The Psalms: Whom are you looking for? – Reflections from a Trappist Monastery


I identify much with the hemorrhaging woman in the Gospel of Luke.  I’ll reproduce the text here,

 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Himand touched His [a]cloak. 28 For she [b]thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will [c]get well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction (Mark 5:25- 29).

The woman is bleeding out and there is no one to help her.  In her anguish she turned to the world and its doctors but could find nothing.  Finally, she finds Jesus and what she needed all along.

I too, have found myself to be “bleeding” from some sort of incurable wound. I have often felt   something inside of me that just refused to be healed. I turned in my need to philosophy and found myself more confused.

I then turned to psychology and found myself worse off than before (What does Jesus say about the one who sweeps his room?).  I looked and looked until I found what I was searching for (Song of songs 3:4).

It is this same Person or Word that the Trappist encounters daily in the psalms.  It is why one can recite the psalms hour by hour, for the whole of one’s life, and still find in them something and someone ever new, waiting to respond to our every need.

“He remembered us in our low estate

His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies.

His love endures forever.

He gives food to every creature.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136)

It is amazing to see here, a God who is immeasurably beyond us, and yet stoops down with so much love to meet us.  In a profound way, we discover the sentiments of the hemorrhaging woman when we find the Lord who remembered us in our low estate,  gave us food, and what’s more whose love for us endures forever.

It goes to show that no matter how far our culture has gone, or what the world invents, it will never find a solution for the incurable wound inside each one of us. We are made for God.  Essentially, whether we are Buddhist, atheist, Hindu or Christian – we will always need our “other Half” to complete us.

Sure we can distract ourselves. We can climb so many ladders not ever stopping to wonder whether we are on the right wall.  We can do our best to forget. Yet, the longing, the need, will always be there, harkening us back to the only one who can complete us.

Greg Toland is a New York based writer.

  • Peter Bisson SJ
    Posted at 02:04h, 25 June Reply

    Thank you Greg!

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 06:27h, 25 June Reply

    Jesus I trust in you ,open my heart, my eyes, deepen my desire to know you more fully as you lead me through this life that I have been given

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 06:30h, 25 June Reply

    Always am inspired by the writings of so many inspirational people.

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 06:31h, 25 June Reply

    Thank you.

  • graeme quinlan
    Posted at 06:33h, 25 June Reply

    Asking that you keep me in your prayers please.

  • John McManus
    Posted at 07:37h, 25 June Reply

    We spend our lives climbing so many ladders, and never stop to wonder whether we are on the right wall – brilliant! Thank you

  • Sami Helewa, SJ
    Posted at 11:23h, 26 June Reply

    Your words are important: Finding the healing in and through prayers. Well said, Greg.

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