s also at The New Evangelist/Companions of the Cross today.
Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart. (Psalm 90)
When it’s Monday, Week IV in the Liturgy of the Hours, we pray Psalm 90 at morning Prayer. This psalm reminds us that our time isn’t God’s time. Our time on earth is finite; God’s is infinite. The whole of human existence is in His hands. The punishment for sin is death and the worst sins are pride and disobedience.
A few years ago, when I started praying the Liturgy of the Hours, I thought this was such a depressing Psalm. First we toil, then we die. After doing some background reading on the meaning of this psalm, primarily in The School of Prayer: An Introduction to The Divine Office for all Christians (John Brook), I’ve come to see Psalm 90 as hopeful and look forward to reading it every 4 weeks.
The last few stanzas acknowledge that life is short but living in God’s Truth gives us true wisdom which comes from God. The psalmist ends by praying for God’s glory, and asking Him to bless the work of our hands.
Life is short. Every time we pick up a newspaper or turn on the news, we know this to be true. Personally and professionally, this truth has been brought home more times than I care to remember. And, yeah, stuff happens. Sometimes, really bad, unexplainable stuff. It can be enough to make a person despair.
But this is the part I find hopeful: that in our lives, by God’s grace, afflictions and struggles which God allows are always overshadowed by His glory and mercy. God promised and God can’t go back on His promise because He is Love. Isn’t that why He sent His Son?
Some of us believe our days our numbered from the moment we are conceived. Maybe. I don’t know. But what is indisputable is that no one gets out of this world alive. So what are we going to do with the days we have, numbered or not?
Maybe, instead of asking ourselves why bad things happen, we should be asking ourselves this: If I died tomorrow, what good will I have left behind? Will my life have been hopeful or will I have allowed myself to wallow in fear, self-pity, anger, recrimination, blame? Will I have put my hand to the plow and put my face toward God or will I have been unable to let go of the past and keep looking back? Will I have lived to praise God’s glory? Will I have been a light shining in the darkness or will I have kept my God-given gifts, talents, abilities hidden?
The only person who can answer these questions is me. Is you.
So, by God’s grace, what are you going to do with the rest of your life?