From the Word of the Day
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew in me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. Give me the joy of your salvation and a willing spirit sustain in me. (Psalm 50/51: 3-5/ 12-14)
Lent is a strong time in which we are called to conversion. Today’s Liturgy gives us the celebrated Psalm 50/51 as our responsorial, which is the psalm par excellence of conversion. It is with this Psalm that we began our Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday.
The psalm resounds with triple invocation to the Holy Spirit, and the word ‘create’, a term used exclusively for God the Creator. It is a triple invocation: ‘a clean heart create for me …Your Holy Spirit take not from me…a willing spirit sustain in me’. As in Creation (Genesis 1: 2), the Spirit of God hovered over the primordial waters to give life to the cosmos. So too, in this marvelous invocation, we ask the Spirit three times to re-create the penitent sinner. All this divine power is needed to take the human heart away from the dominion of sin. Thus, God’s forgiveness is never only a gesture of goodness but a gesture of power that changes the heart and removes it from its slavery. Paul says that where there is a Christian, there is a new creation (2 Cor. 5: 17).
Thus, the Spirit becomes the interior principle that guides the new creature and sustains in it a ‘willing spirit’; one that is persevering and renewed, obedient and docile to the Covenant with God.
In my pause for silent contemplation, I will pray this Psalm mindfully, so that I may be renewed in God’s forgiveness.
Lord, sustain in me a willing spirit!
The Voice of Psalm 143: 10
Teach me to do Your will because You are my God. Let Your Spirit guide me into ways that are smooth and level.