jueves, 4 de diciembre de 2014

Psalm 29 – Moods of the soul

I want to uncover the moods of my soul before myself and before you, Lord. I want to know how to deal with myself when I am high and when I a low, to handle my optimism and my pessimism, to learn how to react to spiritual joy and to human dejection: and, above all, how to ride the tides of feelings, the changes of mood, the sudden storm and the unexpected bliss, the darkness and the light, and the uncertainty that never allows me to know how long a mood will last and when the opposite mood will strike.
I am at the mercy of my moods. When I feel joyful, everything looks easy, virtue is obvious, love is spontaneous and a firm assurance grows on me that this is the way it will be with me from now on and for ever. Yes, I tell myself, I have finally arrived, I have matured in my spiritual life, I have myself well in hand, I have gone through ups and downs, and I know there will still be small changes and variations, but fundamentally I know now what to expect, I am well established and nothing will seriously shake me now. I am an old-timer in the ways of the spirit and I know perfectly well where I stand. Through God’s grace I am firm and steady.
You know me well, Lord, and you yourself put those words on my lips when you invite me to recite this psalm: “Carefree as I was, I had said: I can never be shaken.” That was my unwarranted confidence, my immature boast. I really thought I could never now be shaken.
And then your psalm continued as my life continues: “But, Lord, it was your will to shake my mountain refuge: you hid your face, and I was struck with dismay.” I was shaken again to my very foundations, and then my despair was as total and absolute as my boast had been before. I am good for nothing, I shall never learn, I am now after so many years right where I was at the beginning of my spiritual life, I don’t know how to pray, how to keep peace in my soul, how to deal with God: I don’t know, and I’ll never learn now; I can just as well give up and resign myself to a low and humdrum existence. The stars are not for me.
When I am down, I forget that I ever was up, and think I shall never be up again: and when I am up and high…, I persuade myself that that is the way it’ll  always be, and there’s nothing to fear any more. My memory is short…, and so my suffering is long. I am the slave of my moods, the plaything of the breeze that blows on my soul. Hot when it is hot, and cold when it is cold. I lack the persevering steadfastness of the seasoned worker, the proven seeker. I waver and stumble and fall. I want a greater balance for my life, a larger perspective, a truer patience. I want for me the long-term view that experience in your ways gives to those who know and trust you.
For this I pray: that when I am in high spirits, I may remember that I was low before: and that when I am low, I may trust that the high spirits will come again. Then truly “I will confess you for ever, O Lord my God.”

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