How many are my foes, LORD!
How many rise against me!
How many say of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”
But you, LORD, are a shield around me;
my glory, you keep my head high.
With my own voice I will call out to the LORD,
and he will answer me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and I fall asleep,
[and] I will wake up, for the LORD sustains me.
I do not fear, then, thousands of peoplearrayed against me on every side.
Arise, LORD! Save me, my God!
For you strike the cheekbone of all my foes;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation is from the LORD!
May your blessing be upon your people!
The above psalm is a lament. This is a prayer of one who believes in God, who fears God, who loves God, who is crying out in his need. The desperation of the words are not futile, but are a prayer of trust. Whatever assails him in life he will refer always towards the goodness of God, and his protecting love. His hope is in the Lord, his strength in his weakness is in the Lord.
The times we live in (though not that different from other times) are fraught with fears, anxieties, worries, persecution and the fragility of the precious gift of life. The shocking scenes from the Middle East, though far from home it would appear, are mirrored in the attitude of many people to life. Life is sacred, a gift, one that is taken away so easily in our world, a world in many quarters that seems to refuse to accept the gift that is life. Taking another’s life is wrong. The taking of the journalist James Foley’s life, who was murdered so brutally in Iraq this past week, in such a senseless and cruel way, is shocking, appalling and an abomination to the notion that someone would do such a barbaric act, in the name of any God. My prayers and love go out to his family, his parents John and Diane, who are so dignified and at this dreadful time, so filled with pain and grief, attempting to deepen their faith in God, and entrust their beloved son, James, to God’s keeping. I offered Mass for them and will pray for them daily. The killing of innocent people is an outrage, and always will be.
This week Professor Richard Dawkins, an atheist and supposed learned man, said that women who discover they have babies in the womb with Down Syndrome, should have abortions and try again. His words are sickening, on many levels, because of the sentiment of them and the way they are delivered. Life is precious, it is sacred; to take away a life is wrong and to have such a total disregard for life is appalling and evil too. Weakness in the world is not a crime, being disabled is not punishable by death, life is not what I have and others are not entitled too because of an ideology or a scant disregard for the sanctity of life. When will we learn about life and its giftedness?
With the psalmist, with my own voice, I will call out to the Lord. I pray for life and for those who think they have the right to end life. Lord, preserve us, protect us, please change the hearts of all, with no just cause, would take life away.