Alleluia: Unless …

Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
August 10, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/081022.cfm

St. Lawrence
Saint Lawrence. Mosaic from the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the feast of St. Lawrence who is noted for his love for those who were poor. Legend has it that Lawrence was demanded, before his martyrdom, to turn over the Church’s riches to the emperor Valerian. Instead, he distributed all the resources among the poor. Lawrence then gathered all these people, presenting them before Valerian with these words:

Behold in these poor persons 
the treasures which I promised to show you –
these are the true treasures of the Church.

Lawrence was likely inspired by readings like today’s. In Corinthians, Paul encourages us to be cheerful givers. He says this delights God, the Giver of Divine Abundance, whom we are imitating.


In our reading from John, Jesus says that only in dying to ourselves do we live – the ultimate generosity. He says that only by doing this can we truly follow him.

While these readings are clear and simple, they are so profound that we can hardly take in their message. What they ask of us is daunting! The encouragement Jesus gives us to respond to his challenge is this:

The Father will honor whoever serves me.

St. Lawrence believed and lived this promise. What about us?


Poetry: St. Laurence – Joyce Kilmer

Within the broken Vatican 
The murdered Pope is lying dead. 
The soldiers of Valerian 
Their evil hands are wet and red. 
Unarmed, unmoved, St. Laurence waits, 
His cassock is his only mail. 
The troops of Hell have burst the gates, 
But Christ is Lord, He shall prevail. 
They have encompassed him with steel, 
They spit upon his gentle face, 
He smiles and bleeds, nor will reveal 
The Church's hidden treasure-place. 
Ah, faithful steward, worthy knight, 
Well hast thou done. Behold thy fee! 
Since thou hast fought the goodly fight 
A martyr's death is fixed for thee. 
St. Laurence, pray for us to bear 
The faith which glorifies thy name. 
St. Laurence, pray for us to share 
The wounds of Love's consuming flame.

Music: Before the Bread – Elizabeth Alexander

We all want our lives to be full and complete – to be “bread”. But there are many steps before the grain of wheat becomes bread, as captured in this elegant acapella canon.

Alleluia: God’s Splendor

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
August 6, 2022

Today’s Readings: 

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/080622.cfm

Today, in God’ Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia.
This is my beloved Son,
with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.

Peter, James, and John – those whom the Lord would most heavily depend on at the time of the Crucifixion – these three were given a sacred privilege. They witnessed Christ transformed by his Divinity, shining before the Creator whose voice came down from heaven.

transfiguration

Icon of Transfiguration by Alexander Ainetdinov

Peter’s account in today’s second reading might seem almost too much to believe. Yet, Peter’s very human telling of the event is most convincing. He doesn’t wax eloquent about how privileged the three were. He simply describes the event and says, “We were terrified.” — as indeed we all might be if we came face to face with God’s glory.

Perhaps they received this gift in order to bolster them through the Passion and Death of Christ, or to open their hearts to believe in the Resurrection. These men were the key leaders who would pick up the message of Jesus when it appeared to fall to the earth at the foot of Cross. They needed a deeply confirmed faith.

So do we. We face a lot of faith-sapping realities in our world. And God does give us “Transfiguration Moments” too – times when the thin veil of hard reality is lifted and we glimpse the face of God. These moments may come at the birth of a child, the devotion of a beloved, the majesty of nature, the simplicity of silence, the deliverance from harm, the momentary awareness that our breath belongs to God.

We must savor and store these Lights, like the three disciples did, to strengthen ourselves for the shadows. As Peter says in his epistle:

… we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
You will do well to be attentive to it,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.


Poetry: Transfiguration – Malcolm Guite

For that one moment, ‘in and out of time’,
On that one mountain where all moments meet,
The daily veil that covers the sublime
In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet.
There were no angels full of eyes and wings
Just living glory full of truth and grace.
The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
Nor can this blackened sky, this darkened scar
Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.

Music: Transfiguration by Carey Landry

We behold the splendor of God shining on the face of Jesus.
We behold the splendor of God shining on the face of the Son.
And oh, how his beauty transforms us, the wonder of presence abiding.
Transparent hearts give reflection of Tabor’s light within, of Tabor’s light within.
Jesus, Lord of Glory, Jesus, Beloved Son, oh, how good to be with you;
how good to share your light; how good to share your light.

Alleluia: God of the Storm

Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
August 2, 2022

Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/080222.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we begin with a puzzling passage from Jeremiah. Verses 12-15 describe an Israel which, spiritually, is terminally ill.

For thus says the LORD:
Incurable is your wound,
grievous your injury;

There is none to plead your case,
no remedy for your running sore,
no healing for you.

Jeremiah 30: 12-14

The puzzling part comes with the dramatic shift at verses 16-17 when God seems to step out of Israel’s storm to cure her:

Yet all who devour you shall be devoured,
all your enemies shall go into exile.
All who plunder you shall become plunder,
all who pillage you I will hand over to be pillaged.l

For I will restore your health;
I will heal your injuries—oracle of the LORD.
“The outcast” they have called you,
“whom no one looks for.”

Jeremiah 30: 16-17

So what’s the point of the whole Jeremiah passage for us? Perhaps for today we can find that meaning in Matthew’s story of the stormy sea.

… the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.

It’s rather easy to find God on a clear, pleasant day. It’s not so easy when God walks toward us out of life’s storms. Jeremiah was challenging Israel to find God in a storm. Jesus is challenging Peter to trust and do the same.

God doesn’t send storms to test us. Life is just stormy some times — that’s just the way it is. Faith asks us to trust that God is with us at such times and can use even chaotic circumstances to bring us closer to God’s heart. Hananiah was afraid to believe that so he made up a lie. Peter was half-brave enough to try to believe, and Jesus helped him the rest of the way.

At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”

Oh boy, that first step into nothing but waves is a doozy, isn’t it! But with God’s help, we can pass through the storm holding God’s hand into even deeper faith and trust for the rest of life’s voyage.

But when Peter saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

Poetry: Catastrophe Is Next to Godliness – Franny Choi

Lord, I confess I want the clarity of catastrophe but not the catastrophe.
Like everyone else, I want a storm I can dance in.
I want an excuse to change my life.
The day A. died, the sun was brighter than any sun.
I answered the phone, and a channel opened
between my stupid head and heaven, or what was left of it. The blankness
stared back; and I made sound after sound with my blood-wet gullet.
O unsayable—O tender and divine unsayable, I knew you then:
you line straight to the planet’s calamitous core; you moment moment moment;
you intimate abyss I called sister for a good reason.
When the Bad Thing happened, I saw every blade.
And every year I find out what they’ve done to us, I shed another skin.
I get closer to open air; true north.
Lord, if I say Bless the cold water you throw on my face,
does that make me a costume party. Am I greedy for comfort
if I ask you not to kill my friends; if I beg you to press
your heel against my throat—not enough to ruin me,
but just so—just so I can almost see your face—

Music: God of the Storm – The Freemans

Alleluia: For the Sake of Righteousness

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 30, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/073022.cfm

Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted
for the sake of righteousness
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

( Dear Friends, I have just come home from the funeral of one of our Sisters – a beloved, holy, humble human being – full of love, generosity and joy. I would love to offer today’s reflection based on the power of her Home-Going Ceremony. But I need more time to let that brew in my heart. So, since I am running quite late, I am offering an edited reflection from two years ago for today’s reflection. But, trust me, you will be hearing soon about the miracle of Sister Margery Lowry.)


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jeremiah and John the Baptist are living out the meaning.of Psalm 69.

Each of these great prophets has been ensnared by the civic evil of their times, personified in Old Testament princes and New Testament Herod and Herodias. The power structure surrounding each prophet stood in direct contradiction to their witness to God’s Word. Those structures, when confronted with a sacred truth, tried to overwhelm the messenger, like quicksand swallows an innocent traveler.

Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink!
may I be rescued from my foes,
and from the watery depths.
Let not the flood-waters overwhelm me,
nor the abyss swallow me up,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.


Psalm 69 raises to our prayer the reality that such struggles continue in our time. We live in a wonderful but still sinful world where every person decides, everyday, where he or she will stand in the contest between good and evil.

The decision is sometimes very clear. At other times, the waters are so muddied with lies, propaganda, greed, fear, bias. and unexamined privilege that we feel mired in confusion or resistance.

But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 69 throws us a rescue line in today’s final verse:

See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds God spurns not.

The steady path to truth lies with those who seek God among the humble and poor. The humble are the ones through whom the Lord speaks. They are God’s own. Jeremiah and the Baptist understood this truth and preached it by their lives.

We might examine our lives today in the light of their witness and the message of this challenging psalm.


Poetry:  Beginners – Denise Levertov

‘From too much love of living,
Hope and desire set free,
Even the weariest river
Winds somewhere to the sea—‘


But we have only begun
to love the earth.
We have only begun
to imagine the fullness of life.
How could we tire of hope?
—so much is in bud.
How can desire fail?
—we have only begun
to imagine justice and mercy,
only begun to envision
how it might be
to live as siblings with beast and flower,
not as oppressors.
Surely our river
cannot already be hastening
into the sea of nonbeing?
Surely it cannot
drag, in the silt,
all that is innocent?
Not yet, not yet—
there is too much broken
that must be mended,
too much hurt we have done to each other
that cannot yet be forgiven.
We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.
So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,
so much is in bud.

Music:  The Cry of the Poor – John Foley, SJ

Alleluia: Friends of God

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 27, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/072722.cfm

Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you
all that the Father has told me.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings begin with Jeremiah’s heartfelt lament.

Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth!
a man of strife and contention to all the land!

Jeremiah 15:10

The cry reminds us of Isaiah’s words heard during Lent to describe Jesus’s Passion, words which inspired a magnificent aria in Handel’s Messiah::

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with sorrow. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Isaiah 53:3

It is not always easy to be a  “friend of God”. These scriptures paint a clear picture of the prophet’s painful path – whether Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jesus, or today’s prophets like Pope Francis. There will always be enemies who, for the sake of their twisted self-interest, attack good with evil.


But there is also always hope. God is with us, a stronghold of Mercy, as our Responsorial Psalm tells us:

But I will sing of your strength
and revel at dawn in your mercy;
You have been my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of distress.

O my strength! your praise will I sing;
for you, O God, are my stronghold,
my merciful God!

Psalm 59: 10-11; 17,18

Our Gospel assures us that, though at times costly, there is no treasure greater than God’s friendship.

The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells everything to buy that field.

Notice that the person patiently plans to buy the whole field, not just the one discovered gem. Friendship with God never exhausts its hidden surprises. There are always more treasures in the field as we grow deeper in God’s love.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Poem: The Bright Field – R.S. Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

Music: The Field – Kristene DiMarco (Lyrics below)

What do I have but Jesus
I have found no one Like Him
All the World has 
loses its Appeal
When He Stands beside me

[Chorus]
The World can keep its Praises
All its Riches and its Treasures
‘Cause there’s nothing
Like His Presence to me
And man may give their Favor
All their Fleeting awe and Honor
But there’s nothing
Like His Presence to me

[Verse 2]
What do I have but Jesus
Nothing I’ve gained Compares
His Friendship is all
The Strength I need
To never grow weary

[Chorus]
The World can keep its Praises
All its Riches and its Treasures
‘Cause there’s nothing
Like His Presence to me
And man may give their Favor
All their Fleeting awe and Honor
But there’s nothing
Like His Presence to me

[Outro]
I bought the Field
And I keep digging up
More Treasure
It turns out it’s here in the ground
I could never Measure
Is there even a Cost if I end up
Holding Heaven
Oh, the Beauty of Living
In Your Presence

Alleluia: Insulted Yet Blessed

Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 9, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/070922.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse captures the mixed and even contradictory conditions awaiting a dedicated disciple of Christ:

Alleluia, alleluia.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ,
blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.


This brief verse immediately brought to my mind the image of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. He had wonderful, faith-filled dialogues with God about his seemingly contradictory “blessings”.

So here’s a snapshot of how I prayed with our verse today:

God: You’re going to be insulted for your faith, but consider it a blessing. 
Me: What! Wait a minute! Maybe I’d prefer some more obvious blessings!
God: No, you’re going to be insulted for your faith, but it’s a sign that my Spirit rests upon you.
Me: ….. Crickets


I have been insulted and harassed for my faith, but not too often. Usually that occasional insult has come from a sad or dysfunctional source who caused more harm to themselves than to me.


The greatest insult to my faith has come from within the Church itself. The clerical sex abuse scandals and cover-ups of recent years deeply shook the investment I had made in service of the Church. The revelations mocked the innocent trust I had unquestioningly placed in the institutional Church. They invited public insult toward me and toward all of us associated with that now exposed institution.

Although my pain cannot be compared to the trauma of survivors of abuse, it has been a seismic insult and has forced me to a deeper discernment of my faith. While profoundly painful, this “insult” has, indeed, been a blessing which has helped me to separate my true Catholic faith from any misplaced institutional devotion.


The closing verses of today’s Gospel are both a warning and a pledge for those who commit themselves to Christ:

And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.


Poetry: The Break of Faith – Renee Yann, RSM

My father walked with me each day in Lent
past neighbors’ homes with names
and histories like mine,
to church, where laborers in solid faith,
received a Host before the Mass began
and left to be at work on time.

Some days, my father left but I remained
secure among the faithful whose
religion was a sure as rock.
I trusted and believed their saying
salvation was reserved for those
within the Church, praying
at ten or twelve to be like
the elite who held the ancient definitions
of the God I longed to know.  
Those devoted people were 
the heroes of my youth.
I beat my breast with secret joy and knelt
beside them in the unexamined truth.

Some were robed in black and wafted
scents of incense and of candle wax
that were to me like fine, intoxicant perfume.
Through them, I chose the worship of a God
who was the slim abstraction of my mind
the mute extension of my whim.

But my mind is not the tender thing it was.
The years have passed and I have hardened 
to them, like a lone, maturing tree.
The deeply venerated guides I loved
have journeyed with my father to the pale,
expanded universe of memory.

That I stand questioning them now is jeopardy
against the very pegs that ground my life.
I am outside the Church they held for me
because it seems a box remote from God,
who, with the years, assumed Creation’s face,
became a fire in my heart, consuming
those securities I designated once as faith.

The theologian says we walk in footsteps of a God
who comes to us from futures we cannot define.
That God of paradox is breaking in my mind
like lava breaks from stolid earth 
to recreate the world. But,
with an utterly profound regret,
I leave the heroes and the saints of youth behind.

Music: Renouncement – Michael Hoppé

Alleluia: Trust!

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
June 28, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/062822.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse, like so many of the Psalms, encourages us to TRUST.

“24” was an action-packed show popular a couple of decades ago. In that TV series, the protagonist was played by a tough Kiefer Sutherland. Iconic to each episode was his repeated assurance to his allies, “Trust me”. Doing so would supposedly get them out of every possible kind of fix!

Trusting him usually brought a few hairy escapes, gunfights and explosions. And I guess it can feel like that sometimes when we think we trust God.  But it shouldn’t.

Real and full trust in God yields deep peace
which then impels us to act for justice and mercy.

Alleluia, alleluia.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in God’s word.

Our readings this week from the prophet Amos portray a morally confused community who are tumbling toward God’s wrath. The prophet uses stunning imagery to declare his warning and to call the people to a repentance which acts for justice toward the poor and suffering.

The prophet speaks in imagery. The point is not a literal one. The point, rather, is to recognize that the cost of a disordered public life is inescapably very great. The cost cannot be denied or understated.

Walter Brueggemann

We too as a global community, and as individuals, are called to live lives ordered on God’s Law – lives patterned on justice, mercy, and love for all people.

How do you think we’re doing with that? I think Amos would have preaching tirade if he lived in our day!


But as our Alleluia Verse and our Gospel indicate, a first step toward redemption is TRUST. God is with us. Jesus is “in our boat”. These passages encourage us to get to know, understand, and trust God’s Presence through growing familiarity with the Word.

Once our spirits rest in this kind of assurance, we will have the freedom and courage not only to face ourselves, but to act for true justice, mercy, and love for every person.


Poetry: Poem 8 – Hadewijch of Antwerp, a 13th century mystic and poet.

Born is the new season as the old one that lasted so long is drawing to a close.
Those prepared to do love’s service will receive her rewards: new comfort and new strength.
If they love her with the vigor of love, they will soon be one with love in love.
To be one with love is an awesome calling and those who long for it should spare no effort.
Beyond all reason they will give their all and go through all.
For love dwells so deep in the womb of the Father that her power will unfold only to those who serve her with utter devotion.
First the lover must learn charity and keep God’s law.
Then he shall be blessed a hundredfold, and he shall do great things without great effort, and bear all pain without suffering.
And so his life will surpass human reason indeed.
Those who long to be one with love achieve great things, and shirk no effort.
They shall be strong and capable of any task that will win them the love of love, to help the sick or the healthy, the blind, the crippled or the wounded.
For this is what the lover owes to love.
He shall help the strangers and give to the poor and soothe the suffering whenever he can.
He shall pay loyal service to God’s friends, to saints and men, with a strength that is not human, by night and by day.
And when his strength seems to falter he will still place his trust in love.
Those who trust in love with all their being shall be given all they need.
For she brings comfort to the sad and guidance to those who cannot read.
Love will be pleased with the lover if he accepts no other comfort and trusts in her alone.
Those who desire to live in love alone with all their might and heart shall so dispose all things that they shall soon possess her all.

Music: Sleep in the Storm – by Unspoken Music

(Captures the essence of today’s Gospel where Jesus sleeps in a gusty storm – TRUST!)

Alleluia: I’m Rich!

Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
June 18, 2022

Today’s readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/061822.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse tells us a secret: there is a greater wealth than this world would have us believe. It is a wealth contradicted by human definitions but proven in the Resurrection of Christ.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

This secret doesn’t make sense to one without faith. But if we observe the Iives of those with faith, we will discover their accumulating riches: peace, joy, trust, enthusiasm, hope, gratitude, wisdom, courage….


The Gospel to which our verse leads describes such a faithful life:

Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.

Matthew 6: 26-27

Does this all mean we won’t have challenges in our lives, or disappointment, or suffering? No, I don’t think so.

What is does mean is that we will know what is truly important and precious in our lives – those things that “money can’t buy”. And we will honor them, work for them, share them. Hopefully, people can look at us and find that kind of wealth.


Poetry: Worry About Money – Kathleen Raine

Wearing worry about money like a hair shirt
I lie down in my bed and wrestle with my angel.

My bank-manager could not sanction my continuance for another day
But life itself wakes me each morning, and love

Urges me to give although I have no money
In the bank at this moment, and ought properly

To cease to exist in a world where poverty
Is a shameful and ridiculous offence.

Having no one to advise me, I open the Bible
And shut my eyes and put my finger on a text

And read that the widow with the young son
Must give first to the prophetic genius
From the little there is in the bin of flour and the cruse of oil.


Music: two songs today – one for reflection and one for fun

The Glory Way – Badnarik

Side by Side – Brenda Lee

Alleluia: A Lamp to My Feet

Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church
June 13, 2022

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/061322.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy. we thank God for lighting our path.

Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.


I know each one of us has come home late at night, maybe in a heavy rain. The way home is dark and we are unsure of ourselves in the gloom. Depending on how far we’re coming from, the journey can be harrowing. We can’t wait to see that light in our very familiar and cozy front window.

This feeling is so universal that one hotel chain has capitalized upon it:


Our Alleluia Verse today recognizes that God has, and always will “leave the light on for us”. Grace awaits us in every circumstance if we turn our hearts to God.

The tough part is doing that when we feel a little bit panicky in the dark. It takes courage to be still and let God’s Light find us. We can become better and stronger by gratefully remembering all the times God has already brought us home to wholeness.

God has not failed us in the past and will not fail us now, or in the future.


Poetry: At a Window – Carl Sandburg

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!
But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.

Music: Guiding Light – Alan Scott

Alleluia: Lean into God!

Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle
Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
June 11, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we ask God to help us set our hearts in the right direction — toward God in all things.

And we express the blessed insight that to live within God’s Law is to be favored.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees;
and favor me with your law.


Here’s the way I picture this prayer.

Life is like a rip tide. It can capture us and pull us under its breakers when we least expect it. But as any good ocean swimmer knows, when we are caught in a rip tide, we must relax, lean into it, and swim perpendicular to its force.


Our Alleluia Verse today is kind of a “rip-tide prayer”. We ask for the courage to lean into God’s power in our lives, to trust it, and to swim with it even though it contradicts a godless culture.


God promises that there is always a current of grace to carry us to the Divine Heart, but our efforts alone cannot sustain us. As in Psalm 86, we can ask God to do a little leaning toward us to help us out in a tough sea! 🙂

May we ever incline our hearts to God’s Love already leaning over us in Mercy.


Poetry: You are so weak – Rumi

You are so weak.
Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave ’til it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.

Music: Oceans – Hillsong