Some Things Never Change .. Canticle of Habakkuk Part I

“Prayer of Habakkuk according to Shigyonot …

Oh Lord I have heard of your renown and am in awe, Lord, of your work

In the course of years revive it.  In the course of years make yourself known

In your wrath remember compassion.

God came to Teman, The holy one from Mount Peran.

His glory covered the heavens, and His praise filled the earth.

His splendor spread like the light , He raised His horn high.

He rejoiced on the day of his Strength.

Before Him went went pestilence and plague followed in his steps.

He stood and shook the earth, He looked and made the nations tremble.

Ancient mountains were shattered , the age old hills bowed low  Age old orbits collapsed. ”


The first line of this canticle  the term Shigyonot, is an ancient Hebrew term is not actually part of the formal canticle but instead is rather a side note,  where the indications are that this is , like all other canticles a song, meant to be used in worship.  It is a musical indication.

The Canticle begins in praise and lauding the greatness of God , taking time to remember the greatness of God, there is a reminder of the glory that came before, and indeed a longing for those days past when they were in God’s favor.  There is a pleading with God to once again return and show His glory strength, and favor to His people.

Habakkuk indicates  that God is angry and hence came to the enslavement of Israel and a begging for Gods forgiveness for their sinfulness.


Continuing the praise, Habakkuk then talks about the beginning of the Exodus.  There was pestilence and plagues , and all of the things that God had done in Egypt to bring Pharaoh to free the Hebrew slaves.  Finally the last part of the section speaks of the mountains shattering and orbits collapsing.  These types of supernatural occurrences are what were used to indicate the workings of God within the world.


This canticle speaks to the state of the human condition,, and how God interacts with us and for us.  In this case this also serves as a reminder , or a history lesson for the younger ones.  Throughout history has man carried a very short memory not only of the things we have done to each other but of the things God has done for us.


In truth, the things we have done to our fellow man, or to ourselves , are not anything new.  The circumstances  or the degree may have changed, but we still do the same things we diode hundreds and thousands of years ago.  Let’s review :  murder, drugs, theft, greed,licentiousness, sloth, anger, envy, enslavement, persecution, violence, and the list goes on and on.  You can find all these things in the Bible, and you can find them outside , or possibly even inside, your front door.

It all boils down to sin.  Sin has always been a part of our earthly existence since the serpent in the garden.  The only things that change are how we deal with it.


The attraction to a person of the opposite sex is part of the natural order of things.  How it is that we were created to insure  the collaborative procreation of mankind.  The problem occurs , for instance, when attraction take on the component of sin which then becomes lust.  The difference occurs in its origins.  Love originates from God which is giving, sacrificial , diffusive,  and contains within it the desire for the happiness of the other person.

Lust has its origins in sin, and is possessing, owning, selfish, and contains within it the desire for self satisfaction, self gratification, and is empty.


This is just one idea of how it is that we take things that are a gift from God, and it becomes the object of sin because of what we do with the gift. There are as many examples of this as there are of the different types of sin.

The battle, both inferior and exterior is constant.  We know that all men sin and fall short..

Recognizing this fact is crucial not only in knowing that we each need a constant state of conversion.  We need forgiveness not only for others, but primarily for our own sinfulness and salvation.  Thankfully we have the sacrament of reconciliation and a daily examination of conscience for this.  Recognizing our own sins we also need to find a way to forgive the sins of others, or the shortcomings that may be a result of these things.


This canticle is also a reminder of the love that God has for us,  Even if we have fallen, God is always there.  He always loves us, and is forgiving of our many many shortcomings.


Some things never change !     Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam !




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2 Responses to “Some Things Never Change .. Canticle of Habakkuk Part I”

  1. SaintlySages Says:

    A most appropriate reflection for the Triduum. Thank you for posting, Mark. An additional thought I have, perhaps an over-simplification:

    I see man as a composite of soul and body, and I recognize that sins can originate in either part. Each sin that originates in the body can somehow be attributed to either a misapplication of the instinct to preserve the species (generation), or to a misapplication of the instinct to preserve the individual (nutrition). Each sin that originates in the soul can somehow be attributed to “pride,” as we understand this term in moral theology; it is the root of sin (Prv 16:18), and it got man expelled from Paradise. Culpability for sins of the flesh can often be diminished to some extent by citing the compelling force of God-given instincts. But sins caused by pride, on the other hand, are all ours, products of our free wills. Hence, the importance of humility to forestall any potentially deleterious effects of pride.

    At a time when religious orders abounded, and the Church frowned upon the formation of new ones, it is no wonder that Popes Innocent III and Honorius III made exception and allowed our father Francis and his colleague Dominic to found orders steeped in the practice of humility: Franciscans noted for their extraordinary deeds and Dominicans for their evangelical preaching. God bless!

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