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Mercy Surrounds Us

dark mercy

We exist in the infinite embrace of God’s mercy.  In mercy, we all were created.  In mercy, we all live.  In mercy, we all have the hope of eternal life.

The lavish mercy of God pours over us in every sunrise and sunset, in every noon and midnight.  With every breath, we draw on mercy.  With every thought, we capture its spirit and turn it to our hope.  The gift of such divine power in us calls us to lavish mercy with our own lives, to be agents of mercy in all things.

This journal is offered as an act of thanksgiving and celebration for that lavish mercy.  It is a gathering of reflections and prayers which sift through our ordinary experience to seek the breath-giving grace of God awaiting us there.

My name is Renee Yann. I am a Sister of Mercy.  I love to chase God through the bright blessing of words. I love to discover words in the dark blessing of silence. It is a joy to share with you the humble fruit of those mutual blessings.

Our entire theological tradition is expressed in terms of Mercy,
which I define as the willingness to enter into the chaos of others.
James F. Keenan, S.J.

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The “Impossibler” and His Buddy

October 28, 2020

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude. Since we have reflected on Psalm 19 twice recently, I have republished a reflection on the Apostles Simon and Jude whom we honor today.

Not much is really known about either of these men. One tradition suggests that after the Ascension, they went together to carry the Gospel to Persia where they were eventually martyred.

Since we have so few facts, many legends and interpretations have grown up around these two men. Probably the strongest and most familiar of these is of St. Jude as the patron of hopeless cases.

There are probably very few of us who haven’t asked at least one favor from St. Jude in our lifetimes. This probability begs the question of why and how do we pray with the saints.

Our tradition holds that we exist in the Communion of Saints with all of God’s creatures, and that we inspire and support one another by the sharing of our lives. This sharing is not limited by time, nor is it constricted by death.

When we pray with the saints, we draw on their faithful witness to inspire, motivate and sustain us in our lives.

Today, we might pray within the spirit of these two great Christians whose witness, though historically muted, transcends time. May they inspire in us the passion and joy to speak Christ in our lives.

Music: Apostles’ Creed – sung here by Rebecca Gorzynska, a beautiful and talented artist (Latin and English text below.)

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, 
Creatorem caeli et terrae,
et in Iesum Christum, 
Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,
qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, 
natus ex Maria Virgine,
passus sub Pontio Pilato, 
crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
descendit ad ínferos, 
tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,
ascendit ad caelos, 
sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis,
inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, 
sanctorum communionem,
remissionem peccatorum,
carnis resurrectionem,
vitam aeternam.
Amen

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord:
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven;
sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Amen. 
(Apostles’ Creed – Roman Ritual)

Psalm 128: Awesome!

Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 27, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 128, written around the time of return after the Babylonian Captivity.

Israel was in a time of re-establishment, a time of rediscovering the blueprint for a settled and fruitful life. Psalm 128 lays that formula out:

Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in God’s ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.

Psalm 128:1-2

As with many scripture passages, (certainly today’s from Ephesians !!!), some of the original language doesn’t ring perfectly with our modern sensibilities. Personally, my spirituality doesn’t include “fear” when I relate to God. 

Rather than interpret such passages rigidly, we need to receive the words for the core of their meaning, which remains the same over the ages. What changes is how each culture and social evolution receives and honors the Word. This is the reason we pray with scripture and study it, rather than simply read it as we would read a cereal box.


Happy is everyone who fears the Lord…
“In this phrase, ‘fear’ is not about being intimidated or ‘shaking in your boots’ before the divine presence. It is rather about reverence or awe before YHWH, and the observation that whom one reveres, one obeys. To fear YHWH is to entrust all of life and hope to this one and follow the divine guidance. The perspective of the psalm is that such a decision about lifestyle makes a difference; living in line with YHWH’s teaching brings a profound joy and completeness to life.”

Walter Brueggemann – New Cambridge biblical Commentary

Psalm 128 invites us today to explore our sense of awe, reverence, and obedience toward God’s Presence in our lives. As we breathe in God’s boundless love for us, may we breathe out our complete trust and gratitude.


Poetry: Entering Saint Patrick’s Cathedral by Malachi Black

I have carried in my coat, black wet 
with rain. I stand. I clear my throat.

My coat drips. The carved door closes
on its slow brass hinge. City noises— 

car horns, bicycle bells, the respiration
truck engines, the whimpering 

steel in midtown taxi brakes—bend
in through the doorjamb with the wind 

then drop away. The door shuts plumb: it seals
the world out like a coffin lid. A chill, 

dampened and dense with the spent breath
of old Hail Marys, lifts from the smoothed

stone of the nave. I am here to pay
my own respects, but I will wait: 

my eyes must grow accustomed
to church light, watery and dim.

I step in. Dark forms hunch forward
in the pews. Whispering, their heads 

are bowed, their mouths pressed
to the hollows of clasped hands. 

High overhead, a gathering of shades
glows in stained glass: the resurrected 

mingle with the dead and martyred
in panes of blue, green, yellow, red. 

Beneath them lies the golden holy 
altar, holding its silence like a bell,

and there, brightly skeletal beside it,
the organ pipes: cold, chrome, quiet 

but alive with a vibration tolling
out from the incarnate 

source of holy sound. I turn, shivering
back into my coat. The vaulted ceiling 

bends above me like an ear. It waits:
I hold my tongue. My body is my prayer.

Music: How Great Thou Art – Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Psalm 1: Play Nice Together

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 26, 2020

2018 Reflection on the Bent-Over Woman

Click here ^


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 1 which, together with our first reading from Ephesians, gives us a complete outline for moral behavior.

There are days when I feel like the world’s not doing too bad responding to that outline. But, to be honest, there are more days when I think we’re a pretty big mess. 

It may sound simplistic, I know, but why can’t we all just follow Paul’s advice and be kind?

Brothers and sisters:
Be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:32

I think Pope Francis feels pretty much the same way as I do. Our reading from Ephesians could easily serve as a summary statement for Fratelli Tutti. Praying with this profound document, we can see the hope and agony of the world open before God’s Mercy, begging for healing.

(You may realize that I frequently refer to Fratelli Tutti. I believe this ground-breaking encyclical to be critically important for the future of our world. If you share my belief, you will be interested in this superb analysis written in Commonweal magazine by Austen Ivereigh.)


Psalm 1 gives us the peaceful picture of a person – and a world – centered on God’s loving law, the “plumb line” for holy balance in our lives. It is that same plumb line which Pope Francis drops for us in Fratelli Tutti.

Blessed the one who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on God’s law day and night.

Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.

Psalm 1

Poetry: A thought from Confucius:

If there is righteousness in the heart, 
there will be beauty in the character.

If there is beauty in the character, 
there will be harmony in the home.

If there is harmony in the home, 
there will be order in the nations.

When there is order in the nations, 
there will peace in the world.

Music: Blessed Be the Tie – Sara Groves remasters an enduring hymn on Ephesians 4:32. The original was written in 1782 by Baptist theologian John Fawcett

You for a father’s throne
We pour our art in prayer
Our fears and hopes are one
Out comforts and our cares

Blessed be the tie
That binds our hearts
In Christian love
We share each other’s walls
Our common burdens bear
And love for each other
The sympathizing tear

Blessed be the tie
That binds our hearts
In Christian love
Blessed be the tie
That binds our hearts
In Christian love
Oh, kindred heart

It’s like heaven above
It’s like heaven
Oh, kindred heart
It’s like heaven above
It’s like heaven

Blessed be the tie
That binds our hearts
In Christian love, oh
Blessed be the tie
That binds our hearts
In Christian love

Psalm 18: I Love You, Lord

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 25, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 18

I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.

Psalm 18: 2-3

The psalm is almost a mirror reflection of 2 Samuel 22, and has been interpreted as a song that David sang throughout his life to praise God’s goodness to him.


Today the psalm connects several readings, which together give us:

  • a command 
  • and a hint about how to fulfill that command. 

Bottom line, our readings tell us this:

  • First, Love God
  • And, second, here’s where to find the God you desire to love.

If we trust the hint, and act on the command,
we will be able to sing – like David –
throughout our lives. 

"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

Here is a beautiful poetic interpretation of Psalm 18:

I open my heart to you, O God
  for you are my strength, my fortress, 
  the rock on whom I build my life.
I have been lost in my fears and my angers
   caught up in falseness, fearful, and furious.
I cried to you in my anguish.
You have brought me to an open space.
   You saved me because you took delight in me.

I try to be good, to be just, to be generous
   to walk in your ways.
I fail, but you are my lamp.
  You make my darkness bright
With your help, I continue to scale the walls
  and break down the barriers that fragment me.
I would be whole, and happy, and wise
  and know your love
Always.
~ Christine Robinson

Music: Overcome – Psalm 18 by James Block

Psalm 122: The Journey

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

October 24, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 122, one of my favorites.

I rejoiced when they said to me
“Let us go to the house of the LORD
And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.


The year 1963 was a dynamic time in the Church. The landmark Second Vatican Council was reaching full steam.

Several changes resulted from the Council, including the renewal of consecrated life with a revised charism, ecumenical efforts towards dialogue with other religions, and the universal call to holiness which, according to Pope Paul VI, was “the most characteristic and ultimate purpose of the teachings of the Council”.

Wikipedia


Simultaneously, a love and engagement with sacred scripture was blossoming throughout the Church.  International scholars were completing their response to Pius XII’s 1943 call, in the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, to translate scriptures from the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts. The incomparable Jerusalem Bible was the fruit of these endeavors. It had already been published in French, and was nearing its 1966 English publication.

One of these gifted Bible scholars was a French Jesuit priest, Joseph Gelineau. Gelineau was himself part of the working group for the French Jerusalem Bible, and he developed a revised version of that psalter which respected the rhythms of the Hebrew original.

In my senior year in high school, 1962-63, we were introduced to the Gelineau Psalms. That introduction came at a perfect time for me, as I discerned a call to religious life. In that discernment, Gelineau Psalm 122 became a central part of my prayer.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.


I felt rising in me a passionate desire to find and engage my “Jerusalem”, that journey which would pattern my life on the life of Jesus.

The outlines of the journey, the distant vision of “Jerusalem”, were so surreal and indefinite. And yet they were compelling. I came to believe and trust that I would find my path to holiness, my Jerusalem, as a Sister of Mercy. 

Like Jesus, I was given the grace and courage to “steadfastly set my face toward Jerusalem” ( Luke 9:51) And it has been an indescribably amazing journey ever since!


As Vatican II so beautifully stated in the document Lumen Gentium, chapter 5, we all share in the universal call to holiness. We all have our own path to that one, glorious Jerusalem. 

I know these Documents of Vatican II are over a half century old. But they are priceless classics that I never tire of studying. Here are some passages that might enrich our prayer today as we each consider our own call and response to God.

Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (I Thes. 4:3; df. Eph. 1:4).

The classes and duties of life are many, but holiness is one-that sanctity which is cultivated by all who are moved by the Spirit of God, and who obey the voice of the Father and worship God the Father in spirit and in truth. These people follow the poor Christ, the humble and cross-bearing Christ in order to be worthy of being sharers in His glory. Every person must walk unhesitatingly according to his or her own personal gifts and duties in the path of living faith, which arouses hope and works through charity.

Finally all Christ’s faithful, whatever be the conditions, duties and circumstances of their lives-and indeed through all these, will daily increase in holiness, if they receive all things with faith from the hand of their heavenly Father and if they cooperate with the divine will. In this temporal service, they will manifest to all humanity the love with which God loved the world.


Poem: The Neophyte – Alice Meynell

Who knows what days I answer for to-day:
  Giving the bud I give the flower.  I bow
  This yet unfaded and a faded brow;
Bending these knees and feeble knees, I pray.

Thoughts yet unripe in me I bend one way,
  Give one repose to pain I know not now,
  One leaven to joy that comes, I guess not how.
I dedicate my fields when Spring is grey.

Oh, rash! (I smile) to pledge my hidden wheat.
  I fold to-day at altars far apart
Hands trembling with what toils?  In their retreat
  I seal my love to-be, my folded art.
I light the tapers at my head and feet,
  And lay the crucifix on this silent heart.

Music: Jerusalem, My Destiny – Rory Cooney (All lyrics below)

Refrain: I have fixed my eyes on your hills, Jerusalem, my Destiny. 
Though I cannot see the end for me I cannot turn away. 
We have set our hearts for the way; this journey is our destiny. 
Let no one walk alone. The journey makes us one.
1. Other spirits, lesser gods, have courted me with lies. 
Here among you I have found a truth that bids me rise. Refrain
2. See, I leave the past behind; a new land calls to me. 
Here among you now I find a glimpse of what might be. Refrain
3. In my thirst, you let me drink the waters of your life, 
Here among you I have met, the Savior, Jesus Christ. Refrain
4. All the worlds I have not seen you open to my view. 
Here among you I have found a vision bright and new. Refrain
5. To the tombs I went to mourn the hope I thought was gone, 
Here among you I awoke to unexpected dawn. Refrain

Psalm 24: God’s Face

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

October 23, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 24 which has been described as “an entrance psalm” for the Temple liturgies.

Praying Psalm 24 invites us to consider how we enter and meet God in the Holy Space of our lives. 

That space, first of all, belongs to God Who created all things. We do not create it. God opens it.

The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For the Lord founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

Psalm 24: 1-2

Everything within us and around us — that “fullness” of life — belongs to God. When we acknowledge this truth in humble faith and loving awareness, we realize that we already exist within God’s sanctuary:

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
The one whose hands are sinless, whose heart  is clean,
who desires not what is vain.

Psalm 24: 3-4

The journey of the spiritual life is about finding that still point in our souls where we see God’s Face in all things. That sacred stillness holds us in God’s Presence until we let go of ourselves within that Love. The Lord blesses that letting go with a “reward”:

That person shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God the savior.
Such is the race that seeks the Lord,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

Psalm 24: 5-6

The psalm doesn’t clearly state what that “reward” is, but I think it might be the grace, insight, passion, and courage to live as Paul describes in our first reading:

to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace;  
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

Poem: The light shouts in your tree-top, and the face
— Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems from the Book of Hours

The light shouts in your tree-top, and the face
of all things becomes radiant and vain;
only at dusk do they find you again.
The twilight hour, the tenderness of space,
lays on a thousand heads a thousand hands,
and strangeness grows devout where they have lain.
With this gentlest of gestures you would hold
the world, thus only and not otherwise.
You lean from out its skies to capture earth,
and feel it underneath your mantle’s folds.
You have so mild a way of being.
……………………………………………They
who name you loudly when they come to pray
forget your nearness. From your hands that tower
above us, mountainously, lo, there soars,
to give the law whereby our senses live,
dark-browed, your wordless power.

Music: I Have Loved You – Michael Joncas 

I Have Loved You

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;
I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.
Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his light and his peace.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;
I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.
Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his joy and his hope.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;
I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.
Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his care and his love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;
I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Psalm 33: Ah, That Harp!

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

October 22, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 33. It’s a psalm we’ve prayed with several times over the past months.

Today, we might focus on this beautiful verse:

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.

Music is its own kind of prayer. Often when there are no words for a profound joy or sorrow in our hearts, a melody can carry our prayer to God.

Our psalm recognizes a very powerful form of spiritual music – the lovely and elegant harp.


Our sweet Sister Peggy Kelly died in April last year at the age of 92. Everything about her was joy, gentleness, peace and beauty. And she was a master musician. One obituary said this about Peggy:

Her love of music and her extraordinary talent on the harp will be her legacy.
She generously shared her musical gifts at many community celebrations.


Even, here at her final Shoulders Day Picnic, Peggy’s beautiful hands, that had so lovingly caressed the harp, reached out in gentleness, warmth, and love.


One evening many, many years ago, Sister Peggy was in our beautiful chapel, practicing on her harp. There was to be a big community celebration the next day at which she would offer a solo.

Merion Chapel at Twilight

The chapel was twilighted in soft lavenders and greys. I knelt in a back far corner in the shadow’s darkest parts, praying whatever a young novice’s prayer might have been all those years ago. We were the only ones in chapel, but Sister Peggy thought she was alone.

I felt so blessed to drink in her lilting music. It wrapped me in mystery, magic, and hope. My personal concert continued for almost an hour until bells rang for the Grand Silence and we both drifted off into its depth.


That lovely experience was given to me by surprise, and it so enriched my prayer. Throughout my life, I have intentionally invited music into my prayer as a graced companion.

Today’s psalm awakens that invitation once again. Won’t you join me in responding as we pray today? (And thank you so much, Peggy!)


Poem: Music by A.S.J. Tessimond

This shape without space,
This pattern without stuff,
This stream without dimension
Surrounds us, flows through us,
But leaves no mark.

This message without meaning,
These tears without eyes
This laughter without lips
Speaks to us but does not
Disclose its clue.

These waves without sea
Surge over us, smooth us.
These hands without fingers
Close-hold us, caress us.

These wings without birds
Strong-lift us, would carry us
If only the one thread broke.

Music: Claire de Lune – Debussy 

Isaiah the Poet

Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

October 21, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Isaiah for our Responsorial Psalm.

God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
Who has been my savior.

Isaiah 12: 2-3

But how do we get to the degree of steadfast faith described here by Isaiah, a faith that is confident, unafraid, strong and courageous? Isaiah says it is like satisfying a deep thirst at a flowing fountain.


We all know how unpleasant it is to be thirsty, but what about really thirsty?

I’m a pretty big fan of old cowboy movies. A standard scene in many of these is the forlorn rider traversing a parched plain, longing for water.

by Stanley L. Wood

Now that’s “thirsty”! And that is the degree of longing Paul describes in today’s passage from Ephesians, a longing for that “water” that had been hidden through the ages:

To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known …


… the inscrutable riches of Christ…

This is the Fountain to which we are invited as we open ourselves through the Word of God in scripture, sacrament, and sacred circumstance of our lives.


Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!

Isaiah 12: 5-6

The “glorious achievement” proclaimed by Isaiah is the same “manifold wisdom” to which Paul says we all have access by faith:

… the manifold wisdom of God …
… accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.

Ephesians 3: 10-12

In our Gospel, Jesus tells that this gift, this Fountain, once opened to us, demands our faithful response:

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

So as we drink deeply of this Fountain, let us pray for a grateful, responsive fidelity for the gift we have been given.


Poem: excerpt from “Water Sign Woman” by Lucille Clifton

Photo by Kevin Bidwell on Pexels.com
the woman who feels everything
sits in her new house
waiting for someone to come
who knows how to carry water
without spilling, who knows
why the desert is sprinkled
with salt, why tomorrow
is such a long and ominous word.

they say to the feel things woman
that little she dreams is possible,
that there is only so much
joy to go around, only so much
water. there are no questions
for this, no arguments. she has
to forget to remember the edge
of the sea, they say, to forget
how to swim to the edge, she has

to forget how to feel. the woman
who feels everything sits in her
new house retaining the secret
the desert knew when it walked
up from the ocean, the desert,

so beautiful in her eyes;
water will come again
if you can wait for it.
she feels what the desert feels.
she waits.

Music: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing written by Robert Robinson (1758) sung here by Fernando Ortega

Ten Years Ago – Oh, What a Night!

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

October 20, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 85. But I need to tell you the truth. My mind will go only one place this morning, so that’s where my prayer needs to go too. Happily, parts of Psalm 85 will go there with me!


On a mid-October Monday ten years ago, I had the biggest night of my life! It was a night bursting with joy, gratitude, wonder, delight, amazement, hope and love. 

On that night, October 18, 2010, the Sisters of Mercy, and our Mercy Family, celebrated the 150th Anniversary of our Philadelphia Foundation. And we did it in grand fashion with an unforgettable concert at the Kimmel Center!

Musicians, dancers, and artists from our many Mercy ministries pooled their talents in a festival of song. Creative gifts from sewing to carpentry helped weave the story into beautiful unity.

The magnificent Kimmel organ gladly responded to the artistry of Sister Marie Ann Ellmer. And that polished Steinway sang out “Mi Mancherai” under the virtuoso touch of Ms. Karen Benedetti.

Ms. Karen Benedetti

(I have no recording of Ms. Benedetti’s performance, but here is the composer playing his beautiful piece. She did it even more beautifully!)


The amazing directorial talents of two Mercy Associates shaped the energy into a perfect whole.

Ms. Kimberly Baxter and Ms. Patricia Brown

And nine graced and gifted Sisters spoke the sacred story with the fullness of their beautiful Mercy hearts.

I know many of my readers were in attendance and have their own echoing remembrances of that glorious night.

I can share only a few tidbits of memory here. But you may enjoy praying with some of these thoughts where, for me this morning:

Mercy and truth meet;
justice and peace kiss.
Beauty springs out of the earth,
and Love gazes from heaven.

Psalm 85: 11-12

In a creative effort, the following are inspirations we thought the original founders might offer the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Family, if they were speaking to us today:


We clearly knew and trusted 
that the dream in us
was God’s dream
for wounded world.

Mother Patricia Waldron
Played by Mimi Connor, RSM


We heard God’s Voice
and held God’s hand
and we stepped out in faith
to do the work of love.

Sister Marie Madeleine Matthey-Doret
Played by Suzanne Neisser, RSM


The care of the sick
was a ministry I loved.
I dispensed it with every tenderness
knowing that I tended
the wounds of Christ.

Sister Mary Philomena Hughes
Played by Mary Hentz, RSM


You have shaped the Word of Mercy
so that it can be heard
by the rainbow of God’s People
throughout the earth.
And it has returned to you
twice blessed
by their humble, loving welcome.

Sister Mary Francis de Sales Geraghty
Played by Mary Klock, RSM


Our hope is just to know
that someone speaks your Name
in Mercy and justice,
and will return to speak it once again.

Sister Mary Ann Coveney
played by Diane Guerin, RSM


It was our joy
to find the waiting face of Christ
among the poor.

Sister Mary Rose Davies
Played by Marie Carolyn Levand, RSM


It is through prayer
that we grow eternally young
even as we age.
It is through prayer
that we can transcend our burdens
and are enfolded in the
Providence of God.
In prayer, we become free.
In prayer, we become whole.

Sister Mary Angela Curtin
Played by Connie Haughton, RSM


Through the years,
I have seen you embrace
the misunderstood and the vulnerable.
I know that in the mysterious way of God,
you have found great joy in that embrace.

Sister Mary Veronica O’Reilly
Played by Eileen Sizer, RSM


My soul was deep like the midnight sky.
But stars blazed from my depths
to lead others to holiness.

Mother Mary Gertrude Dowling
Played by Kathleen Mary Long, RSM


Music: The Circle of Mercy – Jeanette Goglia, RSM
(the Maestro is visible above conducting from the central platform.)

Psalm 100: Sing Out Loud

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

October 19, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 100, the Jubilate Deo – a psalm that tells us to SING! You know, like this: (Go ahead, click. It’s fun.)


Psalm 100 was that kind of invitation for ancient Israel. And it is for us too.

It is a well-known and beloved psalm. Wikipedia tells us:

People who have translated the psalm range from Martin Luther to Katherine Parr, (last wife of Henry VIII), and translations have ranged from Parr’s elaborate English that doubled many words, through metrical hymn forms, to attempts to render the meaning of the Hebrew as idiomatically as possible in a modern language (of the time).

Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness.

Psalm 100:1-2

In our first reading, Paul clearly states a perfect reason for such singing:

But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love God had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7

This is such a powerful passage from Ephesians!
If we really internalize it, there is no limit to the power of our faith.


(That’s me before I dyed my hair grey 🙂

Using an inclusive translation of Psalm 100, I sat quietly with its individual phrases today and my spirit was deeply fed. Sometimes, I put my reasoning mind to the side, and just let the dynamic beauty of the words rest in my heart.

Psalm 100 – Jubilate Deo

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come into the divine presence with a song.
Know this: the Lord, the Lord, is God;
the One made us and to whom we belong;
we are God’s people, the sheep of God’s pasture.
Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving; 
go into these courts with praise;
give thanks to God and call upon the name of the Lord. 
For the Lord is good, whose steadfast love is everlasting;
and whose faithfulness endures from age to age.

Inclusive Language Psalter: Anglican Church of Canada

Music: Jubilate Deo  – Dan Forrest

I have included two separate links to this magnificent music which offers Psalm 100, the Jubilate, in eight languages!

First Movement: Latin

Complete concert: