Alive in the Word–A New Generation of Bible Resources for Catholics

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Little Rock Connections: The Good News for Today
September 2016

Bless the Lord, O my soul! Romancing the Word
Psalm 104

O Bless the Lord

Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB

What does it mean to bless? A blessing is a little consecration. It is a way of handing over something for God’s purpose. It is a gentle proclamation that something or someone is hallowed and set aside for sacred use.

But how can I bless God who is already the greatest of blessings? I bless God by leaning into remembrance—remembering to be grateful for the gift of creation. I bless God as I honor the Divine Presence in all things. I bless God when I remember the sacred choreography of creation and wrap my life around it. This is exactly what the psalmist, who is unmistakably a first class poet, is doing in this lovely creation psalm. The psalmist is blessing God in a dance of delight in the wonders of creation.

When we compare Psalm 104 to the creation stories in the book of Genesis, there is an observable difference. In Chapter 1 of Genesis the Creator is completing an important work, which is the task of bringing all things into being: the work of creation. We see a God of power and supremacy.

Psalm 104 is more of a celebration of the accomplishment of God’s work. We see a God who becomes playfully present to all that has been created. The work of creation has been completed and it is breathtakingingly spectacular. The psalmist has God dancing through the glorious achievement of creation in a very personal way. In the little chaos that remains the Creator places a law, sets limits and then becomes totally involved with Creation (verses 5-9).

As you read the psalm again and again (which I hope you do) allow yourself to view it as you would a stage play. It’s a dancing poem. I invite you to pause at the descriptive images. Put your feet in those springs of water flowing between the hills. Ride on the wings of the wind with the Creator. Robe yourself with light and darkness. Feel the breath of the divine moving through your being. Behold the waterfalls giving drink to wild beasts. Join the Creator in playing with the sea monsters. Be utterly present in this festival of life.

In this psalm’s enchanting pathway of words the poet is celebrating the gift of creation so completely that everything becomes a prayer. The wind is a messenger of the Lord. Fire and flame become ministers of God’s Word. The birds building their nests and singing from the branches are praying. The dry river beds suddenly flowing with water and the wind in the mountains become a chant. The grass is a prayer, growing food for the cattle. Even the roar of the lion is a prayer of supplication for food. Everything seems to be praying and reveling with this spectacular endowment of life.

In praying the psalms it is good to get beyond just mouthing words. This is an excellent psalm with which to practice because it lends itself to total involvement. If you pray it slowly you will be able to see the words coming to life. The words will become a visible prayer.

Before we end this reflection on Psalm 104 pause for a moment to get your calendar. Select a date and make plans to go into the heart of creation and spend at least part of a day being a poet. Use Psalm 104 as your text for Lectio Divina (sacred reading).

The psalm ends as it began, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" To that invitation I can only add, how can our souls not bless such a God! How can we not raise our voices in praise! Learn to bless!

Your next word to romance: Matt 7:1-11

Visit Sister Macrina’s website:

Find out more about Alive in the Word, a new generation of Bible resources for Catholics to use personally or in groups. 

A Biblical Year of Mercy
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September 29-October 1, 2016
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