And my heart abandoned me (Ps 39:14). Why wonder if your heart is abandoned by your God when it has abandoned itself? What does it mean: My heart abandoned me? That your heart is not capable of knowing itself.... With my heart I want to see the Lord but I am not able because of my many sins; but that’s to say too little: my heart does not even understand itself. No one understands himself; no one should presume to know himself. In his heart did Peter understand his heart when he said, “I will be with you even unto death”? (Mt 26:35) The presumption in his heart was false; what was true was the fear that lay hidden in his heart; his heart was incapable of understanding his heart. His ailing heart was hidden from itself, although open to its doctor. What was prophesied about it came true. God knew in Peter what Peter himself did not know in himself because his heart had abandoned him, his heart was hidden from his heart. And my heart abandoned me. Well, what then? What should we cry? What should we say? Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; look down to help me. Repentant members, members in pain, members crying out under the surgeon’s knife—but with hope. (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps 39, 23; PL 36, c. 448)
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.