Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
August 1, 2020
Today, in Mercy, we pray for the light of God’s Word in our hearts. God speaks to us in all things. Sometimes, all we need to do is ask God, “What are You saying to me in this circumstance?” Then listen for Love. The answer is always wrapped in Love – and Love is not always easy.Thought from 2016, Friday of the 17th Week
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray again with Psalm 69. In today’s accompanying readings, Jeremiah and John the Baptist are living out the meaning.of the psalm.
Each of these great prophets has been ensnared by the civic evil of their times, personified in Old Testament princes and New Testament Herod and Herodias. The power structure surrounding each prophet stood in direct contradiction to their witness to God’s Word. Those structures, when confronted with a sacred truth, tried to overwhelm the messenger, like quicksand swallows an innocent traveler.
Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink!
may I be rescued from my foes,
and from the watery depths.
Let not the flood-waters overwhelm me,
nor the abyss swallow me up,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.
The psalm raises to our prayer the reality that such struggles continue in our time. We live in a wonderful but still sinful world where every person decides, everyday, where he or she will stand in the contest between good and evil.
The decision is sometimes very clear. At other times, the waters are so muddied with lies, propaganda, greed, fear, bias. and unexamined privilege that we feel mired in confusion or resistance.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69 throws us a rescue line in today’s final verse:
See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds God spurns not.
The steady path to truth lies with those who seek God among the humble and poor. The humble are the ones through whom the Lord speaks. They are God’s own. Jeremiah and the Baptist understood this truth and preached it by their lives.
We might examine our lives today in the light of their witness and the message of this challenging psalm.
Poetry: Beginners – Denise Levertov
‘From too much love of living, Hope and desire set free, Even the weariest river Winds somewhere to the sea—‘ But we have only begun to love the earth. We have only begun to imagine the fullness of life. How could we tire of hope? —so much is in bud. How can desire fail? —we have only begun to imagine justice and mercy, only begun to envision how it might be to live as siblings with beast and flower, not as oppressors. Surely our river cannot already be hastening into the sea of nonbeing? Surely it cannot drag, in the silt, all that is innocent? Not yet, not yet— there is too much broken that must be mended, too much hurt we have done to each other that cannot yet be forgiven. We have only begun to know the power that is in us if we would join our solitudes in the communion of struggle. So much is unfolding that must complete its gesture, so much is in bud.
Music: The Cry of the Poor – John Foley, SJ