Blessed are they who walk in the law of the Lord

Psalm 119:1-8 Blessed are the immaculate in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who examine his testimonies. They seek him with their whole heart.
For those who work iniquity have not walked in his ways.
You have ordered your commandments to be kept most diligently.
I wish that my ways may be directed so as to keep your justifications.
Then I will not be confounded, when I will look into all your commandments.
I will confess to you with honesty of heart. In this way, I have learned the judgments of your justice.
I will keep your justifications. Do not utterly abandon me.

This is a humble, honest prayer by a penitent beseeching the Lord’s guidance and will. They know that those who seek to follow the Lord’s Commandments will have a difficult time, as with anything that must be “kept most diligently.” But in doing so, the pray-er finds great reward in holiness and blessedness.

This prayer is a good one to use by those of us in recovery, regardless of how long we have trudged the road. Discerning God’s will is not easy, and the psalmist asks the Lord for assistance in doing so (“I wish that my ways …”).

The penitent knows that following the Lord’s path is a way that will give great help in fighting impurity and sin (“For those who work iniquity…”) If you refrain from sinning, you are walking in the Lord’s ways. So, trying to follow the Commandments helps in the struggle against sin.

The psalmist knows that after sinning, greater humility will result from confessing. At least, that is how I interpret the verse, “I will confess to you with honesty of heart. In this way, I have learned the judgments of your justice.” In your honest and humble examination of conscience, you learn what sins you have committed. Upon taking these sinful acts and comparing them to the Commandments, you may develop a greater understanding of them and gain greater ability to amend your life. Why do I persist in doing thus and so? You sin, you make an honest confession, the penance humbles you and in humility you gain a greater awareness of God’s will in your life and how to cooperate with it (“I will not be confounded…”).

Finally, a promise to keep to the Lord’s path is combined with a plea for God to not abandon the penitent, for it is known that only with God’s grace can we keep to a pure and holy life. We cannot do it by our own efforts.

NOTE: This is Psalm 119 in most Catholic Bibles based on the Latin Vulgate, it is Psalm 118 in Bibles based on the Greek Septuagint.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"