A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Walk humbly with thy God

The last verse of today's first reading (Micah 6:1-4, 6-8) is perhaps the most beautiful, succinct and comprehensive expression of Old Testament prophecy:

He hath shewed thee, O man,
what is good;
and what doth the LORD require of thee,
but to do justly,
and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?

The phrases are elegantly simple.

The requirements are inescapable.

Our relationship with God cannot be something purely ethereal: doing justice is a fundamental requirement. As God is just, so must we be just.

Nor is simple, arithmetic justice enough: we are required to "love mercy". The word translated here as "mercy" is the wonderful Hebrew word "hesed" - God's own mercy, which is tender, kind, and loving. We must be more than just: we must share with others the mercy and loving-kindness God gives to us.

The last phrase of this verse is also simple and yet awe-inspiring:

Walk humbly with thy God.

Like the exhortations to justice and mercy, these are words that we should carry with us every moment of our day: so that we may realize that God is always with us and that we may be humble before him in all we say and do.

Walk humbly with thy God.

They are words that also speak to our lives of meditation and prayer: to keep firmly in mind at every step of our spiritual journey that God is with us and that we must be lowly before him.

Walk humbly with thy God.

They are words that speak to us powerfully as we walk to and from Holy Communion.

Walk humbly with thy God.

But this verse does not stand by itself. Earlier in today's first reading, we hear these challenging words

O my people, what have I done to you,
or how have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt...

Many of us will remember these words being echoed in the Reproaches during the Good Friday Liturgy:

O my people, what have I done to thee?
or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer me.
Because I led thee out of the land of Egypt,
thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.

These reproaches are addressed to each one of us,
for God has done so much for us
and yet we have too often responded to that goodness with sin
- and God's response to our sin is the Cross.

And so, we remember with love,
as well as with grief and repentance for our sins,
the suffering of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We remember his agony in the garden and his awful scourging.

And we remember Simon of Cyrene
who helped carry the cross of Christ,
walking with the Son of God on the Way of Sorrows.

How blessed indeed Simon of Cyrene was:
to walk humbly with God in such a special way .

Yet you and I are called to this as well.

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
"Whoever wishes to come after me
must deny himself,
take up his cross,
and follow me."
(Matthew 16:24)

In the justice we do
and in the mercy we show,
in the depths of our prayer
and in every moment of our day,
and most of all as we share in the sufferings of Christ,
may we always walk humbly with our God.