The Psalm this coming weekend teaches us what the authentic and only workable response to revenge is — mercy. The soul comes into this state of mercy by remembering all that the Lord has done for her. Blessing God, which in Hebrew more literally means “to fall on one’s knees in front of” accompanies this remembering. Mercy is further given the scope of commission in this text.

Because we humans are too easily caught up in the vicious cycle of revenge, we turn to a merciful and gracious God who forgives just when we can neither forgive our selves and someone else.

Revenge is the act and mindset of clinging onto things. God’s action and mind to unattached from revenge, which of course God would have every right to do, because mercy and compassion are attributes of God. Therefore Psalm 103 was chosen to teach us the depth of mercy, a truth about God, and how to avoid the pitfall of revenge.

Of course for the traditionalist Catholic, out of step with the Bible, they cling to Jansenist heresies about the wrathful God. Quick to judge and wallowing in their unworthiness, they include everyone else in their condemnations of just about everything. They exclude mercy for themselves and for others, unless they work really hard to obtain God’s attention. This excess of scrupulosity is a horrible state for the soul who seeks the love of God.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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