Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 16, 2020
From 2018: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 102, one of the seven penitential psalms. It is introduced as “the prayer of the afflicted”.
Yet, I find our verses today full of hope. They look with confidence to a better future.
You, O LORD, abide forever,
and your name through all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion,
for it is time to pity her.
That last line, “for it is time to pity her”, is particularly touching as the psalmist nudges God to move forward with healing. Don’t we pray like that sometimes?
- Dear God, I’ve had all I can take! Please fix this — now!
- Lord, I’ve learned my lesson. Please relent and rescue me.
- Jesus, please let this trial be over and let us survive.
- Lord, it is time for this to be over!
The bedrock of this prayer is the psalmist’s deep trust that God will act as God has promised:
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
You may find your heart filled with a prayer like this today. Surely, our whole human community voices a longing for the pandemic sufferings to be over. Or there may be other afflictions you carry that are testing the limits of your endurance.
Psalm 94 holds out encouragement and hope. Reach for it and let it strengthen you.
But you are forever the same, Lord, without beginning or end, infinite in your compassion, fathomless in your love. You rebuild the desolate city; you bring the exiles back home. You grant the poor your abundance; you guide the nations toward peace. You hear the cry of the destitute and the sobbing of the oppressed. You soothe the pain of the captive; you set the prisoner free. Come to me too in your mercy and set my soul at peace. from A Book of Psalms by Stephen Mitchell
Poetry: from Burnt Norton – T.S. Eliot
Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future, And time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present All time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction Remaining a perpetual possibility Only in a world of speculation. What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present. Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden. My words echo Thus, in your mind.
Music: On Time God – Deborah Kline Iantorno