Psalm 36: Whew!

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 23, 2020

From 2016:
Today, in Mercy, we pray to be childlike. As life seasons us, it also sometimes hardens us with an impermeability that prevents continued spiritual growth. We pray for the gifts of trust, hope and faith to return our hearts to the openness of a child that we may respond joyfully to the Holy Spirit.


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 36, a praise hymn of David after a frightening encounter with an enemy.

I could have used this psalm last week. Someone immensely dear to me was hospitalized with suspicion of Covid 19. The fear, for him and for all who love him, was pretty overwhelming.

I did manage a prayer of abandonment before the negative diagnosis was returned about 36 hours later. But I’m rather sure that, like most of my attempts at abandonment, it was somewhat half-hearted. I really wanted my own will and hoped God’s Will was in alignment. Blessedly, it was.

But I would like to deepen in true trust and abandonment to God’s care for me and for all of us.


Psalm 36 gives us a chance to examine David’s prayer of abandonment, which drawing on a long history of God’s wisdom and favor, deeply trusts himself to God.

In our prayer today, we might recall God’s faithful care throughout our lives and release into God’s hands any worries we carry. Let us simply receive that infinite, refreshing fountain of grace pouring over all Creation.

Fountain of Life stained glass window at the Church of St. Maria del Mar in Barcelona,  copyright José Luíz Bernardes Ribeiro, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Poetry:  Fountains in the sea by Marin Sorescu, translated by Seamus Heaney

Sorescu was a Romanian poet and playwright and one of the most popular figures to emerge from Romanian literary culture since the 1960s. He died in 1996, the year he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature

Seamus Heaney, who died in 2013, was an Irish poet, playwright and translator. He received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Fountains in the sea

Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Cunning life keeps asking for more and then a drop more.
Our ankles are weighted with lead, we delve under the wave.
We bend to our spades, we survive the force of the gusher.

Our bodies fountain with sweat in the deeps of the sea,
Our forehead aches and holds like a sunken prow.
We are out of breath, divining the heart of the geyser,
Constellations are bobbing like corks above on the swell.

Earth is a waterwheel, the buckets go up and go down,
But to keep the whole aqueous architecture standing its ground
We must make a ring with our bodies and dance out a round
On the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water, the dreamt eye of water.

Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Come rain, come thunder, come deluged dams washed away,
Our thirst is unquenchable. A cloud in the water’s a siren.
We become two shades, deliquescent, drowning in song.

My love, under the tall sky of hope
Our love and our love alone
Keeps dowsing for water.
Sinking the well of each other, digging together.
Each one the other’s phantom limb in the sea.

Music: Your Love, Oh Lord – Third Day

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