Psalm 23: Awake to the Feast

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

December 2, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 23. On this first Wednesday of Advent, our psalm is set between two eloquent readings about the full satisfaction of our soul’s hungers.

Isaiah blesses us with his metaphor for Heaven’s abundance, when our souls will be filled to a divine capacity of grace.

In a world already redeemed, Isaiah’s vision has been fulfilled. We live our lives already seated at the banquet he describes.

But do we realize it? Do we partake every moment in the outpouring of grace given us by our Baptism into Christ?

Unaware, many of us sit at the table starving.

In our Gospel, Jesus sees the deeper hungers of the fatigued crowd. His miracle feeds their bodies but, more importantly, awakens their souls to see him as the fulfillment of God’s promise. Isaiah’s prophecy is accomplished in Jesus:

On that day it will be said:
Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

Isaiah 26:9-10

As we read Psalm 23 today, let’s allow its consoling verses to become our prayer of trust and gratitude for God’s “already presence” in our lives. Like the crowd awakened by Jesus’s miracle, let us open our eyes to the infinite grace spread before us, though wrapped sometimes in the mundane circumstances of our lives.


Poetry: Joy Harjo – Perhaps the World Ends Here

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Music: Psalm 23 – Stuart Townend

Psalm 72: Justice Shall Flower

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

December 1, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 72 which sings with Advent expectation and hope. How beautiful to hear its tones once again and to realize that God has carried us through another year.

With Psalm 72, God tells us it is time to begin again – and this time, because of all the past year has taught us, to more fully abandon our hearts to the fidelity God promises. 

Our God and King comes eternally to us
in new waves of revelation.
God’s faithful promise continues
for whatever the coming year unfolds.

O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.

Psalm 72: 1-2

Our psalm invites us to see Creation as God sees it, an eternal relationship which endures in peace even beyond the moon’s final setting. That eternal promise brings profound peace. God, who is Infinite Mercy, loves us beyond boundaries, beyond circumstance, beyond time.

Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Psalm 72: 7-8

Jesus is the Promise Fulfilled. In him, Infinite Mercy enfleshes justice for the humble and poor.

He shall rescue the poor one who cries out,
and the afflicted when there is no one to help.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.

Psalm 72: 12-13

Advent patiently teaches us to recognize such salvation and peace. It is not revealed in miracles, but rather in the enduring power of hope, trust and gratitude. Jesus is our salvation and peace. The cyclic retelling of his life, death and resurrection invites us to deepen our own journey once again this Advent.

May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.

Psalm 72: 17

Poetry: Advent Calendar by Rowan Williams, a Welsh Anglican bishop, theologian and poet. He was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, a position he held from December 2002 to December 2012.

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.
He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.
He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

Music: O Come, Divine Messiah
Words: Abbé Simon J. Pellegrin, 1663-1745
English Translation of French Carol “Venez Divin Messie”
Translator: Sister Mary of St. Philip, SND
Melody: 16th Century French Carol

The English translation of “Venez, divin Messie” beginning “O come, divine Messiah” is by Sister Mary of St. Philip, SND, the name in religion of Mary Frances Lescher (1825-1904). She was one of the first English members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur when they established their training college at Mount Pleasant in Liverpool, England, in about 1850. She and at least one other SND sister wrote both translations and original hymns and songs over the course of their long professional lives.

from John Uhrig’s letter to Douglas D. Anderson, Founder of the website “The Hymns and Carols of Christmas”

Psalm 98: Joy!

Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

November 25, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98. If it sounds familiar as you read it today, no wonder. It looks like Mr.98 might have peeked and copied from Ms. 96 whose verses we read yesterday!🤗

Still, there are some new lovely thoughts to consider this morning as we pray just one month from Christmas. The psalm’s melodic, celebratory tone offers a welcome contrast to the other two rather daunting readings today.

Psalm 98 describes God’s redemption of Israel and the rejoicing that will ensue. It also features many expressions and instruments of music and song. The psalm’s exultant and joyful character inspired Sir Isaac Watts, in 1719, to compose an interpretation we all love: Joy to World. Watts’s poem was set to the music of George Frideric Handel.

Although this glorious song is normally preserved for Christmas, it describes the condition of grace we actually live within every day. Christ already has come into time, already has been born in our hearts.

Our liturgical year is a commemoration and celebration of a salvation already achieved.

So let’s have a bit of early Christmas today. Let’s reach for the full joy of our “Christing” by praying Psalm 98 as Isaac Watts prayed it.

Joy to the World; the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields & floods, rocks, hills & plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love.

Today is a good day, as we are about to begin our Advent journey this Sunday, to remind ourselves of exactly where that journey takes us – to the humble center of our hearts where, in every moment, God desires to take flesh for the world.


Poetry: Into the Darkest Hour by Madeleine L’Engle

It was a time like this,
War & tumult of war,
a horror in the air.

Hungry yawned the abyss-
and yet there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.

It was time like this
of fear & lust for power,
license & greed and blight-

and yet the Prince of bliss
came into the darkest hour
in quiet & silent light.

And in a time like this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?

Ah! Wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart.

Music: John Rutter – The Falcon – first movement based on Psalm 98

Psalm 119: Promises, Promises

Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

November 20, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray once again with our longest Psalm 119. 

This morning, we take one little morsel from its long string of reflections :


The word “promise” can evoke a range of responses from us. Indeed, they are sweet as the psalmist says. But they can also be elusive, ephemeral, and easily broken. I know I’ve have made a few promises in my lifetime that have fizzled away unfulfilled. Haven’t you?

On the other hand, there are some promises, kept, that have rooted and defined my life. These, made in the bud, have blossomed in a long, tendered fidelity. They have dug the deep roots of trust for the essential relationships of my life with God, beloved neighbor, and all Creation.


Such vital promises can be made and kept when we act in the image of God, the loving and faithful Promiser described in Psalm 119:

Your word, LORD, stands forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
Through all generations your truth endures;
fixed to stand firm like the earth.

Psalm 119: 89 – 90

Like the psalmist, we pray:

  • to be imitators of God who is always faithful.
  • to be promise-keepers in response to the trust God has placed in us by the gift of our creation.
  • to meditate on, and understand in our hearts, the divine order of God’s immutable Law of Love

Poetry: Psalm 119 – Christine Robinson

Dear God, The seed of your love is deep within
every molecule of the universe, and it abides through time.
The laws of the cosmos serve your purpose to the end.
If I remember this, I can abide all manner of trouble.
If I delight in this, it gives me life.
I belong to you to my very core.
Holding firm to that knowledge, I can live my life in love.
All things will come to and end.
And in the end all will be One
My mind is filled with your Way
Making me wise like a teacher or an elder.
Mastering my life in your way gives me purpose.
Many times I use it to guide my steps.
My mouth waters and my heart softens to consider your Way.

Music: God Hath Not Promised – Annie Johnson Flint

This charming 19th century hymn captures the faithful spirit of it composer whose life, though beset by suffering, radiated faith and joy. 

Psalm 15: Camping with the Beloved

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

November 17, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 15 which often is called an ‘entrance liturgy’, where a worshipper asks the conditions of entering the worship place and a priest answers.

The psalm’s first line, not included in today’s verses, asks that question of the Lord:

LORD, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy mountain?

Psalm 15:1

Reading this line immediately reminded me of Jesus’s first encounter with his chosen twelve. Upon meeting Jesus, and obviously struck with his unique charisma, the disciples ask, “Lord, where do you live?”. They want to be with him, to learn about him. We do too.


It’s a gift to be invited to someone’s home – to see where and how they live, to share their dailyness. It is a first portal to the intimacy of friendship, a gift beyond price when it proves mutual and true.

In today’s Gospel, in a sort of reverse proposal, Jesus invites himself to dinner at Zaccheus’s home. Throughout all the Gospels, we often see Jesus inviting and accepting invitations which prove to be conversions and calls for his followers.

by Plautilla Nelli, an Italian nun who is said to have taught herself to paint in the 16th century. This is a section of her “Last Supper,” painted around 1568, and now newly installed in the old refectory of the Santa Maria Novella Museum. Of course, it shows Jesus with the “beloved” disciple.

In the reading from Revelation, the invitation takes an apocalyptic and corrective tone, but its heart is the same. In essence, God invites us to an intimacy of which we are capable only under certain conditions, i.e. “if you hear my voice“:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If you hear my voice and open the door,
then I will enter and dine with you,
and you with me.
I will give the victor the right 
to sit with me on my throne,
as I myself first won the victory
and sit with my Father on his throne.


Today’s segment from Psalm 15 tells us what some of those conditions look like. It says to be someone who:

  • walks blamelessly and does justice 
  • thinks the truth in your heart
  • slanders not with your tongue.
  • harms not your fellow human beings,
  • takes up no reproach against your neighbor
  • despises not the reprobate
  • honors those who fear the LORD
  • lends not your money at usury
  • accepts no bribe against the innocent

Our challenge from the psalm is to meditate on that list to see what such behavior looks like in modern terms. Beneath the psalmist’s ancient language, we might discover our attitudes and examine our conscience toward issues like:

  • criminal justice
  • capital punishment
  • war
  • poverty
  • immigration policy
  • refugee resettlement
  • propagandist media
  • economic equity
  • felon rehabilitation
  • respect for other religions
  • political oppression
  •  – just to suggest a few.

Psalm 15 tells us, and our other readings affirm, that the one who gets these things right not only gets invited, but gets to remain in God’s house, God’s “tent”.

The one who does these things
shall never be disturbed.

I know that’s Who I want to go eternally camping with! How about you?


Poem: Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems from the Book of Hours

You, neighbor God, if sometimes in the night
I rouse you with loud knocking, I do so
only because I seldom hear you breathe
and know: you are alone.
And should you need a drink, no one is there
to reach it to you, groping in the dark.
Always I hearken. Give but a small sign.
I am quite near.

Between us there is but a narrow wall,
and by sheer chance; for it would take
merely a call from your lips or from mine
to break it down,
and that without a sound.

The wall is builded of your images.

They stand before you hiding you like names.
And when the light within me blazes high
that in my inmost soul I know you by,
the radiance is squandered on their frames.

And then my senses, which too soon grow lame,
exiled from you, must go their homeless ways.

Music: Dwelling Place – John Foley, SJ

Psalm 63: So Thirsty!

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 8, 2020

( A bit late today in publishing as I was distracted by the breaking U.S. election results! I would like to say one word on that before the reflection. Here is that word:

ALLELUIA!


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 63, a prayer of deep longing and faithful intimacy. 

The psalm is complemented by the lyrical passage from the Book of Wisdom which immediately reminded me of my favorite verse for the Christmas season:

For while gentle silence enveloped all things,
and night had now run half its swift course,
Wisdom’s all-powerful Word leapt down from heaven, 
from the royal throne,
into the midst of the shadowed land.

Wisdom 18: 14-15

Using delicate feminine images, our first reading from Wisdom describes the God for whom we long – a God who longs for us as eagerly:

Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire –


This reading forms a sort of dance with our Psalm – the first describing God’s desire, the second describing ours:

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.


Our reading assures us that God readily meets our gaze:

Whoever watches for Wisdom at dawn shall not be disappointed,
for they shall find her sitting by their heart’s gate.
For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil
shall quickly be free from care;
because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her,
and graciously appears to them in the ways,
and meets them with all solicitude.


In our prayer today, let us open our deepest hearts to this Wisdom God who seeks us. Let our thirsty souls be satisfied in that loving Sacred Bliss.

Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.


Music: I Long for You, O Lord – The Dameans

I long for you, O Lord
With all my soul, I thirst for You.

God, my God, you I seek
for You my soul is thirsting,
Like a dry and weary land,
my spirit longs for You.

I have sought for Presence, Lord
to see your power and your glory.
Lord, your love means more than life.
I shall sing your praise.

Thus will I bless you while I live,
and I will call your name, O Lord.
As with the riches of a feast
shall my soul be satisfied.

Through the night, I remember You
for You have been my Savior.
In the shadow of your wings,
I will shout for joy.

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 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 

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