Pray for the Church

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
January 16, 2023

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/011623.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our reading from Hebrews describes Jesus as the perfect high priest.  Through the Father’s call, Jesus took on our imperfect nature and transformed it by his Life, Death and Resurrection. In the Eucharist, Jesus left us a living memorial of this transformation so that we might participate in its saving mystery.

heb5_10 priest

Paul’s “perfected priest” is patient because his own weakness humbles him. He does not take honor upon himself, but receives it humbly from God.

Jesus, the model of this priesthood, 

… in the days when he was in the Flesh,
… offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.


The perfection of Christ’s priesthood was accomplished through suffering and obedience. This is how Jesus teaches us to live in reverence and humble service.

As I read and pray with this scriptural understanding of priesthood, I pray for our Church. The catastrophic scandals involving our priests and leaders have deeply shaken the faith of many Catholics over the past several years.

Many are frustrated by the continued refusal of some in our Church to open themselves to new models of priestly service which are grounded in mutuality, inclusivity and simplicity.

The accretions of institutionalization, hierarchical camouflage, and sexist rationale have mitigated the Church’s credibility to touch the lives of ordinary people, especially our emerging adults.


In our Gospel, Jesus talks about an old cloak that needs a patch to make it whole again. He talks about new wine that must be captured and preserved in new wine skins. For me, he is talking about our Church which must be continually renewed and grounded in the truth of the Gospel.

Let us pray that the Church may continue to be transformed by humble obedience to God’s call – just as the high priest of our first reading was perfected.

Let us pray today for our good Pope Francs, bishops, theologians and spiritual leaders – and for the whole People of God – that we may hear and respond.


Prayer: In place of a poem today, this beautiful prayer written in 2019 by Rita Thiron, from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions

Prayer for the Church

Heavenly Father,
In every age, you have been our refuge. 
Yet again and still, we stand before you 
asking for your protection on your holy Church.

For the victims of abuse and their families, 
pour out your healing and your peace.
For the Bishops of this country, 
inspire their decisions, 
and guide them with your Spirit.

For the thousands of good and faithful priests, 
who have followed your call 
to serve you and your people in holiness,
sustain them by your grace.

For the faithful who are angry, confused, 
and searching for answers, 
embrace them with your love,
restore their trust,
console them with your clear Gospel message, 
and renew them with your sacraments.

We place our Church in your hands, 
for without you we can do nothing.

May Jesus, our High Priest and true compass, 
continue to lead her in every thought and action
 – to be an instrument of justice,
a source of consolation,
a sacrament of unity,
and a manifestation of your faithful covenant.

Grant this through that same Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Music: Even Death on a Cross ~ Jason Silver

Life’s Curriculum of Faith

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen,
Bishops and Doctors of the Church
January 2, 2023

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/memorial-saints-basil-great-and-gregory-nazianzen-bishops-and-doctors-church

1Jn2_24 beginning

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we continue to relish John’s eloquent first letter in which he heartily instructs us in the life of Christian love and fidelity.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. 
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. 
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life. 

1 John 2:24-26

John has written this letter out of concern about false teachings that are cropping up in the early Church. Misguided “prophets” are placing distorted interpretations on the pure, original message of the Gospel.

Human beings have never stopped doing that, have we? Down through the centuries, how many heresies and misinterpretations have tried to weave their confusion into the Gospel’s central, inviolable thread? How many charlatans, purposefully or ignorantly, have confused people with their bogus religious interpretations.

Has it happened to our own faith? Have we lost the crisp, clear power of our foundational belief? Have we been hijacked into a “faith” or religious practice that ultimately contradicts the Gospel?

It can happen easily in a society where truth is manipulated for purposes of politics, power, and economics. How can we work to avoid it?


John tells us to hold fast to the core teaching of the Gospel.

As for you,
the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you. 
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; 
just as it taught you, remain in him.

1 John 2: 27

This is the faith that many of us learned as children from devout parents and teachers. It is a faith that continues to evolve through scriptural prayer and meditation, through openness to theological wisdom, through the holy dialogue of the beloved community.

It is a living faith, stretched and tested by our daily choices for true Christian love for all people, especially the poor, sick and marginalized.

Ultimately, it is a faith rooted in the Cross and transformed by the Resurrection.

Over these next few weeks, let us listen carefully to John as he guides us to the depth of this faith.


Poetry: A Thanksgiving – St. John Henry Newman

The faith-journey of John Henry Newman has always inspired me. Born in 1801, he was an English theologian, academic, intellectual, philosopher, polymath, historian, writer, scholar and poet, first as an Anglican priest and later as a Catholic priest and cardinal. He was an important and controversial figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century. St. John Henry Newman was canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church in 2019.

As a young nun, when I thought faith was largely an intellectual pursuit, I was caught up in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Latin: A defense of one’s own life). The essay is a defense of his religious opinions, published in 1864 in response to Charles Kingsley of the Church of England after Newman quit his position as the Anglican vicar of St. Mary’s, Oxford.

Newman also wrote poetry. “A Thanksgiving” traces the unfolding gift and struggle of Newman’s faith journey.

Lord, in this dust Thy sovereign voice
First quicken’d love divine;
I am all Thine, Thy care and choice,
My very praise is Thine.

I praise Thee, while Thy providence
In childhood frail I trace,
For blessings given, ere dawning sense
Could seek or scan Thy grace;

Blessings in boyhood’s marvelling hour,
Bright dreams, and fancyings strange;
Blessings, when reason’s awful power
Gave thought a bolder range;

Blessings of friends, which to my door
Unask’d, unhoped, have come;
And, choicer still, a countless store
Of eager smiles at home.

Yet, Lord, in memory’s fondest place
I shrine those seasons sad,
When, looking up, I saw Thy face
In kind austereness clad.

I would not miss one sigh or tear,
Heart-pang, or throbbing brow;
Sweet was the chastisement severe,
And sweet its memory now.

Yes! let the fragrant scars abide,
Love-tokens in Thy stead,
Faint shadows of the spear-pierced side
And thorn-encompass’d head.

And such Thy tender force be still,
When self would swerve or stray,
Shaping to truth the froward will
Along Thy narrow way.

Deny me wealth; far, far remove
The lure of power or name;
Hope thrives in straits, in weakness love,
And faith in this world’s shame.

Music: some gentle meditation music for your prayer with John:

Herb Ernst – Song of the Inner Child

Dear Mary, Teach Us …

The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
January 1, 2023

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/010123.cfm

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

IMG_2003
Theotokos, a mosaic mural from the Gelati Monastery, Georgia, (1125-1130 AD)

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate Mary, Mother of Jesus.

We might begin prayer today by asking a question posed by distinguished theologian, Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ:

What would be a theologically sound, spiritually empowering and ethically challenging theology of Mary, mother of Jesus the Christ, for the 21st century? This question has no simple answer, for the first-century Jewish woman Miriam of Nazareth, also held in faith to be Theotokos, the God-bearer, is arguably the most celebrated woman in the Christian tradition. One could almost drown surveying the ways different eras have honored her in painting, sculpture, icons, architecture, music and poetry; venerated her with titles, liturgies, prayers and feasts; and taught about her in spiritual writings, theology and official doctrine.

To see Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s excellent article, click here.


In my own prayer today, though, I am not reaching for a deeper theological understanding of Mary. I simply want to talk with her as a faithful woman, my Mother, my older Sister, my Friend. I want to seek her guidance and her inspiration. I want to thank her for her continual willingness to bear Christ into the world, and into my life.


How significant it is that the Church begins the year inviting us all to Mary’s Light! Our first reading blesses us in a way that Mary might bless us, especially as we begin this New Year of grace:

The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!

Numbers 6: 24-26

Mary was all about giving us the LORD, not giving us herself. We see Mary best when we see her holding Christ toward us – the “God-bearer” or “Theotokos”.

IMG_2004
Theotokos Vladimirskaya icon, Vologda, Vladimirskaya Church,
mid-end 16 century

“Theotokos”, a title used especially in Eastern Christianity, originated in the 3rd century Syriac tradition. It affirms Mary as the Mother of Jesus, Who was both human and divine in nature.

Our reading from Galatians assures us that we too, by our Baptism, are the daughters and sons of God – thus becoming Mary’s own. She is our Mother too by the power of this sacrament.

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,  
born of a woman, born under the law,  
to ransom those under the law,  
so that we might receive adoption as sons

Galatians 4:4

Our Gospel reveals the spirituality of Mary who, after all the heavenly wonders faded, “pondered” all the mysterious workings of God deep in her heart. This Mary is my revered sister, guiding me as I meet the unfolding of God in my own life.

And Mary kept all these things,  
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,  
glorifying and praising God  
for all they had heard and seen,  
just as it had been told to them.  

Luke 2: 19-20

Today, let us pray with Mary, our Mother, our Sister, Bearer of God. Let us learn to be “ponderers” and “bearers” of God in her pattern. Let us pray for the whole Church, the whole world – all of whom dear Mary tenderly loves.


Music: Two selections today.

A Peaceful Hymn to the Theotokos – Nuns of the Carmazani Monastery in Romania

Prayer of Pure Love – Leddy Hammock and Sue Riley

A Perfect Heart

Friday of the Third Week in Advent
December 16, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/121622.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we stand at the edge of the final deep dive into Christmas.

Tomorrow, we will begin the magnificent O Antiphons with their rich and repeated invitation for God, not only to enter, but to take up residence our lives. We hear the hint of those invitations in today’s Responsorial Psalm:

Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Lord, bring us your peace
that we may rejoice before you
with a perfect heart.


It’s a perfect prayer for these last few days before Christmas, because so many of us get caught up in a contradictory kind of frenzy of shopping, gifts, parties, decorating, cooking, wrapping, buying…. and on, and on, and on.

The hyperactivity doesn’t leave a lot of space for peace and the perfection of our hearts to welcome the Savior.


This lovely poem by Geoffrey Brown has always helped focus me on the peace-making of my heart so that I could welcome Grace as it comes to me.


The Heart Cave

I must remember
To go down to the heart cave
& sweep it clean; make it warm
with a fire on the hearth,
& candles in their niches,
the pictures on the walls
       glowing with a quiet light.
       I must remember
To go down to the heart cave
       & make the bed
with the quilt from home,
strew
the rushes on the floor
hang
lavender and sage
         from the corners.
         I must go down
        To the heart cave & be there
         when You come.

Isaiah, with a powerful “how-to”, reminds us that we are all called to this spiritual readying:

Thus says the LORD:
Observe what is right, do what is just,
for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed.
Happy is the one who does this,
whoever holds fast to it:
Keeping the sabbath without profaning it,
keeping one’s hand from doing any evil


As a last reminder before our journey through the O Antiphons, Isaiah coaches us in inclusivity – assuring us that all people are welcome in the arms of the One Who is to come:

Let not the foreigners say,
when they would join themselves to the LORD,
“The LORD will surely exclude me from the people.”
The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
ministering to and
Loving the name of the LORD,
and becoming God’s servants–
All who keep the sabbath free from profanation
and hold to my covenant,
Them I will bring to my holy mountain
and make joyful in my house of prayer …


Music: Rorate Caeli – sung by Harpa Dei

“Rorate caeli” (Drop down, ye heavens) are the opening words of Isaiah 45:8. The text is frequently sung to plainsong at Mass and in the Divine Office during Advent where it gives expression to the longings of Patriarchs and Prophets, and symbolically of the Church, for the coming of the Messiah.

Living Justice

Memorial of St. Josaphat
Saturday, November 12, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111222.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings carry the themes of perseverance in prayer and commitment to Gospel justice.

Familiar Psalm 112 draws the theme forward for us.

That theme is justice, 
and what it really means for us in our daily lives.

Wealth and riches shall be in the blessed one’s house;
where generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
who is gracious and merciful and just.

Psalm 112:3-4

In secular culture, the words “justice” and “law” carry very different interpretations from biblical meanings. In the Bible, justice is that right-balance of Creation in which all beings support one another in the fullness of God’s love.

It is a balance which we all must help achieve, as we see in our first reading from John. In this unique letter, addressed to only one person – a Christian named Gaius, – John requests material help for his early missionaries.

Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters,
especially for strangers;
they have testified to your love before the Church.
Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.

Such requests mark the life of the Church throughout the ages, because our call in Christian community is about helping one another to live a full life in Christ. We could easily read John’s plea as a plea to us, especially in these times of seeking just global immigration and economic policies.


In our Gospel, Jesus tells a parable which is overtly about prayer. But it carries deep themes of the justice God desires for all people, especially the vulnerable:

Will not God then secure the rights of God’s chosen ones
who call out day and night? 
Will God be slow to answer them? 
I tell you, God will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. 
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find justice on the earth?

Luke 18: 7-8

Practicing justice and righteousness means active advocacy for the vulnerable. It means doing the works of mercy as a way to love God.

Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
that person is gracious and merciful and just.
It is well for the one who is gracious and lends,
who lives a graceful justice;
they shall never be moved;
the just ones shall be in everlasting remembrance.

Psalm 112: 3-6

Poetry from Micah 6:8


Music: Seek Justice; Love Mercy – by Me in Motion

 Renee 

Lead by Love

Memorial of St. Martin of Tours
November 11, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111122.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our first reading is from John’s very brief second epistle.

This is a fascinating passage. It is addressed to “Kyria”, Greek for “Lady”. The contents encourage this revered lady to keep herself and her household true to Christ.

But now, Lady, I ask you,
not as though I were writing a new commandment
but the one we have had from the beginning:
let us love one another.
For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;

2 John 5-6

Reading the passage, one wonders who “Kyria” is. At least three theories exist among scholars:

  • an actual religious leader 
  • a metaphor for the Church 
  • Mary, Mother of Jesus

The letter is beautifully personal in tone, so I like to think that Kyria was, indeed, an influential church leader and John’s beloved friend. So often, the names of early Christian women leaders are lost to history. Whether they were omitted in the original texts, or erased by subsequent misogynistic translators, we can only surmise. But the absence has served to support the misperception that women are of lesser consequence in the Church.


As we read 2 John, we can be aware of the major themes he entrusted to dear “Kyria”, whoever she might have been, to be transmitted to her household:

  • Truth is expressed through love, modeled to us in Jesus.
  • Obedience to God is expressed through service in God’s name.
  • Guard against any who distract you from these teachings.

Poetry: Seek Truth – Rumi

If you never searched for truth 
come with us 
and you will become a seeker. 

If you were never a musician 
come with us 
and you will find your voice… 

In our gathering one candle lights hundreds, 
we will light your path and give you courage 
so you will open like a flower 
and join in joyous laughter. 

Plant the seed of truth and watch it grow 
when it spreads its branches 
come with us and sit under the blossoms. 

Your eyes will open to the secret of the truth.


Music: Kyria (Lady) is the feminine form of Kyrie , as in “Kyrie eleison” (Lord, have mercy).

So the music I thought of for today is the magnificent Kyrie Eleison from Charles Gounod’s Mass for St. Cecilia.

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A Parish Church

Feast of the Dedication of the St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome
November 9, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy,  we celebrate a rare type of feast day – one that marks the dedication of a church building.  For many, that seems a little odd. We are accustomed to celebrating Mary, Joseph and other saints and feasts of Our Lord.

Here’s the thing: we are not actually celebrating a building.  We are celebrating what the building represents – the Body of Christ, the Church, made of living stones – us.

But sometimes it helps to have visible symbols of the things we venerate and celebrate. That’s why we have medals, rosary beads and candles – so that we can SEE something as we try to conceptualize a spiritual reality.


As we pray today, we might take time to remember the parish church of our youth. You might never love another parish like you loved that one – where you and your little friends snuck a whisper in the pews. Or – even now and again – maybe you fell off the kneeler in a stifled giggle as some neighbor lady leaped into soprano at the Miraculous Medal Novena.


Still, it might have been the place where we first prayed and first began to approach the beauty and wonder of God.

My memories are filled with unrepeatable treasures like:

  • our wonderful Sisters of St. Joseph, who at early morning Masses pre-Vatican II,
    mystically lowered their veils over their eyes on the way to Communion.
    I so wondered what their prayer was like!
  • the lingering smell of incense, beeswax, and holiness lingering in every corner,
    speaking a prayer for me that had no words
  • our very faithful and good priests
  • the beautiful Latin chants and prayers during which you had no idea what you were saying,
    but you knew exactly what you meant: God is Wonderful!
  • our old Irish pastor whose brogue was so thick we could not decipher a word except
    “Feast of the Great St. Patrick, boys and girrrrls! No school today!”

St. John Lateran is the Pope’s parish church. Since he is the Bishop of the whole People of God, his physical church has come to symbolize the universal Body of Christ, the world Church.

john lateran

Pope Benedict XVI in his Angelus Address, on November 9, 2008 said this:

Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24).
But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God.
Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.

st j lateran

As we pray today, we might want to consider the gift of faith on which our own lives are built – a faith whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ. In our second reading, Paul says this:

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building…..
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

And in our Gospel, Jesus speaks of his own body as a temple which, though apparently destroyed by his enemies, will be raised up in three days.

By our Baptism, that same spiritual temple lives in us and in all the community of faith. That same power of Resurrection is alive in us! So in a very real sense, what we celebrate today is ourselves – the Living Church – raised up and visible as a sign of God’s Life in the world.

Happy Feast Day, Church!


Poetry: Sunday Morning – Ruby Archer (1873-1961) was an American port

How sweet to wait within a holy place
The hour of song and prayer,
To yield the heart unto a spell of grace,
Serenely brooding like a presence there. 

The hymns that live within the organ’s heart,
Flow silent o’er the soul;
Unsounded echoes from the memory start,
Like mystic writing from an angel’s scroll. 


Music: Cornerstone – Hillsong

Remembering ..

All Souls Day
November 2, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we remember the beloved Holy Souls who have gone before us. They are never far from us. Some of us may visit cemeteries today. Some will place a list of names upon the altar. But all of us will whisper their names: grandparents, parents, spouses, children, brothers, sisters and beloved friends — meeting each name in a sacred memory.

Romans6_8 All Souls

May those memories, whatever they contain, be transformed by our loving prayers. May whatever grief remains in us be blessed by the grace of faith and thanksgiving. And may the Holy Ones we honor today brighten us with some of their overwhelming Eternal Light in God.


Poetry: All Souls Day – Frances Bellerby, (1899–1975) was an English poet, novelist and short story writer. “Her poetry is imbued with a spiritual awareness encoded through the natural environment while her political socialism is more evident in her prose”. (from The Encyclopedia of British Women’s Writing – Jane Dowson)

Let’s go our old way
by the stream, and kick the leaves
as we always did, to make
the rhythm of breaking waves.

This day draws no breath –
shows no colour anywhere
except for the leaves – in their death
brilliant as never before.

Yellow of Brimstone Butterfly,
brown of Oak Eggar Moth –
you’d say. And I’d be wondering why
a summer never seems lost

if two have been together
witnessing the variousness of light,
and the same two in lustreless November
enter the year’s night…

The slow-worm stream – how still!
Above that spider’s unguarded door,
look – dull pearls…Time’s full,
brimming, can hold no more.

Next moment (we well know,
my darling, you and I)
what the small day cannot hold
must spill into eternity.

So perhaps we should move cat-soft
meanwhile, and leave everything unsaid,
until no shadow of risk can be left
of disturbing the scatheless dead.

Ah, but you were always leaf-light.
And you so seldom talk
as we go. But there at my side
through the bright leaves you walk.

And yet – touch my hand
that I may be quite without fear,
for it seems as if a mist descends,
and the leaves where you walk do not stir.

Music: Lux Aeterna- Eternal Light – Michael Hoppé

Lux aeterna
Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.

Requiem aeternam
dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord,
with Your saints forever,
for You are Mercy.

Eternal rest
give to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

All Saints Day -2022

November 1, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110122.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate all those canonized and uncanonized sisters and brothers who lived their lives in Christ with gusto and fidelity.

saints

The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III by (731–741) of an oratory in St. Peter’s for the relics “of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world”. (Wikipedia)

I’ve personally known many of these saints, whether I fully recognized their sanctity or not. They have lived in my family, school, neighborhood, parish, ministries, and workplaces. Some were clothed as nuns and some as beggars. Some taught me by words and some by silence. I knew some by name, others by grace. Now they have all joined the eternal family watching over us and cheering for us.

There they have formed communion with my more recognized and favorite holy friends like Mary, Joseph, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Kateri Tekawitha, Anna the Prophet, John XXIII, and of course Catherine McAuley.

What a wonderful day to know that these beloveds of God are our sisters and brothers, who pray with and for us that we may one day rejoice with them in eternal light.

Who are the saints that speak especially to your heart? Take time to have a nice conversation with them on this glorious feastday!

If you are interested in learning more about the saints, this is a wonderful book by Father James Martin, SJ.


Poetry: All Saints Day – Ada Cambridge, (1844 – 1926), later known as Ada Cross, was an English-born Australian writer. She wrote more than 25 works of fiction, three volumes of poetry and two autobiographical works. Many of her novels were serialized in Australian newspapers but never published in book form.

“But they are at peace.”

Never to weary more, nor suffer sorrow,— 
   Their strife all over, and their work all done: 
At peace—and only waiting for the morrow; 
   Heaven’s rest and rapture even now begun. 

So tired once! long fetter’d, sorely burden’d, 
   Ye struggled hard and well for your release; 
Ye fought in faith and love—and ye are guerdon’d, 
   O happy souls! for now ye are at peace. 

No more of pain, no more of bitter weeping! 
   For us a darkness and an empty place, 
Somewhere a little dust—in angels’ keeping— 
   A blessèd memory of a vanish’d face. 

For us the lonely path, the daily toiling, 
   The din and strife of battle, never still’d; 
For us the wounds, the hunger, and the soiling,— 
   The utter, speechless longing, unfulfill’d. 

For us the army camp’d upon the mountains, 
   Unseen, yet fighting with our Syrian foes,— 
The heaven-sent manna and the wayside fountains, 
   The hope and promise, sweetening our woes. 

For them the joyous spirit, freely ranging 
   Green hills and fields where never mortal trod; 
For them the light unfading and unchanging, 
   The perfect quietness—the peace of God. 

For both, a dim, mysterious, distant greeting; 
   For both, at Jesus’ cross, a drawing near; 
At Eucharistic gate a blessed meeting, 
   When angels and archangels worship here. 

For both, God grant, an everlasting union, 
   When sin shall pass away and tears shall cease; 
For both the deep and full and true communion, 
   For both the happy life that is “at peace.”

Music:  All Saints Day – featuring “Lifesong” by Casting Crowns (lyrics below)

Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
Now joined with my life
I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to you

Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
I want to sign your name
To the end of this day

Lord led my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to you
Lord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to you

Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
I want to sign your name
To the end of this day

Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to you
Hallelujah, Hallelujah let my lifesong sing to you
Hallelujah, Hallelujah let my lifesong sing to you

Hallelujah,…
Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
I want to sign your name
To the end of this day

Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
I want to sign your name
To the end of this day
Lord led my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to you

The Divine Song of Light and Dark

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
October 10, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/101022.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 113, a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, focusing our praise on the Name of the Lord.

Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.Psalm 113:1-2


A particularly beautiful dynamic emerges in the following verse:

From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the Name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.Psalm 113:3-4

Praying this verse, we might picture the sun slowly lighting and darkening the contrapuntal curves of the earth.

Within that inverse yet complementary rhythm, the morning and evening prayers of believers encircle the globe. The whole Church, the Communion of Saints, each takes up its part in the prayerful caress of our world.

As I go to sleep at night, I know someone is waking on the other side of the world with the Holy Name on her lips. When I rise in the morning, I lift that song from the semi-darkness to offer my part to the Great Embrace.

Each morning and evening, I pray for my blog followers, thinking of their moment in this universal prayer. I imagine that prayer dawning near St. Barbara Catholic School in Guam, then drifting westward to Australia, Uzbekistan, Rome, and the little village of Hampstead Norreys, England.

I see it reach the shores of the Americas, deepening as it resounds in various languages through Rio de Janeiro, Haiti, Guyana, and Chulucanas, Peru.

I feel the warm healing of God’s Name prayed over my own country from Silver Spring, MD to McAllen, TX; from Dubuque, IA to Sacramento, then on again over the Pacific.

As each of us joins this global song of praise, let us be aware of the Infinite Power Who holds us all within the Divine Song – beyond time, beyond borders, beyond space, beyond any comprehension but Love.

Praise the Lord,
the Unnamable, the All-Perfect, the Inconceivable, 
who, higher than the highest heavens, 
stoops to the lowest of the low, 
who raises the poor from the dunghill 
and lifts the wretched from the dust, 
who grants them an infinite abundance 
and showers them with all good things.

from A Book of Psalm Selections Adapted from the Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell

Music:  Praise the Lord, Psalm 113 – Blanca Vega and Roby Duke