Zap?

October 23, 2021
Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 24 in which the psalmist expresses the heart’s deep longing for God:

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
    or who may stand in that holy place?
The one whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
    who desires not what is vain.
Who shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
    a reward from God the savior.
Such is the race that seeks for God,
    that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

Psalm 24: 5-6

But achieving those sinless hands and clean heart is not always an easy task. It takes a life focused on faith and rooted in love.

Jesus talks about that focus in today’s Gospel.

Jesus gives us a parable which, at first, appears to say, “Get your act together fast, or God might zap you.” From Jesus’s words, we can assume that some public disasters have recently occurred. Those in the gathered crowd are unnerved by these events.

Jesus uses that nervousness to talk about repentance. He tells the people that tragedy can make us wake up to the fact that life is fragile and fleeting. That awareness should make us want to use our time on earth well, to give glory to God.

The repentance Jesus encourages is not just a contrition, or turning from sin. It is an opening of the soul’s eyes to see our lives and circumstances as God sees them.

Is God going to zap us if we don’t have that kind of repentance? No, I think not.

God is always Mercy …
always, always Mercy.

With the parable of the fruitless fig tree, Jesus assures us that God is with us, giving us every grace and opportunity to bear spiritual fruit. God is patient and nurturing. But, in every human life, there is a limit to the time we have to respond.


Poetry: The Facts of Life – Pádraig Ó Tuama

That you were born
and you will die.

That you will sometimes love enough
and sometimes not.

That you will lie
if only to yourself.

That you will get tired.

That you will learn most from the situations
you did not choose.

That there will be some things that move you
more than you can say.

That you will live
that you must be loved.

That you will avoid questions most urgently in need of
your attention.

That you began as the fusion of a sperm and an egg
of two people who once were strangers
and may well still be.

That life isn’t fair.
That life is sometimes good
and sometimes better than good.

That life is often not so good.

That life is real
and if you can survive it, well,
survive it well
with love
and art
and meaning given
where meaning’s scarce.

That you will learn to live with regret.
That you will learn to live with respect.

That the structures that constrict you
may not be permanently constricting.

That you will probably be okay.

That you must accept change
before you die
but you will die anyway.

So you might as well live
and you might as well love.
You might as well love.
You might as well love.


Music: Calm the Soul – Poor Clares Galway

Seeking and Waiting

October 19, 2021
Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy,  we pray with Psalm 40 in which the psalmist prays for all who seek God and faithfully wait on God’s salvation:

May all who seek you
    exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
    say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”

Psalm 40:17

Luke’s Gospel describes the expectant fidelity God gives us and desires from us. In other words, God waits for us too!

The master of the house was away on a long journey. Likely he would have tried to return home in daylight, because the ancient roads were dark and menacing at night. Perhaps the evening meal was already prepared in anticipation of his arrival. But he does not appear over the distant rise where all the household’s eyes are trained.


You know how they waited. You’ve waited for loved ones coming home in bad weather. You’ve waited for beloved holiday guests when flights are delayed or traffic is snarled.

You watch for headlights cresting down the far road. You listen for the sound of a car door closing. Minutes seem like hours. The perfectly prepared meal cools, and your energy slackens as you pick at the olives and breadsticks.


Sometimes our prayer life feels like that. We do all the things necessary to welcome God’s grace, but instead we feel distant from the Divine Presence. We long for God’s warm blessing over the feast of our life, but God tarries somewhere at the other edge of our hope.  We feel like these Gospel servants who wait, exhausted, even into the early morning hours.

But we don’t give up. Our hope remains steadfast because God has promised. And it is in that fidelity that our eyes are opened to realize that God had been present all along — just not looking as we had expected.

It turns out that God is the One who had been waiting… waiting for us to see.


Poetry: Waiting by Leza Lowitz

You keep waiting for something to happen,
the thing that lifts you out of yourself,

catapults you into doing all the things you've put off
the great things you're meant to do in your life,

but somehow never quite get to.
You keep waiting for the planets to shift

the new moon to bring news,
the universe to align, something to give.

Meanwhile, the pile of papers, the laundry, the dishes, the job –
it all stacks up while you keep hoping

for some miracle to blast down upon you,
scattering the piles to the winds.

Sometimes you lie in bed, terrified of your life.
Sometimes you laugh at the privilege of waking.

But all the while, life goes on in its messy way.
And then you turn forty. Or fifty. Or sixty...

and some part of you realizes you are not alone
and you find signs of this in the animal kingdom

when a snake sheds its skin its eyes glaze over,
it slinks under a rock, not wanting to be touched,

and when caterpillar turns to butterfly
if the pupa is brushed, it will die –

and when the bird taps its beak hungrily against the egg
it's because the thing is too small, too small,

and it needs to break out.
And midlife walks you into that wisdom

that this is what transformation looks like –
the mess of it, the tapping at the walls of your life,

the yearning and writhing and pushing,
until one day, one day

you emerge from the wreck
embracing both the immense dawn

and the dusk of the body,
glistening, beautiful

just as you are.

Music: A country tune today, maybe overly simple. But I find some country music has a profound nugget of truth buried in the twang. I hope you can enjoy it.

He Was There All the Time ~ Gary S. Paxton

Teresa of Avila

October 15, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, on this feast of the great St. Teresa of Ávila, we pray with Psalm 32:

You are my shelter; you guard me from distress;
with joyful shouts of deliverance you surround me.

Psalm 32:7

We have all experienced these types of moments when we feel “delivered”.

  • We might have been praying for someone’s health, or our own.
  • We might have been caught in a difficult decision.
  • We might have been waiting for an acceptance letter or call.
  • We might have been hoping our apology would be accepted, or that one would be given.
  • We might have been aching for an inspiration, a thread of hope, or a new understanding.

And then —- Light!

We know what it feels like when the Light comes. But often, it is not the light we had expected. True “deliverance” comes not from shedding a worrisome circumstance. Instead, it comes from being incorporated into an unshakable faith and trust, as St. Teresa of Ávila describes it:

May today there be peace within. 
May you trust God that
you are exactly where you are meant to be. 
May you not forget
the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. 
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you. 
May you be content knowing you are a child of God. 
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom
to sing, dance, praise and love. 
It is there for each and every one of us.


Poem: Nada Te Turbe – Teresa of Ávila

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing:
God alone is changeless.
Patience 
obtains all things.
Whoever has God 
lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Nada te turbe,
Nada te espante.
Todo se pasa.
Dios no se muda.
La paciencia 
Todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene,
Nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.


Music: Two beautiful selections today

  1. Voice in My Heart – Iris Koh

2. A reflection in Spanish from the Discalced Carmelite Sisters

Pure Grace

Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time 
October 14, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 130 which promises that, even when we are in the depths, God offers us “the fullness of redemption”.

Let Israel hope in the LORD,
For with the LORD is mercy,
and plenteous redemption.

Psalm 130:7

For Paul in our first reading today, who is preaching a universal salvation in Jesus Christ, those “depths” are sin:

For there is no distinction; (between Jew and Gentile)
all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.

Romans 3:2-24

Paul then declares a core teaching of the New Covenant

They are justified freely by God’s grace
through the redemption in Christ Jesus…

Romans 3:24

Paul is preaching to a community in which a few “boasters” have surfaced – people who felt they could reinterpret and codify the Gospel their own way – like the Pharisees and lawyers do with the Mosaic Law in our reading from Luke today .

Paul is correcting that falsehood. He uses a lot of words to explicate the Gospel’s core tenet of universal redemption by grace. But for me, they are “theology words” not “prayer words”.


What I choose to pray with is this awesome truth:

God loves me so much
as to redeem me
from the depths of spiritual alienation
through the Gift of Jesus Christ.

The people in today’s Gospel refused to recognize and accept that all-defining gift. If they had, everything about their lives would have been transformed. And worse yet, by their exalted positions as scholars and leaders, they used their power to block others from learning about and receiving this Transcendent Grace.


In every generation, there are “religionists” who decide what elements of doctrine satisfy their own needs and desires. They preach that fragmented and divisive catechism to advance their self-serving agendas. They design laws which inhibit rather than assist people in opening their spirits to God’s merciful fullness.


Our readings today call us rise from the depths of any such inhibitions:

  • to cherish the gift of our redemption in Christ
  • to meditate on and educate ourselves in a true understanding of that gift
  • to test ourselves for an honest and inclusive faith rooted in the righteousness of God

Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
though testified to by the law and the prophets,
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
for all who believe.

Romans 3:21

Poetry: CONSUMED IN GRACE – Catherine of Siena 
From ‘Love Poems From God‘ by Daniel Ladinsky. 

I first saw God when I was a child, six years of age.
the cheeks of the sun were pale before Him,
and the earth acted as a shy
girl, like me.
Divine light entered my heart from His love
that did never fully wane,
though indeed, dear, I can understand how a person’s 
faith can at time flicker,
for what is the mind to do
with something that becomes the mind’s ruin:
a God that consumes us
in His grace.
I have seen what you want;
it is there,
a Beloved of infinite 
tenderness.

Music: Amazing Grace – written by John Newton, sung by Il Divo

The Little Flower

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Friday, October 1, 2021

Thérèse of Lisieux (2 January 1873 – 30 September 1897) 
was a French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun 
who is widely venerated in modern times. 
She is popularly known in English as "The Little Flower”.  
In her short life, she radiated a sacred simplicity, 
often referred to as “The Little Way” 
which has inspired generations of spiritual seekers. 
Pope Pius X called her the greatest saint of modern times.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, in place of the dour readings of the day, we pray with some thoughts from the Little Flower herself:

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy.


When one loves, one does not calculate.


The world’s your ship and not your home.


Poetry: To Live in Love by Thérèse of the Child Jesus – a beautiful long prayer-poem. You may wish to use just a stanza or two, or to pray with the musical version below.

If any one love Me, they will keep My word and My Father will love them
and We will come to them and make Our abode with them…
My peace I give unto you … Abide in My love.”
(John 14, 23,27,-15:9)

The eve His life of love drew near its end,
Thus Jesus spoke: “Whoever loveth Me,
And keeps My word as Mine own faithful friend,
My Father, then and I his guests will be;
Within his heart will make Our dwelling above.
Our palace home, true type of heaven above.
There, filled with peace, We will that he shall rest,
With us, in love.

Incarnate Word! Thou Word of God alone!
To live of love, ’tis to abide with Thee.
Thou knowest I love Thee, Jesus Christ, my Own!
Thy Spirit’s fire of love enkindleth me.
By loving Thee, I draw the Father here
Down to my heart, to stay with me always.
Blest Trinity! Thou art my prisoner dear,
Of love, to-day.

To live of love, ’tis by Thy life to live,
O glorious King, my chosen, sole Delight!
Hid in the Host, how often Thou dost give
Thyself to those who seek Thy radiant light.
Then hid shall be my life, unmarked, unknown,
That I may have Thee heart to heart with me;
For loving souls desire to be alone,
With love, and Thee!

To live of love, ’tis not to fix one’s tent
On Tabor’s height and there with Thee remain.
‘Tis to climb Calvary with strength nigh spent,
And count Thy heavy cross our truest gain.
In heaven, my life a life of joy shall be,
The heavy cross shall then be gone for aye.
Here upon earth, in suffering with Thee,
Love! let me stay.

To live of love, ’tis without stint to give,
An never count the cost, nor ask reward;
So, counting not the cost, I long to live
And show my dauntless love for Thee, dear Lord!
O Heart Divine, o’erflowing with tenderness,
How swift I run, who all to Thee has given!
Naught but Thy love I need, my life to bless.
That love is heaven!

To live of love, it is to know no fear;
No memory of past faults can I recall;
No imprint of my sins remaineth here;
The fire of Love divine effaces all.
O sacred flames! O furnace of delight!
I sing my safe sweet happiness to prove.
In these mild fires I dwell by day, by night.
I live of love!

To live of love, ’tis in my heart to guard
A mighty treasure in a fragile vase.
Weak, weak, am I, O well beloved Lord!
Nor have I yet an angel’s perfect grace.
But, if I fall each hour that hurries by,
Thou com’st to me from Thy bright home above,
And, raising me, dost give me strength to cry:
I live of love!

To live of love it is to sail afar
And bring both peace and joy where’er I be.
0 Pilot blest! love is my guiding star;
In every soul I meet, Thyself I see.
Safe sail I on, through wind or rain or ice;
Love urges me, love conquers every gale.
High on my mast behold is my device:
“By love I sail!”

To live of love, it is when Jesus sleeps
To sleep near Him, though stormy waves beat nigh.
Deem not I shall awake Him! On these deeps
Peace reigns, like that the Blessed know on high.
To Hope, the voyage seems one little day;
Faith’s hand shall soon the veil between remove;
‘Tis Charity that swells my sail always.
I live of love!

To live of love, 0 Master dearest, best!
It is to beg Thee light Thy holiest fires
Within the soul of each anointed priest,
Till he shall feel the Seraphim’s desires;
It is to beg Thee guard Thy Church, 0 Christ!
For this I plead with Thee by night, by day;
And give myself, in sacrifice unpriced,
With love always!

To live of love, it is to dry Thy tears,
To seek for pardon for each sinful soul,
To strive to save all men from doubts and fears,
And bring them home to Thy benign control.
Comes to my ear sin’s wild and blasphemous roar;
So, to efface each day, that burning shame,
I cry: ” 0 Jesus Christ! I Thee adore.
I love Thy Name!”

To live of love, ’tis Mary’s part to share,
To bathe with tears and odorous perfume
Thy holy feet, to wipe them with my hair,
To kiss them; then still loftier lot assume,
To rise, and by Thy side to take my place,
And pour my ointments on Thy holy head.
But with no balsams I embalm Thy Face!
‘Tis love, instead!

“To live of love, what foolishness she sings!”
So cries the world. “Renounce such idle joy!
Waste not thy perfumes on such trivial things.
In useful arts thy talents now employ!”
To love Thee, Jesus! Ah, this loss is gain;
For all my perfumes no reward seek I.
Quitting the world, I sing in death’s sweet pain:
Of love I die!

To die of love, O martyrdom most blest!
For this I long, this is my heart’s desire;
My exile ends; I soon will be at rest.
Ye Cherubim, lend, lend to me your lyre!
O dart of Seraphim, O flame of love,
Consume me wholly; hear my ardent cry!
Jesu, make real my dream! Come Holy Dove!
Of love I die!

To die of love, behold my life’s long hope!
God is my one exceeding great reward.
He of my wishes forms the end and scope;
Him only do I seek; my dearest Lord.
With passionate love for Him my heart is riven.
O may He quickly come! He draweth nigh!
Behold my destiny, behold my heaven,
OF LOVE TO DIE.

February 25, 1895 


Music: St. Thérèse’s Canticle of Love – Sister Marie Thérèse Sokol, OCD

Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 138 which begins with the beautiful  verse:

I will praise You with my whole heart…

Abraham with the Three Angels – Rembrandt

As we celebrate the feast of the three great archangels, known to us by name because of their appearances in the Bible, we are invited to explore all the aspects of our spirituality – our whole heart.


As bodily beings, we might most often pray by using our senses:

  • with what we read and see with our eyes
  • with vocal prayer or soulful music
  • with the transporting aroma of incense
  • with the tactile assurance of a rosary over our fingertips

But we are also spiritual beings. There are dimensions of our experience that could never be put into words. There are melodies playing within us too profound to be rendered in notes.

There is a Presence within us beyond and greater than ourselves, breathed into us at our creation, and longing for the fulfillment of Heaven. Our human experience is like a shadow cast over time by the Great Light Who lives and loves in us.


The angels are beings released from that shadow. They completely dwell in and radiate the One Who breathed them forth in the fullness of Light. They are the ones who companion us to the wondrous edges of our own possibility –

as Raphael did for Tobit (Tobit 12:1-22)
as Michael did for Daniel (Daniel 10:13-21)
as Gabriel did for Mary (Luke 1:26-38)

These stories might inspire us today to speak and listen to our angels, one of whom is particularly charged to guide us.


Poetry: A Sonnet for St. Michael the Archangel – Malcolm Guite

Michaelmas gales assail the waning year,
And Michael’s scale is true, his blade is bright.
He strips dead leaves; and leaves the living clear
To flourish in the touch and reach of light.
Archangel bring your balance, help me turn
Upon this turning world with you and dance
In the Great Dance. Draw near, help me discern,
And trace the hidden grace in change and chance.
Angel of fire, Love’s fierce radiance,
Drive through the deep until the steep waves part,
Undo the dragon’s sinuous influence
And pierce the clotted darkness in my heart.
Unchain the child you find there, break the spell
And overthrow the tyrannies of Hell.

Music: Confitebor Tibi Domine – Francisco Valls

Psalmus 138Psalm 138
1 Confitebor tibi Domine in toto corde meo quoniam audisti verba oris mei in conspectu angelorum psallam tibi1 I will praise thee, O lord, with my whole heart: for thou hast heard the words of my mouth. I will sing praise to thee in the sight of his angels:
2 Adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum et confitebor nomini tuo super misericordia tua et veritate tua quoniam magnificasti super omne nomen sanctum tuum2 I will worship towards thy holy temple, and I will give glory to thy name. For thy mercy, and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy holy name above all.
3 In quacumque die invocavero te exaudi me multiplicabis me in anima mea virtute3 In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me: thou shall multiply strength in my soul.
4 Confiteantur tibi Domine omnes reges terrae quia audierunt omnia verba oris tui4 May all the kings of the earth give glory to thee: for they have heard all the words of thy mouth.
5 Et cantent in viis Domini quoniam magna gloria Domini5 And let them sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 Quoniam excelsus Dominus et humilia respicit et alta a longe cognos cit6 For the Lord is high, and looketh on the low: and the high he knoweth afar off.
7 Si ambulavero in medio tribulationis vivificabis me super iram inimicorum meorum extendisti manum tuam et salvum me fecit dextera tua7 If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, thou wilt quicken me: and thou hast stretched forth thy hand against the wrath of my enemies: and thy right hand hath saved me.
8 Dominus retribuet propter me Domine misericordia tua in saeculum opera manuum tuarum ne dispicias8 The Lord will repay for me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: O despise not the work of thy hands

God’s Generous Jealousy

Monday, September 27, 2021
Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 102 which, together with our first reading from Zechariah, paints a picture of enduring love and hope:

  1. the desperate yet hopeful prayer of one overwhelmed by life

Let this be written for the generation to come,
    and let  future creatures praise the Lord:
“The LORD looked down from the holy height,
    from heaven  beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
    to release those doomed to die.”

Psalm 102: 19-21

2. the response of a faithful God, overwhelmed by love

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
I am intensely jealous for Zion,
        stirred to jealous wrath for her.
    Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
    and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
    and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
   the holy mountain.

Zechariah 8:1-3

The “jealous love” described here is an infinite and divine Love – the only Love entitled to be possessive because It has created us. 

It is a jealousy unlike our human pettiness, rooted instead in God’s desire for our free response to the gift of our creation. 

God loves us so much as to continually bring us home to Love despite any detours we take.

Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun,
    and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God,
    with faithfulness and justice.

Zechariah 8:8

In our prayer today, we might allow ourselves to be aware of God’s “jealousy” for us throughout our lives, never giving up on turning us toward Love – even when the turning may have been “like a hurricane”.


Poetry: GOD OF SHELTER, GOD OF SHADE (ISAIAH 4:6) by Irene Zimmerman, OSF

God of shelter from the rain,
God of shade from the heat,

I run from You
through the muddy street
of my uncommitted heart
till wild winds beat
against my doors,
blasting sand
through all my walls,
and I stand
without retreat,
hear Your command
to be the wheat. 

Sweet the giving!
Sweet this land! 

God of shelter from the rain.
God of shade from the heat.

Music: How He Loves Us – David Crowder Band

God Delights in Us!

Memorial of Padre Pio 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 149, a call to praise God in festive celebration because God will enjoy that!

Praying with that thought today, I ask myself:

Is my God a happy God?

Our psalm says “Yes!” – a Lover of song, joy, praise, dance, timbrel and harp!

Hallelujah!
Sing to the Lord a new song; 
sing the praises of God in the company of the faithful. 
Let Israel rejoice in their maker;
let the children of Zion be joyful in their sovereign. 
Let them praise the name of the Lord in the dance;
let them sing praise to God with timbrel and harp. 
For the Lord takes pleasure in this people.

Psalm 149:1-4

Only a happy God could have imagined the beautiful gift of Creation we have been given. Stop today to listen, watch, and feel that happiness in sun, rain, wood scent, birdsong, cat purr, baby breath, child play, elder eyes, or the thousand other ways God will try to touch your soul today.


( Praying for the safety of all our friends in Australia with the earthquakes and for people of the Canary Islands.❤️🙏)


Poetry: The Creation of Birds – Renee Yann, RSM

O, the wonderful mood that seized You,
God, as you created birds;
you dancing there, twirling in light,
flinging your crystal arms to infinite music,
flicking your hands like magic fountains,
feathers and colors splashing out from your fingertips,
chattering, rainbowed profusions
of your Boundless Life.

Your inexhaustible, joy-filled soul laughing out
the soaring beings into the still universe,
peals of you infusing them each
to their measure with notes of your inner song.
O, I see your Holy Eyes flash color to them
as they fly, strobing their feathers
with shards of your prismed white light.

This morning, seeing only one, 
free and jubilant in a thin sycamore,
I consume it as part of your Delightful Essence,
this day’s communion with you, 
grey and orange wafer filling me 
with mysteries of the primal dance 
from which we both were born.

Music: You Delight in Me – Life Center Worship

Antidote to Fear

Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

September 17, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 49, the point of which according to Walter Brueggemann is this:

The point is that death is the great equalizer,
and those who are genuinely wise
should not be impressed by or committed to
that which the world over-values.

From Whom No Secrets Are Hid

We may have heard the sentiment stated more succinctly by an anonymous scholar:

You can’t take it with you.


This is the core message Paul imparts to Timothy in our first reading:

For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

1 Timothy 6:10

The advice is about more than money, or “dollar-bucks” as my 5 year old grandnephew calls them.


The instruction is about our priorities –
whom, why and what
we love, value, and sacrifice for.

The opposite of this “love of money” is an unselfish, sacrificial love for others. This is the love Jesus hopes for in his disciples as he blesses them in today’s Gospel.

It takes courage to live such discipleship. As human beings, we tend to fear any kind of deprivation. We crave security, and sometimes we think money and possessions can give us that. Our readings today redirect that all too common misperception.

The world can be a very dark place, and of course, we will have fears and worries. Paul and our psalmist direct us to the right place to calm these concerns. Jesus calls us to believe in and live in the Light which is our true security.

Our psalm reminds us to keep our eyes on the eternal promise we have all been given.

But God will redeem my life,
will take me from the hand of Darkness.

Psalm 49: 16

Poetry: Accepting This – Mark Nepo

Yes, it is true. I confess,
I have thought great thoughts,
and sung great songs—all of it
rehearsal for the majesty
of being held.
The dream is awakened
when thinking I love you
and life begins
when saying I love you
and joy moves like blood
when embracing others with love.
My efforts now turn
from trying to outrun suffering
to accepting love wherever
I can find it.
Stripped of causes and plans
and things to strive for,
I have discovered everything
I could need or ask for
is right here—
in flawed abundance.
We cannot eliminate hunger,
but we can feed each other.
We cannot eliminate loneliness,
but we can hold each other.
We cannot eliminate pain,
but we can live a life
of compassion.
Ultimately,
we are small living things
awakened in the stream,
not gods who carve out rivers.
Like human fish,
we are asked to experience
meaning in the life that moves
through the gill of our heart.
There is nothing to do
and nowhere to go.
Accepting this,
we can do everything
and go anywhere.

Music: His Eye is on the Sparrow (You might recall this version from the movie “Sister Act II”)

For fun, you might enjoy hearing how the 60s group, The O’Jays, interpreted Paul’s advice to Timothy.

Money money money money, money [Repeat: x 6]

Some people got to have it

Some people really need it

Listen to me why’all, do things, do things, do bad things with it

You want to do things, do things, do things, good things with it

Talk about cash money, money

Talk about cash money- dollar bills, why’all

For the love of money

People will steal from their mother

For the love of money

People will rob their own brother

For the love of money

People can’t even walk the street

Because they never know who in the world they’re gonna beat

For that lean, mean, mean green

Almighty dollar, money

For the love of money

People will lie, Lord, they will cheat

For the love of money

People don’t care who they hurt or beat

For the love of money

A woman will sell her precious body

For a small piece of paper it carries a lot of weight

Call it lean, mean, mean green

Almighty dollar

I know money is the root of all evil

Do funny things to some people

Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime

Money can drive some people out of their minds

Got to have it, I really need it

How many things have I heard you say

Some people really need it

How many things have I heard you say

Got to have it, I really need it

How many things have I heard you say

Lay down, lay down, a woman will lay down

For the love of money

All for the love of money

Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money rule you

For the love of money

Money can change people sometimes

Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money fool you

Money can fool people sometimes

People! Don’t let money, don’t let money change you,

It will keep on changing, changing up your mind.

Memorial of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 111. Prayed in tandem with our first reading from 1 Timothy, the psalm directs our hearts to an awareness of the gifts we have received in faith.

We are all “gifted” by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes if someone tells us that we’re “gifted”, they are really referring to special talents we may have developed – like art, music, dance, writing etc.

But the gifts our readings highlight are those which are rooted in the Holy Spirit, and we receive them through our Baptism and Confirmation.


Paul tells Timothy not to neglect these gifts. And the psalmist suggests that the first step in such care is the practice of awe, wisdom and prudence.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
    prudent are all who live by it.
    His praise endures forever.

Psalm 111:10

We can’t just practice these gifts for an hour or two as we might practice piano!


The Holy Spirit’s gifts must be nurtured and tended daily, through all seasons of our lives,
allowing their roots to deepen and grow in us.
This was the advice that Paul gave Timothy.
We could all use it as well.


The prophet Isaiah was the first to list the Gifts of the Holy Spirit when he described the coming Messiah:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-3

We are baptized in the image of Christ. These same gifts flow, in a waterfall of grace, into our spirits. May we receive and respond!

Poetry: God’s Grandeur – Gerard Manel Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.