In my daily lectio I’ve been experimenting with some psalms to assist me in the difficult reflections on sinfulness in the fifth week of the online Ignatian retreat. Today, I found a familiar tone in the tenth Psalm:
They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved;
throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.” (10:6, NRSV)
They think in their heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” (10:11, NRSV)
These people, these perpetrators, they think with their hearts? Not minds? I suppose the heart is perceived as the most secret, most sensitive, and the most hidden and protected of organs. And even if a person’s heart if dark, it is still part of the evil goings-on away from the view of God–or so it is thought.
I have no other explanation for the torment of evil that is perpetrated by the institutional church at times. There is that allusion to Peter the Rock and to the immovability and eternal protection for the Church. The upper hierarchy self-identify so deeply with the Church. They see themselves as The Church. They have no need to worry; their faith informs them they won’t be conquered. So there’s no need to change. No desire to change.
When sin enters the equation, likewise no requirement to change. Human ingenuity and self-importance being what it is, we can do bad things. The addict compartmentalizes her or his life and just “forgets” or fails to “recall” the wrong. If it’s out of my mind, some think, it surely must be forgotten by God.
And there are those who gravely abuse the Sacrament of Penance, bargaining with God through a confessor to completely forget yesterday’s evil, which may well be perpetrated again tonight.
The NABRE has a more bitter tone. Check verse 5:
Yet their affairs always succeed;
they ignore your judgment on high;
they sneer at all who oppose them.
Getting back to the retreat, how do I not feel angry at the sneering that infuses into the countenance of evil? How do I use these psalms as a reflection on the great magnitude of God’s mercy? I’m still a tyro at trying to figure that one out.
But I’m sticking with Psalm 10 for awhile. It doesn’t appear in the Sunday Lectionary, and I’m not aware of any use in the daily readings. It is utilized in the Office of Readings, not the major hours of the Office. But there is a wealth and wisdom in it. I need to sit at the feet of the Lord and try to fathom what I’m being told and shown with it.