November 8, 2021
Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with the comforting yet challenging Psalm 139, a prayer of awareness, intimacy, and trust.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;Psalm 139:1-3
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
The thought that God knows us so intimately might be both assuring and/or scary — depending on how we know and understand ourselves. The psalmist describes an overwhelming wonder at the thought of God’s closeness:
Even before a word is on my tongue,Psalm 139:4-6
behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in
and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
too lofty for me to attain.
As we pray Psalm 139, the awe settles into a deep awareness that God’s penetrating Presence in our spirits is ever beneficent and merciful. We pray to yield to its Love and seek its Wisdom.
Where can I go from your spirit?Psalm 139:7-10
From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
On this 32nd Monday, we begin a week of readings from the Book of Wisdom. Written in the century surrounding the birth of Christ, Wisdom is the work of a poet, theologian, philosopher, and moralist.
Today’s passage alerts us, as does our Gospel, that holding God’s Presence within us, we must live lives that bear it witness:
For wisdom is a kindly spirit,Wisdom 1:6-7
yet she acquits not blasphemers of their guilty lips;
Because God is the witness of the inmost self
and the sure observer of the heart
and the listener to the tongue.
For the Spirit of the Lord fills the world,
is all-embracing, and knows what the person truly bespeaks by their lives.
For as our Gospel tells us today:
Jesus said to his disciples,Luke 17:1-2
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better to have a millstone hung around the neck
and be thrown into the sea
than to cause one of these little ones to sin.”
Poetry: Wisdom – Tagore
The small wisdom is like water in a glass: clear, transparent, pure. The great wisdom is like the water in the sea: dark, mysterious, impenetrable.
Music: The Perfect Wisdom of Our God – The Gettys