Friday, July 8, 2011

Habakuk 3 and Ultimate Trust

Today's morning prayer included a canticle from Habakuk, one of those books of the Bible that scriptural semi-literates like myself are not awfully familiar with. Like many of the psalms, it is an object lesson in what radical trust in God means. In fact, the trust depicted in these verses is even more radical than that in most of the psalms. The author expresses joy and exultation even while things are going about as bad as they possibly can.

For thought the fig tree blossom not,
nor fruit be on the vines,
thought the yield of olives fail
and the terraces produce no nourishment,

thought the flocks disappear form the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet will I rejoice in the Lord
and exult in my saving God.

That's wild. Not just trust, but rejoice and exult  while facing destitution and starvation. The conclusion suggests that the author is talking about a spiritual state that even puts him beyond caring about the flocks and vines and herds, because he is headed for a Place where they do not matter:

God, my Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet swift as those of hinds
and enables me to go upon the heights.
(hbakuk 3: 15-19)

At the moment I'm crashing into sleepy apathy as the morning's caffeine high wears off. Emotionally, the stalls and vines are empty and the thought of leaping up to the heights just makes me tired. But I'm going to trudge off to noon mass and see if I can at least manage to get within sight of the foothills.

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