The Heart of Man — An Abyss

Psalms have always given me comfort. In a strange way, I was recently comforted by a very dark verse from Psalm 64.

“The inside of a person and his heart – they are an abyss!”

Most English translations do not put the verse so drastically: “For the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep.” (Psalm 64:7) However, the context of the psalm shows that “depth” here really means “abyss.”

We know that every human being is created in the image of God; we know that every person has dignity. We encourage each other to see the good in others and in ourselves. This is a very helpful approach. But sometimes we discover abysses in other people, not only in times of war. People we thought we knew suddenly show another side of themselves that we could not have imagined before. I don’t want to open the list here: Hatred, aggression, violence … It is like looking into a yawning abyss, dark and impenetrable. Here we might have the dark side of our freedom. I am not advocating cynicism, rather realism. The psalm encourages us to have a kind of detachment that does not hinder us from loving and trusting. It rather invites us to take a sober look at what human beings are capable of; myself included.

The Psalms take seriously what I experience in this world. As God has accepted this world, so may everything have a place in my prayer. Starting from this acceptance, we can stop looking into the abysses and rather turn to the good. It is better to look to Christ.

Dear Lord, you created me as a free being. I thank you for this wonderful gift. I ask you to always choose the good. I ask you to protect me from the evil that may come from my heart or from the hearts of others. On Holy Saturday, you descended into the underworld. You stretched out your hand, even into the abysses of our existence. There, where we would rather not look – there you are with your healing, saving and life-giving power.

5 thoughts on “The Heart of Man — An Abyss

  1. Hey Fr. ; many thoughts from this post. The traffic through my mind is often kind & hopefully creative in praying for & working to help others. At other times its indifferent to troubled & troubling folks , dark at times. For me the saving “ grace “ remains in right actions. Hope your keeping me in your prayers. God Bless you & your work. Cheers ! Steve Mitchel

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fr. Mauritius Wilde, I really love to pray and meditate with psalms too. To give thanks, to ask for peace, to try to understand, etc. But this approach is special and providential in this time of war between “brothers”. Thanks for you thoughts and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your post. I am always happy when you share something new. I took notes after we met in Nebraska and still review them. Do you still have the angel card?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Facing the darkness of the abyss in others or even in ourselves requires that we build the inner peace and Gelazzenheit (Eckart) of which God is the source. An inner core of resilience is won through frequent prayer and meditation. Radical acceptance, the recognition and awareness of what is, are necessary before we can deal with what rises to the surface in the form of hatred, aggression, envy. Accepting the person helps to deal with the poison.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fr Mauritius,

    Thank you. The Psalms are with us each day, but it is important to pay close attention to them.

    I pray that Lent in Rome is going well.
    Pax,
    Fr Denis Q

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

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