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Dear father Angelo,

I’m meditating on Psalm 17:8 with profound interest (custodi nos Domine ut pupillam, or Keep me as the apple of Your eye). What can you tell me about these words?

Thank you,



Dear Annamaria,

1. The verse that responsorial refers to is this: “Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me” (Psalm 17:8).

Sight is the most valued sense; the pupil of the eye, or even just the eyes, are very precious to us. We are asking God no less than to be kept as the most precious thing He has.

David boldly asks God to consider us as the most precious thing. But David wasn’t an average person. He was consecrated, somebody chosen by the Lord for a specific mission.

2. From the moment of our Baptism we become consecrated to God. Therefore, David’s plea is the plea of every baptized person. We can extend the same plea to every man, because we are all, in fact, called to become sons of God, and because God loves us all with his fatherly love.

3. But let us go deeper in the meaning of this invocation “Guard me as the apple of the eye”. The pupil in the eye is indeed guarded diligently. Instinctively, we try to keep out anything that might harm it. Sometimes we pull away. Some other times we cover it with our hand or our arm.

4. The same does God with his servants.

God rescued Israel and brought him into the desert. We read: 

“He found him in a desert land,
And in the waste howling wilderness;
He compassed him about, he cared for him,
He kept him as the apple of his eye..” (Deut 32:10).

5. Israel was so precious and dear to God that those who harmed him or robbed him were treated as if they had harmed the apple of the Lord’s eye.

Prophet Zaccharias said: “For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: After glory hath he sent me unto the nations which plundered you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” (Zc 2:8). 

6. Furthermore, just as the pupil in the shade is preserved from the scorching rays of the sun, we, kept by God as the pupil of His eye, are protected against the disturbances and the entanglements of the world, and enjoy the peace God gives us.

7. When we ask God “Keep me as the apple of your eye”, we are asking Him to protect us from the devil, to keep us from all evil, to prevent us from committing any sin, however small. 

8. We must say these verses often during the day, even during our daily tasks. 

The Lord Himself asks us to pray in this way.

This practice will fill us with confidence: how could the Lord not grant our prayer after having encouraged us to pray using these exact words?

9. We should also add, In our daily invocation, the next words reported in the psalm: “hide me in the shadow of your wings”. 

9. “A hen protects her chicks under her wings against a predator, just as God defends the righteous from the demons under His Wings, which are charity and mercy” says Saint Thomas (Lecture on Psalm 17). 

Well, nothing defends us from the demons like being in a state of grace and being pleasing to God by loving, forgiving and doing good in His name.

I thank you for the opportunity to say this.
I’m sure it will bear fruit in many people’s spiritual lives.
I remember you in my prayers and I bless you.

Father Angelo