Meditations on Psalms

Psalm 31

1. The Agony in the Garden
Once I said in my anguish, “I am cut off from your sight”. Yet you heard the sound of my pleading when I cried out to you. (Ps 31:23)
In his anguish, Jesus cried to his Father to take the cup of suffering away from Him. Yet, He also said that He accepts the will of his Father. And God the Father heard Jesus’ prayer, though not in the way Jesus asked Him. The Father sent the angel to strengthen Jesus. This is the example how to pray in our hardships. Don’t be afraid to cry before God. God won’t be deaf to your prayer if you pray fervently. He will send you help to overcome your hardships.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “We never struggle alone. Jesus helps us. If we love Him, all sufferings become pleasant and bearable for us.”

2. The Scourging at the Pillar
You hide them in the shelter of your presence from the plotting of men; You screen them within your abode from the strife of tongues. (Ps 31:21)
Pilate, thinking that would satisfy the shouting crowds, has Jesus scourged. Jesus, standing at the pillar, is exposed to cruel flogging. He has nowhere to hide from those who beat him. And they do it with great zeal. But the crowds – the plotting men – seeing Jesus covered with blood, shouted even louder, asking for His death. Evil, iniquity, wrong – seems to be growing every day. People conspire one against the other. Do not let yourself be scourged with it. Rather, bring it to God in prayer. Our world needs more prayers than the shouting mouths.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “O my Jesus, preserve me today from every sin.”

3. The Crowning with Thorns
For all my foes I am an object of reproach, a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends; they who see me abroad flee from me. (Ps 31:12)
Jesus, the supreme King of the universe, is standing among the soldiers who mock Him bitterly. Weaving a crown out of thorns they place it on Jesus’ head. And kneeling before Him, they mock Him. They even spit upon Him and keep striking Him on the head. It is painful to bear such a mockery. Yet, people are still humiliated by others consciously or unconsciously. Ask God for grace to bear humbly any kind of reproach.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “Inasmuch as humiliation weakens pride, it strengthens our inclination to good and fills our soul with joy.”

4. The Carrying of the Cross
Have pity on me, O Lord, for I am in distress; with sorrow my eye is consumed; my soul also, and my body. For my life is spent with sighing; My strength has failed through affliction, and my bones are consumed. (Ps 31:10-11)
Jesus, carrying the cross, grows weaker and weaker. Restless night, loss of large amounts of blood, denied by his apostles, and all the physical and spiritual sufferings He bears, consumes Him so much that He falls on the ground. Yet, obedient to his Father’s will, He gets up and continues on the road to Calvary. Sickness, fatigue, misunderstanding, sorrow, etc. consume our strength and we no longer have the will to bear it. Yet, Jesus shows us the example to accept God’s will, who will strengthen us if we turn to Him.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “I have passed through sufferings of every kind, and I can assure you, that a soul that has resolved to recognize suffering as her portion is happy, yes, is happy indeed.”

5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O Lord, O faithful God. (Ps 31:6)
Jesus, nailed on the cross, is dying. Abandoned by his Father, mocked by the chief priests, jeered by soldiers, and reviled by one of the criminals, He still shows his great love for us and the will to redeem us, saying, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Aware that He accomplished the mission entrusted Him by his Father, says, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” How blessed is the death for those who during their life often recommended their spirit to God, aware that God is their Redeemer. But how painful is dying for those who are not reconciled to God and to others! Pray often for them and recommend them to God.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “It is written, that a person who contributes to the salvation of a soul is thereby assured the salvation of their own soul.”

Psalm 40

1. The Agony in the Garden
I have waited, waited for the Lord, AND HE STOOPED TOWARD ME AND HEARD MY CRY. He drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp. (Ps 40:2-3a)
At night before He died, Jesus cried to His Father in the Garden of Olive. Jesus’ disciples fall asleep. They did not see, nor did they understand Jesus’ anguish. They failed in prayer. Yet, the Father heard Jesus’ prayer and sent the angel to strengthen Him. Let us cry before God. Let us ask Him to end this pandemic, comfort the afflicted and their families, and strengthen those who take care for them. Our God is not deaf to a fervent prayer. In His mercy, He will draw us out of this disaster.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “Turn to God, without the slightest distrust, on all occasions. Ask, and you will receive.”

2. The Scourging at the Pillar
Happy the man, WHO MAKES THE LORD HIS TRUST; WHO TURNS NOT TO IDOLATRY or to those who stray after falsehood. (Ps 40:5)
Jesus trusted in His Father, even when He endured the cruel scourging at the pillar. For our good, He didn’t turn away from the evil, which He had to bear. So let us put our trust in God, who allows us to suffer in this time. Yet, He will change our trial into the happiness. May the intercession of our Blessed Virgin strengthen our hope in God and protect us from going astray.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “I have passed through sufferings of every kind, and I can assure you, that a soul that has resolved to recognize suffering as her portion is happy, yes, is happy indeed.”

3. The Crowning with Thorns
He put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God. MANY SHALL LOOK ON IN AWE AND TRUST IN THE LORD. (Ps 40:4)
After the scourging and the crowning Him with thorns, Jesus was brought to Pilate. He said about Jesus, “Behold, the man!” Pilate was pagan, yet he looked on Jesus with pity. But the crowd, stirred up by the chief priests, did not see in Jesus, the loving face of God, on which should be looked on in awe. Every sin destroys the image of God in us. Let us make reparation for our sins and ask God to restore His image in us. Trust in the Lord that through our penance and prayer, He will soon end this pandemic.
Jesus said to Blessed Alphonse Marie, “My daughter, always look to me, and abandon all things to me.”

4. The Carrying of the Cross
I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O Lord, know. Your justice I kept not hid within my heart; YOUR FAITHFULNESS AND YOUR SALVATION I HAVE SPOKEN OF. I HAVE MADE NO SECRED OF YOUR KINDNESS AND YOUR TRUTH IN THE VAST ASSEMBLY.
On His way to Calvary, carrying the cross, Jesus met the women, who mourned and lamented Him. Jesus did not keep God’s justice within His heart, but He told them about God’s faithfulness and salvation. He announced them and the large crowd following Him on His cruciate way, God’s kindness and mercy, if they would repent. Let us ask God for His mercy and kindness through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, who faithfully accompanied Jesus on His way to Calvary.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “Meet all persons with love and kindness.”

5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
Sacrifice or oblation you wish not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocaust or sin-offerings you sought not; then I said, ”Behold I come; in the written scroll it is prescribed for me. TO DO YOUR WILL, O MY GOD, IS MY DELIGHT, AND YOUR LAW IS WITHIN MY HEART!“ (Ps 40:7-9)
The last of Jesus’ words, “It is finished,” express that Jesus was obedient to God’s will till His last breath. St. John points out that Jesus also kept God’s law, “Aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I thirst.’” Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill. According to Jesus’ example, the will of God should be my will and the law of God I should fulfill. Let us ask God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, to see God’s will for our lives, especially in this time of disaster.
Blessed Alphonse Marie encourages us, “Holiness consists especially in the conformity of our will to the will of God.”
We Remember
Merciful Jesus, grant them eternal rest.
3Sister M. Agnes Szakal 1991
6Sister M. Ernestine Spisak 1985
7Sister M. Carmella Ducsay 2004
8Sister M. Frances Porob 1986
20Sister M. Agilbertha Laszlo 1992
23Sister M. Bertha Decsi 1970
25Sister M. Cornelia Stropkey 2003
29Sister M. Rosanne Washy 2008
31Rev. Emil Egner, Chaplain 1959

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