Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
August 4, 2020
The USCCB website (that you click for daily readings) has been beautifully updated. Make sure you take a look!
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray again with Psalm 102. Today’s chosen verses proclaim the psalmist’s confidence that the Covenant Promise will endure through the generations.
The psalm really rings a bell for me today. We are expecting two new babies in my family within the next month. The excitement and joy are building throughout the family branches, scattered over several states and hundreds of miles.
Due to Covid-19, I probably won’t be with these new “grands” for a long time. That’s why I am so grateful for FaceTime to help me feel a real part of their lives.
Psalm 102 is David’s FaceTime.
Through it, he looks into a future
physically distant from him.
He has confidence that that future
is already blessed by God
through the faith which it inherits.
Thinking about this, I realize that I am someone’s “future” – my parents, grandparents and all the long line of ancestors before them. They thought about me, hoped in me, prayed for me the way I am praying for these coming babies.
Those Elders passed on to me a strong faith, hard-earned on the soils of Ireland, hard-carried over immigrant waters, hard-kept in a highly secularized culture. Like David, they wanted God’s faithfulness to be remembered by all who came after them:
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let God’s future creatures praise the LORD …
When my Aunt Mary died last October, I became the oldest living member of our family. I take that role seriously. I pray for our entire family, by blood and law, every day.
Each day, I pick one who gets special prayers for blessing on his or her life. Sometimes I know they need it for a certain reason. Sometimes, they have no idea I am praying for them – or perhaps, if they are distant relatives, that I even know their names.
As we pray Psalm 119 today, let’s consider our place in the generations of faith, and our responsibility to give and receive the riches of that faith to one another.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD and God’s praise
may be ever declared;
When the peoples gather together
and the families, to serve the LORD.
Poetry: Isaac’s Blessing by Janet Eigner whose adult daughter died young, leaving the freckled boy in this poem:
When Isaac, a small, freckled boy approaching seven, visits us for Family Camp, playing pirate with his rubber sword, sometimes he slumps in grief, trudging along, his sacrifice and small violin in hand, his palm over his chest, saying, Mother is here in my heart. Before he leaves for home, we ask if he’d like a Jewish blessing. Our grandson’s handsome face ignites; he chirps a rousing, yes, for a long life. We unfold the prayer shawl, its Hebrew letters silvering the spring light, hold the white tallis above his head, recite the blessing in its ancient language and then the English, adding, for a long life. Isaac complains, the tallis didn’t touch his head, so he didn’t feel the blessing. We lower its silken ceiling to graze his dark hair, repeat the prayer.
Music: As for Me and My House – a prayer for our families for the generations