Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope
August 21, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 107, a chant of gratitude to God’s Mercy from the lost who have been found.
There are all kinds of “lost”.
There are small “losts” like when I misinterpret my GPS and keep hearing “Recalculating route…”.
Then there are huge “losts” like when a beloved dies and our life’s anchor breaks.
This morning’s psalm and reading are speaking of a particular kind of “lost”, one that comes from wandering away from Love, for whatever reason that happens to us.
As I pray these readings, the face of a good high school friend comes to mind. Judy was a super basketball player. Everything about her was vigor, coordination, and that all-American beauty that needed no makeup to impress anybody.
After graduation, I went into the silence of the pre-Vatican II convent and Judy disappeared into her future. When our five-year reunion rolled around, I looked forward to reconnecting with her.
When I saw her, my heart broke. She was a shadow of herself, emaciated, listless, and lightless. She silently shouted a refrain like today’s verse from Ezekiel:
Our bones are dried up,
our hope is lost, and we are cut off.
We were both twenty-three years old. I was just beginning to grow into my hopes. Judy was already divorced, alone, and the mother of a father-starved child.
That kind of “lost” feels almost irredeemable.
But Psalm 107 assures us that, in faith, no loss, no alienation is irredeemable.
They cried to the LORD in their distress;
from their straits God rescued them.
And led them by a direct way
to the healing of community.
Judy and I stayed in touch for a few years. Despite her troubles, she kept faith. That was the key.
She did the hard work to find herself again with the help of family, friends, counselors, and a supportive faith community. Eventually, she remarried and was happy the last time I saw her before she moved to the west coast.
This morning, I see such apparent parallels between Israel’s and Judy’s story. That helps me look back over my own life for the same, perhaps not so dramatic, parallels and to be grateful for the many times God found me.
Let them give thanks for God’s Mercy
and wondrous deeds to us,
Because God has satisfied the longing soul
and filled the hungry heart with good things.
Poetry: Lost – Carl Sandburg
Desolate and lone
All night long on the lake
Where fog trails and mist creeps,
The whistle of a boat
Calls and cries unendingly,
Like some lost child
In tears and trouble
Hunting the harbor’s breast
And the harbor’s eyes.
Music: Amazing Grace – Sean Clive