Psalm 96: The Lord’s Triumphant Coming

Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

November 24, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 96, a royal psalm praising God as the King of all Creation.

The psalm’s first verses, not included in today’s passage, call us to sing and dance before the King.

Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his marvelous deeds.

Psalm 96: 1-3

We might pray this psalm with deep consciousness of our place in Creation, in the divine handiwork of this generous King. We have been given life alongside a panoply of beautiful creatures in order that we might, together, sing God’s song.

We sing in a choir of evening stars and morning sunrises, beside choristers of great redwoods and lofty mountains. We join in the prayerful music of the rainbow of animal and human voices rising to praise God.

A dear friend posted this yesterday. I thought it was delightful.

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.

Psalm 96: 11-12

As we continue to draw down the curtain on the final days of this liturgical year, the daily readings draw our attention to the end of time – when all God’s created munificence will be finally gathered to the Eternal Presence.

Once, on a retreat with the Wernersville Jesuits, I went to their recreation room and played a 33 1⁄3 rpm record (yes, it was that long ago!). It was Wagner’s triumphant Ride of the Valkyries. You can listen to the music by clicking below.

The music engaged my spirit and no words were needed for my prayer. I imagined a Glorious Light rising over time’s darkness, a rider on the Dawn’s steed. 

I pictured us all coming to that Light in waves of praise, one order of creation after the other, over the hills of time and into a merciful, eternal Brilliance.

Each wave rose out of any darkness, pain, or death that might have  hindered them. They broke on to God’s merciful shore and were embraced in Light.

…. the meanest souls of history first, bowing repentant before God’s forgiveness. Then one wave after another, finally coming to the most innocent, the poor and the humble. These heroes of the Beatitudes marched triumphant, their places beside God already prepared, their faces already redeemed by God’s justice

The Lord comes to rule the earth.
to rule the world with justice 
and the peoples with constancy.

Psalm 96:13

The prayer of imagination can open the heart in a way far beyond words. It does take time to place ourselves in the quiet peace that welcomes such prayer. But I think it is so worth it. Our psalm might be inviting us to that kind of prayer today.


Reflective Reading: Prayer of Imagination for Anna the Prophetess
from Twelve Women of the Chalice – Leddy Hammock and Sue K. Riley

Now, in this moment I close my outer eyes 
and look within with my inner eyes.
I see a vision of wonder,
for I am the daughter of the vision of God,
of the tribe of the blessed ones,
a soul under grace.

I judge not by appearances.
I believe in God’s promises.
I fast from shadows and I live on light.
From my youth, I have served at the temple,
a vessel to a holy purpose.

Prayer is the temple where I dwell
Here I behold the image of the Lord.

I close my eyes and behold that image,
the eyes of the Infinite beholding me
all through the ages,
so tenderly gazing with love and compassion,
enfolding me.

Prayer is the temple where I dwell.
Here, I behold the image of the Lord.

The thoughts held in mind 
are mirrored in kind all around me,
reflecting through all that I see.

Now, I behold with inner vision
the wonders that will be in the fullness of time.
The dreams of all my days and nights
are incensed in the inner sanctum.

My thoughts of truth are flowers on the altar of light.
In the presence of the Holy of Holies,
I keep the high watch.
Gifted with the inner sight,
I see beyond the present.

I am an old, old soul, yet ageless in eternity.
Though outer eyes may seem to dim with time,
the inner eyes are crystal clear.

Though outer vision may seem obscured by time and place,
or clouded by the sorrows and the slavery of sense,
another world’s revealed so clear.
And what I see will be.

My thoughts are giving form,
And held in mind, shall reproduce in kind.
O Lord, I take a long loving look at the real.
I prophesy.

Christ is here.
I have seen the Lord, Thine image, 
and held that image to my own heart.
I am the Spirit of Imagination.
I am Anna, the prophetess, woman of power.

Psalm 146: Praise God with Your Life!

Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr

November 12, 2020

from A Book of Psalms by Stephen Mitchell

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 146, a call to praise God. The call is supported by the particular verses of today’s reading. We should praise God, the psalmist says, because God:

  • secures justice for the oppressed
  • gives food to the hungry
  • sets captives free
  • gives sight to the blind
  • raises up the humble
  • loves the just
  • protects strangers
  • sustains fatherless and the widow
  • thwarts the way of the wicked

Reading this elaborate hymn of praise makes one think the Lord was pretty busy in ancient Israel. Were all these good things happening for otherwise unfortunate people?

For me, this psalm, rather than being a retrospective list of God’s generous accomplishments, is a call to realize the way God wants things to be. Within that call is another deeper call – to become an agent for God’s Will for good. In other words, God acts through us to make God’s mercy real in the world through the ways the psalm describes.


The loving will of God is always turning the world toward good. But sometimes our lack of faith inhibits our insight into that holy turning. Sometimes we see only the surface of life and get caught in its tangles.

Prayer is the ointment that releases our inner vision to find God in all things, either calling us to foster good or to thwart evil, as our psalm describes. As we cooperate with this call, God’s everlasting creative action opens before us and we see the world, and our role in it, with new eyes.

Spoken Psalm::

Psalm 46: Building Hope

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Monday, November 9, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 46, a song of confidence, celebration, and joy.

The waters of the river gladden the city of God, 
the holy dwelling of the Most High!


A city gladdened! We know what it looks like. Just this week, we’ve seen it right here in my city, beloved Philadelphia – people dancing in the streets with those who are no longer strangers.

Perhaps people danced in the Roman plaza in 324 AD when Pope Sylvester dedicated the church. Not sure. But it is the power of a civic act, to give people a “place” wherein to claim renewed identity. ( The word “civic” comes from a Latin phrase describing an award given for a noble public deed.)


The dedication of St. John Lateran was such an act. The glorious building shouted out in its massive stones, “God lives among us, the Foundation of our lives.”

Or, as our psalmist puts it:

God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.


Our faith, and the morality it sustains, live deep under the surface of our lives, like the unseen roots of a magnificent tree. The power of those hidden roots is attested to by generations of leaves and branches unfurling in the cycle of life.

Those acts of faith, be they in the construction of sacred buildings or the washing of a beggar’s feet, shout out our conviction that, “God lives among us, the Foundation of our lives.” 

There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.


I began thinking about this reflection last night after President-Elect Biden’s acceptance speech. To me, the world felt lighter than it had in four years. It had begun to breathe again. Hope was returning to its perch in our hearts. This after the terrible fear that it might have died or gotten lost in a long migration into darkness.



I think it is the greatest of sins to kill hope,
especially for those who have only hope to cling to.
Because, indeed, as Joe Biden assured us last night,
when we share hope, we can do anything
in the God who strengthens us.


Hope is its own great “basilica”, built from the stones of mutual charity, reverence, and trust which God fires in our hearts:

The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things God has wrought on earth.

As we pray Psalm 42 today, let us ask for the continuing grace to exercise hope for and with one another.

Poetry: Hope Restored by Craig A. Roberts, a New Zealand poet. I thought this was a beautiful poem-prayer. His book of poetry can be found here.

Discouraging events, 
entangling thoughts,
melancholic tsunamis form
in quick time, devastating my soul,
destroying the joyful breath of life.
Surges of futility, rejection
and self pity breach the dykes.
I churn and tumble in dark sucking swells.

I call to Him who loves me in abundance.
Swiftly He comes,
plucks me out of dark waters.
He is here now.
He whispers of promises never broken,
reminds me of my calling,
my inward journey,
my vocation.

He reassures my heart,
He restores my poise.
He sends me to wander by the waters edge, 
immersed in His creative wonder
Christ breathes afresh into my created being.

O what joy. Bathed in His steadfast love
I trust all to Christ,
false illusions destroyed,
hope restored,
possibilities unfold,
His kingdom comes.

Music: On Eagle’s Wings – sung by Josh Groban 

Psalm 122: Enter, rejoicing!

Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

November 6, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 122, one of the Psalms of Ascent prayed as the community of Israel prepared to worship.

Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

The community was happy to be able to gather at the Temple/Jerusalem which was more than a physical place of worship. The Temple/Jerusalem was a stable symbol of God’s power and faithful presence to Israel. It was so significant a symbol that, even when destroyed, its power sustained the community of believers.


The “Temple” became much more than a building; Jerusalem much more than a city. The very concepts grew into living realities with which the believer formed a dynamic relationship. Within that relationship, the believer could meet and explore the mystery of God.

“Temple/Jerusalem” became an icon of one’s faith relationship with God.


As the psalm indicates, the believer must go out of oneself to dwell within this icon, to grow in this relationship. It is a place of full spiritual integration achieved through a lifting of the spirit into the joyful discipline of grace.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.

Psalm 22:3-4

The essence of this graceful transformation is to respond with profound gratitude to God’s invitation to love and mercy. Such a response raises our hearts to a new understanding of God’s Presence in every aspect of our lives.

According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.

Psalm 22:4-5

The psalm verses not included in today’s reading tell us that once we begin to live this sacred relationship, we become a force for peace and justice among our sisters and brothers.

For the peace of Jerusalem pray:
“May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your ramparts,
prosperity within your towers.”
For the sake of my brothers and friends I say,
“Peace be with you.”
For the sake of the house of the LORD, our God,
I pray for your good.

Psalm 22: 6-9

These verses seem like such a good prayer today.


Poem: from Rumi

Remember, 
the entrance door 
to the sanctuary 
is inside you.


Music: Fill This Temple Once Again – Don Moen and Benny Hinn 

Psalm 27: Waiting with Faith

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop

November 4, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 27, a brilliant testimony of faith and trust.


As you know, I write each day’s reflection on the preceding morning. As I write today, most polls have not opened. The political fate of the US remains hidden in a future yet unfolded. And yet you will be praying with this reflection on a morning when at least some of that fate will be known.

What to say then that will hold meaning no matter how the chips fall? The question was causing me some consternation until I opened to our psalm. 


God has an infinitely bigger view of reality than any one of us! And our psalm invites us to live in that “blessed assurance” despite the shifting exigencies of our lives.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?


Will the election outcome matter to me tomorrow when I wake up to pray? You’re darn right it will! But there is a foundational truth that matters far beyond the day’s circumstances:

One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate God’s eternal Presence.


Indeed, it is toward that hope that all our life’s energy must be directed. No matter who emerges victorious from the election, we must continue to work for a world where every person enjoys the bounty of the Lord.

Today I hope and pray for leaders who work with us, not against us, in that pursuit. In any case though, let us pray for courage to continue, with God’s grace, to build a “land of the living” for all God’s people.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.


Poem: Trust by Thomas R. Smith

It’s like so many other things in life   
to which you must say no or yes.                                    
So you take your car to the new mechanic.   
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.   
The package left with the disreputable-looking   
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,   
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—   
all show up at their intended destinations.   
The theft that could have happened doesn’t.   
Wind finally gets where it was going   
through the snowy trees, and the river, even               
when frozen, arrives at the right place.                        
And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life   
is delivered, even though you can’t read the address.

Music: Blessed Assurance sung by James Ingram

“Blessed Assurance” is a well-known Christian hymn.The lyrics were written in 1873 by writer Fanny Crosby who was blind. The melody was composed by Fanny’s friend Phoebe Knapp.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

Chorus:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Psalm 22: A Reverent Polity

Tuesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

November 3, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 22, and it’s perfect for our prayer today.

I know God has no partisan interest. God’s interest is for the wholeness and blessing of God’s Creation. God’s interest is for justice and mercy for the poor, sick and suffering. God’s interest is for peace in hearts, families and nations.

All the ends of the earth
shall remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of the nations
shall bow down before God.

For dominion is the LORD’s,
Who rules the nations.
To God alone shall bow down
all who sleep in the earth.

To God alone my soul shall live;
my descendants shall serve God.
Let the coming generation be told of the LORD
that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born
the justice God has shown.

Psalm 22

Still, let’s put it right out there. This is no ordinary Tuesday. Personally, I have been longing – no, agonizing – for this day since November 8, 2016. What about you?

I know there are many perspectives among my readers. Democrats and Republicans. Citizens of countries other than the USA. Still, I think all of us share some common hopes for today’s election because we care about all of God’s beloved Creation.

Here are some of my hopes.

I pray for, and believe that we must demand, a President and Congress who:

  • respect, reverence and legislate for life in all its stages, colors, genders, ethnicities, and religious and political affiliations.
  • do the hard work of building bridges, not walls, throughout the world
  • respect and care about those who are poor and marginalized
  • model American compassionate leadership rather than American isolationist primacy
  • generate unity and tolerance, not fear, division and hatred
  • choose others over self, truth over manipulation, leadership over greed
  • are thoughtful, brave statesmen and stateswomen not bullies and whiners

As we pray this psalm today, may we realize that to find these virtues in our leaders, we must first practice them ourselves. In the long run, we get what we deserve. Let’s humbly pray to live in a manner that propagates and deserves selfless moral leadership.

Poetry: LET US PRAY – Sister Joan Chittister 

Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.
In seeking a leader, let us seek
more than development of ourselves—
though development we hope for,
more than security for our own land—
though security we need,
more than satisfaction for our wants—
though many things we desire.

Give us the hearts to choose the leader
who will work with other leaders
to bring safety
to the whole world.

Give us leaders
who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose
our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.

Give us a government
that provides for the advancement
of this country
without taking resources from others
to achieve it.

Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power,
growth from greed,
leadership from dominancy,
and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.

We trust you, Great God,
to open our hearts to learn from those
to whom you speak in different tongues
and to respect the life and words
of those to whom you entrusted
the good of other parts of this globe.

We beg you, Great God,
give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights
for everyone everywhere.

We ask these things, Great God,
with minds open to your eternal care.

Joan Chittister, OSB

Music: America- rendered in true American Jazz by the inimitable Ray Charles

Oh beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self, their country loved
And mercy more than life
America, America may God thy gold refine
'Til all success be nobleness
And every gain divined

And you know when I was in school
We used to sing it something like this, listen here

Oh beautiful, for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain

But now wait a minute, I'm talking about
America, sweet America
You know, God done shed his grace on thee
He crowned thy good, yes he did, in brotherhood
From sea to shining sea

You know, I wish I had somebody to help me sing this
(America, America, God shed his grace on thee)
America, I love you America, you see
My God he done shed his grace on thee
And you oughta love him for it
'Cause he, he, he, he crowned thy good
He told me he would, with brotherhood
(From sea to shining Sea)
Oh Lord, oh Lord, I thank you Lord
(Shining sea)

Psalm 23: Light through the Dark

 The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed(All Souls)

November 2, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we commemorate the Holy Souls, a remembrance inextricably tied to yesterday’s celebration of All Saints. It is as if yesterday we prayed in the moon’s full light. Today, we pray on its shadow side.


We pray with Psalm 23, a psalm we have prayed scores of times at the funeral Masses of beloved family and friends. 

Just last month, we prayed it with a lighter tone, focusing on the sunlit field and restful waters.


Today, on this tender feast, we pray this psalm in its grey tones, with a lingering sense of bereavement and perhaps some uncertainty about afterlife’s mysteries.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; 
May the angels lead you into paradise;
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, 
may the martyrs receive you at your arrival
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem. 
and lead you to the holy city Jerusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, 
May choirs of angels receive you 
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere 
and with Lazarus, once poor,
æternam habeas requiem.
may you have eternal rest.


The popular theology – or more clearly “devotionalism”- surrounding All Souls Day has always challenged me. There is a discomfort with the concept of purgatory, and a time of temporal punishment for faithful but imperfect souls. I have always felt that there is enough suffering in this life to redeem us from the sinfulness we struggle with.

Our modern ideas of purgatory and hell still limp under concepts left over from the Middle Ages – fire, brimstone, and devils with pitch forks. My memory still shivers with images from my grade school choir when, at every funeral Mass, we sang the heavy tones of the Dies Irae with a priest clothed in black vestments.


Post-Vatican II theology has infused hope into that devotional gloom. It has refocused us on the truth informing our understanding of death so beautifully described in our reading from Wisdom:

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.

Wisdom 3:1-3

So what might be a reflective understanding of the core theology underlying this important day? The truth is that any theology is imperfect, and we do our best to imagine what is beyond our imagination.

But here are some ideas or beliefs that help my prayer:

  • our souls endure beyond physical death since they are the Breath of God
  • Christ has already paid the price of our sins and redeemed us on the Cross
  • still, we never lose our free will either in life or in death
  • we are free to choose for God or against God
  • some choose total alienation (popularly conceptualized as “hell”)
  • some choose union, but their choices are fragmented and weak at times, casting shadows over our wholeness or holiness 
  • those weak fragmentations may be healed in us even after death (purgatory) until the fullness of God’s Grace “dawns” on us and within us
  • that healing can be fostered by our prayer for one another throughout the Communion of Saints

All Souls Day is the celebration of that prayer and that healing
for those who have gone before us.
Today, we embrace all those beloved souls in our prayer,
and join the prayer of the whole Church for them.


Poetry: Comfort by Christine Robinson

I am a child of God
  I have everything I need.
This beautiful earth feeds my body.
  You feed my soul.

You guide me in the ways of Life,
  for You are Life.
And though I will walk through dark places, and eventually to death,
  I need never be afraid.

For You are with me always,
  In You I can find comfort.
With Your help, I can face whatever comes.
  
My joy overflows.
Your goodness and blessing will be with me
  Every day of my life -- and forever.

Music: Bach: Cantata No. 112, Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt 

Called to Be Saints

Solemnity of All Saints


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

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. I know you have too!

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, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 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 grateful conversation with them on this glorious feastday! And I would so love to see them noted in the comments so that we all may rejoice in their lives!

In the comments, you are invited to list five or six of your personal saints who blessed your life with grace. Please share if you can. I am sure this community would love to pray in thanksgiving with you for those who have so blessed your life. Here are just a few of mine:

  • Eleanor Mellon Yann
  • Jim Yann
  • Sister Mary Giovanni Wynne
  • Mother Mary Bernard Graham
  • Eunice Hunt
  • Clare Costello
  • Sister Mary Joan Thompson
  • Joe, on the heat grate at 17th and Arch
  • Every single, sweet soul at McAuley Convent who has blessed me by their faith and goodness

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 let my heart wash 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

Psalm 111: An Attitude of Gratitude

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 30, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 111 set in complementarity with a beautiful reading from Philippians.

The heart of both these readings is holy gratitude, that powerful spiritual gift that can completely transform our lives.


Although I have been generously blessed for my whole life, I had to learn this virtue, and I’m still learning. Its lessons are infinite, as is the God from Whom we learn them. God’s generous mercy and our humble gratitude generate the dynamic energy of our spiritual life.

A lifetime may not be long enough
to attune ourselves fully
to the harmony of the universe.
But just to become aware
that we can resonate with it —
that alone can be like
waking up from a dream.

― Brother David Steindl-Rast

Sometimes we take a lot for granted. We don’t notice. We don’t realize. We don’t savor the gift right in front of us, be it clothed in blessing or challenge.


Our readings today teach us some of the steps toward that “waking up” that Brother David describes.

  1. Prayer for those we know and love, and a generous mutuality in a community of believers:

I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you,
praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the Gospel
from the first day until now.

Philippians 1:3-5

2. Pausing to recognize that everything is God’s, and that God is bringing Creation to completion within each of our lives:

Majesty and glory are God’s work,
Whose justice endures forever.
God’s wondrous deeds have won renown;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.

Psalm 111:3-4

Certainly, it is easier to practice gratitude when we experience the fullness of God’s generosity. Eventually though, we can learn to be grateful even in times where God’s largesse may seem hidden, such as loss, change, or uncertainty. 

The continual practice of gratitude can help us find the sacred sweet point in every situation, discerning these questions

  • Where is God in this moment?
  • How is God offering me grace in this reality?

There are many other attitudes and habits that can school us in gratitude. One of the books that has changed my life is Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, where I learned about some of these practices. 


May we pray this for one another today:

“As we learn to give thanks for all of life and death, for all of this given world of ours, we find a deep joy. It is the joy of trust, the joy of faith in the faithfulness at the heart of all things. It is the joy of gratefulness in touch with the fullness of life.”

Brother David Steindl-Rast

Music: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart – Dan Moen

The “Impossibler” and His Buddy

October 28, 2020

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude. Since we have reflected on Psalm 19 twice recently, I have republished a reflection on the Apostles Simon and Jude whom we honor today.

Not much is really known about either of these men. One tradition suggests that after the Ascension, they went together to carry the Gospel to Persia where they were eventually martyred.

Since we have so few facts, many legends and interpretations have grown up around these two men. Probably the strongest and most familiar of these is of St. Jude as the patron of hopeless cases.

There are probably very few of us who haven’t asked at least one favor from St. Jude in our lifetimes. This probability begs the question of why and how do we pray with the saints.

Our tradition holds that we exist in the Communion of Saints with all of God’s creatures, and that we inspire and support one another by the sharing of our lives. This sharing is not limited by time, nor is it constricted by death.

When we pray with the saints, we draw on their faithful witness to inspire, motivate and sustain us in our lives.

Today, we might pray within the spirit of these two great Christians whose witness, though historically muted, transcends time. May they inspire in us the passion and joy to speak Christ in our lives.

Music: Apostles’ Creed – sung here by Rebecca Gorzynska, a beautiful and talented artist (Latin and English text below.)

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, 
Creatorem caeli et terrae,
et in Iesum Christum, 
Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,
qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, 
natus ex Maria Virgine,
passus sub Pontio Pilato, 
crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
descendit ad ínferos, 
tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,
ascendit ad caelos, 
sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis,
inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, 
sanctorum communionem,
remissionem peccatorum,
carnis resurrectionem,
vitam aeternam.
Amen

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord:
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven;
sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Amen. 
(Apostles’ Creed – Roman Ritual)