O Lord, my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot in your hands (Ps 16:5)
The background of this Psalm verse is the ancient image of the cup containing the lots for each man, and God holding these lots. Yet in this image two different conceptions about the meaning and challenge of time collide, conceptions that even nowadays still determine our struggle for the future.
The pagan world view was also familiar with the image of the lots, but with entirely different premises: the world is a game of luck governed by the one rule – blind chance. Time, altogether blind, spews out the lots, of this kind and that. The Bible has fundamentally transformed this frightening image. Indeed, there is the cup with the lots, containing winners and losers. But this cup with the lots is held “in your hands”, in the hands of eternal Wisdom and eternal Love. This is the indispensable premise that alone can provide for man any hope at all. Because the cup is in his hands, the only losing lot would be the refusal to accept at all the lot from his hands.
The Latin translation of the Bible has conferred on this inexhaustible Psalm verse still greater depth: In your hands, there rests my time. In purely linguistic terms we could also translate: In your hands, there rest my temples. Thus an image arises of ourselves entrusting our head, our temples, to God’s good hands. It also becomes evident that man’s time is not merely the time reckoned by the revolutions of the sun, the earth, or the moon. Far from it! With man a new center of the world has appeared, a new unit of calculation: a heartbeat, constituting the measure of his existence, even the new measure of all being as such, and a new center of the world.
To draw our existence out of this time, to acknowledge this time as our true time, and out of this awareness to model this our world – such is the call of this Psalm verse. The time of the heart is transformed into sunlit time by the fact that our heart does not beat in a vacuum: our heart, conferring rhythm also on our brain and our mind, finds the true timing of its beat by putting itself into the hands of him who holds all our time in his hands – into the hands of eternal Wisdom, which is eternal Love and so our only true Hope.
And so the, we put this new year, the new time and our future, into the hands of God: Lord, do accept us, and grant us your blessing!
From: Ordinariatskorrespondenz, no.1 January 4, 1979