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Wednesday, May 29, 2024


“A Psalm of Life” is a poem written by American writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, often subtitled “What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist”. Longfellow wrote the poem not long after the death of his first wife and while thinking about how to make the best of life.”Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
   “Life is but an empty dream!”
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Finds us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,–act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
   Learn to labor and to wait.”

We are always in God’s limelight.

Through the ages, people have experienced challenges that show God’s hands – mothers and fathers, the young and the old, simple shepherds and popular scholars, soldiers and actors.

God watches over me – no matter how I feel right now: safe and secure in a wholly and warm hearted community or alone and feeling abandoned. God knows my doubts, worries, troubles and challenges in my daily life.

The Psalms became a very important part in my life. It happened purely by accident. Long time ago, I stayed in a hotel in a foreign country in Europe. I felt really uncomfortable. I’ll not be boring you with details. I remember asking myself what the psalm writers also frequently did: “Where are you God? Why don’t you help me?”

Yes, the presence of real enemies is also part of our daily life here and everywhere. Anyway, suddenly I found a bible in the bottom drawer of my night table. I started reading the Psalms… .

At the very center of the bible are these songs, the Psalms, rising up like a tune from the heart. They capture the innermost thoughts and prayers, and they still speak directly to our needs. For every emotion and mood, you can find a Psalm to match. The Psalms wrestle with the deepest sorrow and ask God the hardest questions about suffering and injustice. They do not tip flowery compliments to God: they cry out to Him, or shout for joy before Him.

In almost every Psalm you find the presence of God, not as a philosophical principle, but as someone, who can change your life, if you allow Him to do so.

I learned from my Philippine mentor, the late Monsignore Professor Dr. Dr. Hermogenes E. Bacareza, chaplain of the Philippine community in Berlin, said that the best way to read the Psalms is simple: to make these ancient prayers your own and speak directly to God. So many of the poems catch deep human feelings that you can’t help but be moved by them.

It will take time to understand all Psalms; some might be boring or even self-congratulatory. Read them again and again. Psalms cries from the heart and songs of sorrow as well as joy – reflections for moods and experiences.

Since reading the Psalms I learned and understood that for God, we’re always in the limelight.


Email me: [email protected] or follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .

Joel Escol
Joel Escolhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK_sKdGFs0ewIh9R-iAskDg
Joel Calamba Escol is a journalist in the Philippines for more than 20 years. Currently, he is the Managing Editor of Mindanao Daily News, the biggest and most-widely read newspaper in Southern Philippines. He is also known as Noypi Vlogger in Youtube. You can follow him on the following social networking sites below.

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