The Love of the Lord for the Lowly

Issue 1708

15 September 2017

Psalm 136 recalls the Lord’s mercy in the actions of the Creator and the Savior as the sacred psalmist raises a joyful acclamation of praise for the eternal goodness of God.  As we listen to the voice of God, our prayer must accompany every meditative path even when we approach biblical texts that are not actually formulas prepared for liturgical recitation.

In Psalm 136 the contemplation of God’s benevolent action begins with an emphasis on the greatness of the Creator’s works, starting with the immensity of the heavens; it then evokes the great epic of the Exodus where the Lord’s powerful hand brings about victory over the “mighty” kings of the earth

The psalm concludes its litany of thanksgiving remembering the gift of the “small” in the daily bread. For Christians the event of the Incarnation – the descent of the Most High into the poverty of human flesh – is the sublime peak of this divine economy, full of humility, completely aimed at salvation and so fully expressing mercy. To welcome with greater awareness one of the central mysteries of our Creed, it is good to follow the paths that prophetically prepared its coming; it is necessary to understand that the humbling even unto death on a  cross of the one who was “in the form of God” (Phil 2: 6-8) is the very fulfillment of the Lord’s plan written from time eternal.