Do you want to delight the Heart of God? Be among those who return to give thanks! It is no coincidence that the great "plea for the king" which is Psalm 20 is immediately followed by the great "song of thanks for the blessings the king received," which is Psalm 21. The side-by-side placement of these two psalms in the Psalter is the Holy Spirit's way of underlining the importance of gratitude in God's plan of prayer.

The ancient Jews, who sang Psalm 21 in their Temple liturgy, were well aware that God had done so much for their leader: You granted his heart's desire... You blessed him with success.... You crowned him.... You gave him life.... You granted him blessings.... They witnessed the mighty deeds which the Lord had worked in and through their king — and they were grateful. They saw and shared their monarch's joy in God's strength, God's saving help, God's mercy and God's presence.

During His earthly life, our Lord may well have sung Psalm 21. His gratitude for the great works of God in salvation history was vast and deep. Yet, Jesus knew there was a greater battle to be fought and a more enduring victory to be won. As the Savior-King on the threshold of His Passion, He was to ask God for life, not for Himself alone, but for all people. On the night of the Last Supper, the prayer of His lips was: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with You before the world began! And in His Resurrection and Ascension, God answered that prayer far beyond human fathoming.

Near the end of his life, St. Francis asked God if he could somehow feel in his heart the great love which urged Jesus to die for our sins, and if he could experience in his body something of the pain which our Lord endured when He died on the Cross. God answered the Little Poor Man's prayer with the imprinting of the Sacred Stigmata. Generations of Franciscans have commemorated the bestowal of this supreme grace with the words of Psalm 21: You have granted him his heart's desire; You have not refused the prayer of his lips!

Psalm 21 opens out new perspectives on the happy task of thanking God. It reminds us that in every blessing God is actively at work. It is an invitation to look at what God has done not only in our lives, but also in the lives of family and friends, neighbors and co-workers, and in all people of good will. Psalm 21 is a summons to put [our] trust in the Lord, because through the mercy of the Most High we too can stand firm. We asked. God answered. Firm in faith we ask again, certain that in His answering grace we shall sing and praise [His] power.





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Psalm 21

(verses2-8, 14)*

 

 O Lord, Your strength
gives joy to the King;
how your saving help
makes Him glad!
You have granted him
his heart's desire;
You have not refused
the prayer of his lips.
You came to meet him
with the blessings of success,
You have set on his head
a crown of pure gold.
He asked You for life
and this You have given,
days that will last
from age to age.
Your saving help
has given him glory.
You have laid upon him
majesty and splendor
You have granted
Your blessings to him forever.
You have made him rejoice
with the joy of Your presence.
The king has put his trust
in the Lord:
through the mercy of
the Most High he shall stand firm.
O Lord, arise in Your strength;
we shall sing and praise Your power.

*In keeping with the directives of the Apostolic
Constitution, Laudis Canticum,
the verses of this psalm
which contain imprecations (curses) have been
omitted in the current edition of the Liturgy of the Hours.


 

God Answered!
PART 22