In Christianity, we do not let our prayer be guided only by personal circumstances, but we also focus on the prayer the Church gives us. Already with St. Augustine we find the idea that we want to live the same disposition as the psalmist in our own lives. So a lamenting psalm can also be prayed by a joyful person because he rationally chooses to identify with those in a difficult situation in the Christian community.
Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine: et benedic hereditati tuae. (Ps 27,9)Save your people, O Lord, and bless your inheritance.
This week’s gradual asks the Lord for salvation (salvum fac populum tuum domine). We all need to be saved. From what? From our own broken and sinful condition. We need a saviour, a healer, in our lives. Even if we are not in grave sin, we need the grace of God to ascend to his glory. To be saved does not just mean removing the sin of our lives but rather that God is waiting for us with all his love. His saving love demands an echo of love in everything we do. We want to be participants in His saving love.
In this conversion, God is always first. It is God himself who grants us his salvation. This is first and foremost a matter of the spiritual life where He makes us understand more and more what his salvation means for us. We can be in this saving love in the most difficult circumstances of our lives. God is then present as a consolation in our spiritual life though it may be dark in our context of marriage, study or work.
This directness of godly intervention is what the psalm asks for. It says: FAC DOMINE! Which means “do this, Lord!”. He almost commands our Lord to act! This is an imperative of the psalmist that salvation will be done to him.
But we are never saved outside of this world. We are in the world but not from the world. St. Thomas cites St. John’s gospel in relation to this psalm verse: I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from evil (John 17:15). God protects his flock from evil and is always near to them as their Creator and Saviour. But we should subjectively call upon the Name of Our Lord that He always protects us and keeps us in his salvation.
This is the history of our entire human existence. Already in the old testament people are longing with their entire hearts for their salvation. Our hearts need a saviour and when we don’t find our real Saviour in Christ we construct other ways of saving ourselves which will never satisfy the human heart.