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Bless the Lord, My Soul!

Reflecting on God the Creator (Psalm 104)

By Fr. Jonathan Atchley

My goodness, I’ve become chatty of late, but in a carpe diem sort of way: while our thinking is fresh from pondering Father God in the Creed, we would do well to praise the Creator appropriately, resounding David’s hymn of praise:

“Bless the Lord, my soul!

Lord God, how great you are,

clothed in majesty and glory,

wrapped in light as in a robe.”

In his wonderful book "The Creator and The Creature," Fr. Frederick Faber notes that this life is but a preparation for the next. Destined as we are for glory, it is our right to acknowledge the Creator, and in doing so we affirm our own dignity as his creatures. This is what David does throughout his beautiful psalm—one of my personal favorites.

“You stretch out the heavens like a tent.

Above the rains you build your dwelling.

You make the clouds your chariot,

And walk on the wings of the wind;

You make the winds your messengers

And flashing fire your servants.”

So evocative, the Psalmist’s descriptions of God’s power and authority over all that exists!

“You founded the earth on its base,

To stand firm from age to age.

You wrapped it with the ocean like a cloak:

The waters stood higher than the mountains.”

At your threat they took to flight;

At the voice of your thunder they fled.

They rose over the mountains and flowed down

To the place which you had appointed.

You set limits they might not pass

Lest they return to cover the earth.”

How refreshing this imagery that honors the Creator by acknowledging his creation. A beautiful remedy and contrast to the complaints and grievances of people these days!

“You make the springs gush forth in the valleys:

They flow in between the hills.

They give drink to all the beast of the field;

The wild-asses quench their thirst.

On their banks dwell the birds of heaven;

from the branches they sing their song.”

Forgive my impertinence, but have you ever listened to the music group Tuba Skinny? This fun-loving, talented and fairly diverse New Orleans style jazz band is infectious with toe-tapping rhythm.

In a similar, solemn way, David can bring the soul to sing and sway as it swoons over the beauty of our Creator God reflected in that which he creates.

“From your dwelling you water the hills;

Earth drinks its fill of your gift.

You make the grows grow for the cattle

And the plants to serve man’s needs,

“That he may bring forth bread from the earth

And wine to cheer man’s heart;

Oil to make him glad

And bread to strengthen man’s heart.”

All that God made is for our enjoyment. Even the glory of his co-eternal Son, through whom and for whom we were created, deigns to share with us the Lord’s eternal and joyful love. Hey, if anyone’s come up with a better deal than this for mankind, I’m all ears!

“The trees of he Lord drink their fill,

The cedars he planted on Lebanon;

There the birds build their nests:

On the tree-top the stork has her home.

The goats find a home on the mountains

And rabbits hide in the rocks.”

“You made the moon to mark the months;

The sun knows the time for its setting.

When you spread the darkness it is night

And all the beasts of the forest creep forth.

The young lions roar for their prey

And ask their food from God.”

“At the rising of the sun they steal away

And go to rest in their dens.

Man goes forth to his work,

To labor till evening falls.”

All that the Lord made in splendor and majesty is very good. It is a blessing for one to feel overwhelmed by the immensity of it all. Too often we are wrapped up in ourselves and our works to see what God has done and continues to do.

“How many are your works, O Lord!

In wisdom you have made them all.

The earth is full of your riches.”

“There is the sea, vast and wide,

With its moving swarms past counting,

Living things great and small.

The ships are moving here

And the monsters you made to play with.”

“All of these look to you

To give them their food in due season.

You give it, they gather it up:

You open your hand, they have their fill.”

“You hide your face, they are dismayed;

You take back your spirit, they die,

Returning to the dust from which they came.

You send forth your spirit, they are created;

And you renew the face of the earth.”

In my opinion, the glorious workings of the earth are beyond our control: one sunspot can wipe us out; the oceans store energy which helps balance earth’s temperature over a period of one hundred years, a documentary from the BBC said. In his providence, God made us and then provides to meet our needs. Why? Who is man that he should do these things? Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!

“May the glory of the Lord last for ever!

May the Lord rejoice in his works!

He looks on the earth and it trembles;

The mountains send forth smoke at his touch.”

“I will sing to the Lord all my life,

Make music to my God while I live.

May my thoughts be pleasing to him.

I find my joy in the Lord.

Let sinners vanish from the earth

And the wicked exist no more.”

“Bless the Lord, my soul.”

This is why I bother to type out King David’s words rather than focus on my own. He is divinely inspired to reflect the majesty of God and our appropriate praise as creatures. While typing, I just sneezed; my body adjusts, and I keep typing while tapping toes to Tuba Skinny. Life balances out. All will be well. God bless you. May you bless and praise our good God!

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YES! I agree. God is so good and so merciful. Jesus died to make the whole world Catholic. David saw that future time and rejoiced in his Creator and in his future Redeemer. Thank you God for everything!

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