Psalm 33: Ah, That Harp!

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

October 22, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 33. It’s a psalm we’ve prayed with several times over the past months.

Today, we might focus on this beautiful verse:

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.

Music is its own kind of prayer. Often when there are no words for a profound joy or sorrow in our hearts, a melody can carry our prayer to God.

Our psalm recognizes a very powerful form of spiritual music – the lovely and elegant harp.

Our sweet Sister Peggy Kelly died in April last year at the age of 92. Everything about her was joy, gentleness, peace and beauty. And she was a master musician. One obituary said this about Peggy:

Her love of music and her extraordinary talent on the harp will be her legacy.
She generously shared her musical gifts at many community celebrations.

Even, here at her final Shoulders Day Picnic, Peggy’s beautiful hands, that had so lovingly caressed the harp, reached out in gentleness, warmth, and love.

One evening many, many years ago, Sister Peggy was in our beautiful chapel, practicing on her harp. There was to be a big community celebration the next day at which she would offer a solo.

Merion Chapel at Twilight

The chapel was twilighted in soft lavenders and greys. I knelt in a back far corner in the shadow’s darkest parts, praying whatever a young novice’s prayer might have been all those years ago. We were the only ones in chapel, but Sister Peggy thought she was alone.

I felt so blessed to drink in her lilting music. It wrapped me in mystery, magic, and hope. My personal concert continued for almost an hour until bells rang for the Grand Silence and we both drifted off into its depth.

That lovely experience was given to me by surprise, and it so enriched my prayer. Throughout my life, I have intentionally invited music into my prayer as a graced companion.

Today’s psalm awakens that invitation once again. Won’t you join me in responding as we pray today? (And thank you so much, Peggy!)

Poem: Music by A.S.J. Tessimond

This shape without space,
This pattern without stuff,
This stream without dimension
Surrounds us, flows through us,
But leaves no mark.

This message without meaning,
These tears without eyes
This laughter without lips
Speaks to us but does not
Disclose its clue.

These waves without sea
Surge over us, smooth us.
These hands without fingers
Close-hold us, caress us.

These wings without birds
Strong-lift us, would carry us
If only the one thread broke.

Music: Claire de Lune – Debussy 

5 thoughts on “Psalm 33: Ah, That Harp!

  1. Marian Catholic

    In the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and in the Chapel of Apparitions at Fatima, Gregorian chants are now being played softly in the background. These chants help soothe my mind and soul while I’m praying and curb distracting mundane thoughts. Sacred music certainly helps us concentrate on our prayers, especially when we have much on our minds.

    Liked by 1 person

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