For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Rom. 12:3)
The Psalms are the heart of the Office because they have for centuries expressed the “needs, hopes, and concerns” of God’s people. They are very human songs, and more often than not I am caught short by the emotion of the psalmist.
Today, for example, the psalmist’s simple love for the law rings false in my ears, perhaps because my own path has been too twisted lately. The version running through my head as I pray sounds more like this:
Oh, how I love your law!
Even though all day long it’s out of my mind.
Your commandment has made me no wiser than my enemies,
Because it is too little with me.
I have less understanding than any of my teachers,
Though your decrees have been my study.
(Psalm 119:97-99, para.)
Some days the Office is inspiring, giving us a glimpse of the ideal we long for. Other days it reminds us how far we still have to go.
But it always points us to Christ and to the Church, reminding us that we are not alone on our twisted path, that we are not truly separated from the love of God.
The “sober judgment” that Paul urges us to have places our real failings in the proper context of God’s even more real love for us shown in Christ Jesus.