From Seeds of Trust
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul
and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the Earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far he removes our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
Bless the Lord, all his works.
(Psalm 103:1-13, 22)
This psalm is a powerful celebration of God’s love. Different images evoke God’s inexhaustible efficacy and sensitivity. This confession, born of a personal experience, develops in two directions that come to a climax in the invitations that open and close the prayer: “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” “Bless the Lord, all his works!”
Thankfullness for God’s intervention leads to knowledge of God’s will and ways of acting, both in the lives of individuals and in the history of the nation. It leads believers to desire that love more and more, so that it can give life to their entire being.
In addition, the assurance of God’s unlimited kindness enables believers to take off all their masks and recognize that they are poor and vulnerable, but at the same time free and called to an intimate collaboration with God. They can then look at others as God does: rooted in God’s own life, they are unable to nurture resentment or return evil for evil. Their relationships with others will change. Worshipers discover a responsibility for drawing all creation along with them and reawakening in each person the desire to welcome God’s love in order to praise him always.
- How did Jesus live out God’s love celebrated in this psalm?
- What in me does not yet participate in this blessing?
- How, in our day, can we invite a world that does not know God to bless God?
Jesus, our hope, even were we weak and destitute, our deepest desire would be to understand that you love us. You shed light on the road leading to heartfelt compassion.