The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
not one of them will be broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In the midst of a global pandemic, the constant reality is one of noise. In the midst of that noise, one can feel alone in one’s pain and suffering: a world in crisis blocks out many sources of comfort. While we seek social distancing for our collective health, we experience social alienation and isolation as individuals. That, for many, can be heartbreaking. We ask, quite reasonably, where God is as our hearts break. The psalmist understood that feeling well, knowing the troubles that befall the human spirit and the human community. In that knowledge, the psalmist cries out: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”
As we live through a Lent in which Easter itself seems cancelled by events, how can we rest in the closeness of God in the midst of coronavirus? We must, above all, remember our hope that lies just past the end of Lent: that our God, who loves us into being in every moment, joined us in our infirmities so that we might rise with Jesus to eternal life. God, as the psalmist says, is close to our broken hearts.
I’ve come to think that the only, the supreme, prayer
we can offer up, during these hours
when the road before us is shrouded in darkness,
is that of our master on the cross:
“In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.”
(Into your hands I commend my spirit.)
To the hands that broke and gave life to the bread,
that blessed and caressed, that were pierced; . . .
to the kindly and mighty hands that reach down
to the very marrow of the soul that mould and create
to the hands through which so great a love is transmitted
it is to these that it is good to surrender our soul,
and above all when we suffer or are afraid.
and in so doing there is a great happiness and a great merit.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!