Exaltationes Dei in gutture eorum,
et gladii ancipites in manibus eorum:
ad faciendam vindictam in nationibus,
increpationes in populis;
ad alligandos reges eorum in compedibus,
et nobiles eorum in manicis ferreis;
ut faciant in eis judicium conscriptum:
gloria hæc est omnibus sanctis ejus.
Every morning we pray the Psalms, and throughout the day actually (“we” being those obliged to the Office, and those who simply pray the Psalms in the morning, and throughout the day.) On Feasts we usually end Morning Prayer with Psalm 149, which has always given me a sense of hope.
Read through the entire Psalm in English, if you will, from the Vulgate:
Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle:
let his praise be in the church of the saints.
Let Israel rejoice in him that made him:
and let the children of Sion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in choir:
let them sing to him with the timbrel and the psaltery.
For the Lord is well pleased with his people:
and he will exalt the meek unto salvation.
The saints shall rejoice in glory:
they shall be joyful in their beds.
The high praises of God shall be in their mouth:
and two-edged swords in their hands:
To execute vengeance upon the nations,
chastisements among the people:
To bind their kings with fetters,
and their nobles with manacles of iron.
To execute upon them the judgment that is written:
this glory is to all his saints.
And verses 6 – 9, from the Knox:
“Ever on their lips they bear the high praise of God,
ever in their hands they carry two-edged swords,
ready to take vengeance upon the heathen,
to curb the nations, to chain the kings,
and bind princes in fetters of iron.
Long since their doom is written;
boast it is of his true servants
that doom to execute.
The praise of God is our strength. The Gospel is the two edged sword.
The time is way beyond tuning out of popular culture, and into the ways of the Lord. Seriously, do we really need 178 cable channels in HD to find fulfillment in life? Do we need to be brainwashed with un-Godly shows, music and movies to realize that we need to grow closer to the Lord, Jesus Christ?
How can we praise God if we don’t know how to go about it? Or if we don’t know who He is? How can the Gospel be our two edged sword if we don’t read it, meditate upon it, and live it?
Not to ask rhetorical questions, but in positing the meaning of life we do need to reflect on our purpose here on Earth. And after 57 years of it so far, I can say that I didn’t need most of the things in life that I thought I did. Of course, I’m fascinated with both Sacred Scripture, and pop-culture, which is an odd mix and which always makes me think that we live in the times of Jeremiah.
Except that we’re separated from the times of Jeremiah by the Cross of Jesus Christ, which changes things magnificently.
Too, I often consider that our times are similar to the times prior to the French Revolution. We’ve abandoned Catholic culture to the ‘enlightened’, and have a generation of secularized anti-Christian, or unwitting Christians on our hands, who seek yet more power and yet more change towards a completely heathen, fully pagan society. That’s a bit strong, but true even though most would not see it.
And our weapons are the Praise of God, and the Gospel.
And the hosts of Heaven, the armies of Angels, the cloud of Witnesses cheering us on, the great Woman who has crushed the head of the serpent – and who intercedes just as she did in Cana – the white robed martyrs, and the glorious all mighty Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who watches over us with His strong arm.
Let those against the Lord chew on that for awhile. And may their confusion be confined to themselves as the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, works to bring marvels to fruition.