“Behold,” it says, “I have greatly desired your commandments: in your righteousness give me life” (Ps 118:40). With all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind I have desired to love you and my neighbor as myself: give me life, not in my righteousness but in yours, that is, fill me with that love which I have desired. Help me to do what you propose, give me what you command. “In your righteousness give me life” because in myself I have had the power to die, but the power to live I find only in you. Your righteousness is Christ “who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” so that “whoever boasts may boast in the Lord” (1 Cor 39, 31). And in Christ I find the commandments I have desired, so that in your righteousness, that is, in Christ, you might give me life. For he is the Word who is God, and the Word became flesh so that he might be my neighbor. (EnPs 118, 5; PL 37, 1535)
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.