WHILE we are still in celebration of Christmas – the season of birth and hope – and there are things happening that make our day not right, let us once more revisit a favorite compilation of sermons by Fr. Joseph A. Galdon, S.J. that includes psalms as among the means that we should hold on to in communicating with God.
Historically, the Book of Psalms, which is generally believed to be the most widely read and the most highly treasured of all the books in the Old Testament, is a collection of poems, hymns, and prayers that express the religious feelings of Jews throughout the various periods of their national history. In the present context, especially among the Christians that we are, it is one thing to be able to praise God when we have, in our modern idiom, “had a nice day.” It is quite another to praise God when the bottom appears to have fallen out of life. If there is any time when men have turned to the Book of Psalms it is in their hour of deep despair and adversity.
According to Fr. Galdon, many of the psalms are individual prayers for personal favors and needs. “But the most moving psalms are communal psalms, psalms for the community, for the family, and the nation.” For today we see our streets littered with people as victims of EJK, assault, rape, and other violent crimes. The poor and marginalized are packed into squatter areas or barren resettlement homes. We choke the air we breathe and stumble over our own litter and waste. Man-made disasters are killing our people, including those who work hard in unsafe work places. Father and daughter are fighting and cursing at each other in public, such as through the social media, to teach us nothing but the tragedy of declining family values and hatred even among those of kin.
Today, we look forward to a new year, to a new hope amidst the adversities and challenges that test our will, our patience, our sanity, and our faith in our fellow countrymen and the things they ought to do for the good of our nation. May we, therefore, take this opportunity to recite Psalm 58 that Fr. Galdon is only too willing to share with us on this critical period when we most need God’s grace and intervention.
Dear readers, please pray with us:
My heart grieves, oh Lord, over the leaders of our nation, who play God with the lives of men.
With the clever twisting of half-truths they gather followers into their folds and manipulate them into carrying out their own selfish purposes.
They blind men to personal conscience and responsibility and enslave them to the wishes and ambitions of the selfish state.
There are starry-eyed who assume that they are God’s special gift to mankind and who, through devious tricks and inscrutable gifts, create their own little cults of misled disciples.
But You shall have the last word, oh God, and those who try to take Your place in our country or who stand in Your way as You seek to draw all of us to Yourself and Your love will finally fall victim to Your justice.
You are our country’s God, almighty and eternal.
Forbid, oh God, that we as a nation should ever turn away from You to follow the false leaders in our country. Amen.
As Fr. Galdon reminds us, we pray for personal favors, for things that we need and want to make us happy. As Filipinos, we ought to pray once in a while for our country as well. Pilipinas – it is God’s country as well as ours.