Our life is over like a sigh.
Our span is seventy years
or eighty for those who are strong…
Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
The words of the Psalmist lead us to reflect on the brevity of our lives. Each man’s life is brief indeed from the perspective of human history and infinitely more so from the perspective of our almighty God who is eternal. But reflecting on this fact is not intended to be morbid or to lead to the despair and nihilism all to common in our Western culture today, rather it is so “that we may gain wisdom of heart.” Psalm 90 invites us into the depths of Divine Wisdom, to see from the God’s-eye-view. When we do this we see that each of us has been made in his image and likeness destined to share in his Divine Life forever. We see the epic drama of which we are important participants. As the Council Fathers of the Second Vatican Council remind us:
“The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity” (Gadium et Spes, 37 § 2).
The scales of self-centeredness drop from our eyes as we begin to see reality clearly. We see as John Paul the Great saw and confidently witnessed: “The redeemer of man, Jesus Christ, is the centre of the universe and of history.”
We are living in a privileged time in the history of mankind. We are truly living in the end times, the last days, the age of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1076). We are living at the apex of history, in the already but not yet, after the fullness of God’s revelation in our Lord Jesus Christ’s first coming, while waiting for him to come again at the end of time. We are a living in a world that St. Paul reminds us “is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31), yet are already members of the Eternal Kingdom of God, made partakers in His Divine Sonship in virtue of our Baptism and continued sacramental life.
Today let us head the words our Lord spoke to the Gerasene demoniac after healing him: “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Saint Mark tells us, “Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed” (Mk 5). Let us go forth witnessing to all the Lord has done for us, inviting others into his most abundant life.