February 18: Psalm 63
Trust and relationship with God
Common meter 86.86 New Britain (Amazing Grace), p. 29
St. Anne (O God, Our Help), p. 39
Morning Song can also be used for a reflective, minor mood, p. 30
O God, my God, I’ll early seek; my soul does thirst for Thee.
In dry and weary land, O Lord, my flesh has longed for Thee.
Thus have I looked for Thee before within thy holy place
That there I might behold Thy strength and glory of Thy face.
Because Thy grace is more than life my lips Thee praise shall give;
In Thy name I will lift my hands and bless Thee while I live.
My soul with rich, abundant food shall be well satisfied;
With shouts of joy upon my lips my mouth shall praise provide.
And when I turn my thoughts to Thee upon my bed at night,
As watches pass I meditate on Thee with great delight.
Thou art my help; I sing for joy in shadow of Thy wings.
For Thy right hand has held me fast; to Thee my spirit clings.
But they go down to depths of earth who would my soul destroy;
They are delivered to the sword for jackals to enjoy.
The king shall then rejoice in God and all that by Him swear;
For stopped shall be the mouths of those who do a lie declare.
Communion with God is the goal of all prayer, no matter how elementary, pedestrian, or dry. This psalm, in fact, speaks of the soul’s sense of dryness, even as it aspires to divine union:“My soul thirsts for You, and in so many ways my flesh as well, in a desert land, trackless and without water; for Your mercy is better than life.” Most people seem not to know it, but a longing for union with God is native to the human soul. This natural, in-built longing within the human spirit to know, praise, and be united with God is that of which St. Augustine spoke in the beginning of his Confessions. This psalmist’s aspirations after God, nonetheless, express a more than human longing, for the desire of our hearts is itself transformed by the Holy Spirit. The inner activity of the Holy Spirit, in fact, is not something merely added to a human amorphous yearning. Only the Holy Spirit can turn the soul’s innate thirst into a prayer pleasing to God (Rom. 8:26). As one of the Bible’s most intense prayers of yearning, the words of Psalm 63 open the mind to what the Holy Spirit prays to God within our souls. (Reardon, p. 123-124)