Psalm 146 (NRSV)
Verse 1Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Verse 2I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Verse 3Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
Verse 4When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.
Verse 5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,
Verse 6who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
Verse 7who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;
Verse 8the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
Verse 9The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Verse 10The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!
Our spiritual mother, Mary, personalized the insights of this psalm—and others—in her “Magnificat,” recorded in Luke 1: “God has shown favor to me” and “God lifts the lowly and brings down the mighty.” This, for her, was not a general principle. It was a personal, experiential fact.
Mary’s story is full of joy, yet also pain and anguish. Recall that Simeon prophesied to Mary at Jesus’ circumcision: “And a sword will pierce your heart.” It certainly did.
To believe in the power of love in the midst of actual life—including in the midst of pain and injustice—is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The superior power of love in the face of hatred, oppression, and injustice does not always seem evident. Yet in faith we hold on to see the redeeming power of love in our lives and in the world. For God is Love.
You fill our lives with good things. Our souls magnify You, oh God of Love. Amen.