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

Autumn Equinox

Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

September 22, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, as we mark the Autumn Equinox, we pray with a verse from our Responsorial Psalm:

Bless the Lord, all you chosen ones,
and may all of you praise God’s majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, 
give God praise.

Tobit 13: 7-8
"EQUINOX"
- the beautiful heft of the word!
Four malleable vowels and
two steely consonants,
softened slightly by a third.
On the fulcrum of a middle "i",
"equ" pushes for balance
against the pressure of "nox",
whose mass bears 
winter's weighted threat.

However we may read the word “equinox”, it spells “change“. Trees put away their lithesome summer greens, like sleeveless tops folded on September’s shelf. Slowly, they wrap themselves within autumn’s deep gold and umber sweaters, trimmed in warm magenta.

We too return to the enterprise of warmth, of fueling fires, of lighting lamps. What nature gave, and we heedlessly received in bright July, is spent. Some chilled memory of solstice motivates us to prepare.


Our hearts too, in synch or out with seasons, cycle through such changes. This inner rhythm of need and abundance is the music through which the Holy Spirit shapes our understanding of God. As in all graceful dances, there must be a yielding. There must be abandon to the mystery into which each passing step dissolves.

God hums the infinite song in our souls, if we will listen. It is deeper than any single note of joy or sorrow. It is the fluid under-beat of Love which recreates and sustains us in every shifting moment of our lives. We belong to it as the waves belong to the Sea, as the leaves belong to the Seasons.


In Philadelphia, it is a glorious day – a perfect vestibule to a season of amazing beauty.  Nature prepares to shed the showy accretions of summer in a multi-colored ritual of leave-taking. It is time to return to the essentials – back to the branch, back to the buried root, back to the bare, sturdy reality that will anchor us in the coming winter.

On each of the coming days, some new layer of green will ignite in a blaze of scarlet or gold then turn out its light for a long winter’s sleep. Nature knows when things are finished.  It knows when it has had enough.  It knows its need for a season of emptying, for a clearing of the clutter, for the deep hibernation of its spirit.


But we humans often ignore the need for an “autumning” of our spirits.  We try to live every moment in the high energy of summer – producing, moving, anticipating, and stuffing our lives with abundance.  

But simplicity, solitude and clarity are necessary for our spirit to renew itself.  Autumn is the perfect time to prayerfully examine the harvest of our lives – reaping the essentials and sifting out the superfluous. In the quiet shade of a crimson maple tree, we may discover what we truly love, deeply believe and really need to be fully happy.

Take time on these crystal days to ask yourself what is really essential in your life.  Nurture those things with attention and care.  Don’t take them for granted.  After the flare of the summer has passed, these are the things that will sustain you: a strong faith, a faithful love and a loving compassion. Tend them in this season of harvest.

Music: Autumn from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi

Return Rejoicing!

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
September 20, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 126

This six-verse psalm is a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and other Protestant liturgies. It is well known in Judaism as the preliminary psalm recited before the Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals) on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, and as such is sung to a wide variety of melodies.

Wikipedia
Shir hama'alot (Psalm 126) - cantor Yossele Rosenblatt

Psalm 126 can be described as:

 “joy remembered and joy anticipated”

James Luther Mays

The psalm is divided into two parts. 

Joys remembered: The first three verses gratefully reflect on the joy and freedom felt upon return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile.

Joys anticipated: The second three verses attest to the difficulties subsequent to that return. They voice a plea for restoration of joy.


This is a prayer most of us can relate to. Can you remember a time when you were so delighted to obtain a certain item, or status, or goal that you felt it was “almost like a dream” situation? 

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
    we were like those dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with rejoicing.

Psalm 126:1

But perhaps, once that reality was obtained, it wasn’t so easy to manage, or complete, or enjoy! Perhaps there were “dry spells” like the torrent-less desert of 126:

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
    like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
    shall reap rejoicing.

Psalm 126: 4-5

For example, I’ve heard a few young couples express delight upon buying their first home – a “fixer upper”. But often, the “fixing up” requires a lot more resources than expected!

Such was the situation for the Israelites who joyfully returned to Jerusalem — only to find a city in ruins, bereft of their beloved Temple, with devastated fields and vineyards.


Still, Psalm 126 is a testament to hope and resilience. It is an affirmation that we can go forward by faith, hope, trust, patience, and by drawing on the power of remembered mercies.

Although they go forth weeping,
    carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
    carrying their sheaves.

Psalm 126:6

Poem: Blessing to Summon Rejoicing – Jan Richardson

When your weeping
has watered
the earth.
When the storm
has been long
and the night
and the season
of your sorrowing.
When you have seemed
an exile
from your life,
lost in the far country,
a long way from where
your comfort lies.
When the sound
of splintering
and fracture
haunts you.
When despair
attends you.
When lack.
When trouble.
When fear.
When pain.
When empty.
When lonely.
When too much
of what depletes you
and not enough
of what restores
and rests you.
Then let there be
rejoicing.
Then let there be
dreaming.
Let there be
laughter in your mouth
and on your tongue
shouts of joy.
Let the seeds
soaked by tears
turn to grain,
to bread,
to feasting.
Let there be
coming home.

— from Circle of Grace

Music: In the Place of Dreams – Tim Janis

Jubilate Deo!

Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

September 18, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 100, called the “Jubilate Deo” because of its opening pronouncement:

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all you peoples;
serve the Lord with gladness;
come before the Lord with joyful song.

Psalm 100: 1-2

This is such a perfect prayer today for our Mercy community as we will gather to celebrate the Jubilee of many of our sisters this afternoon. It will be a huge celebration in which the Jubilarians of both 2020 and 2021 will be honored, due to last year’s Covid restrictions.

For many of us, the most moving parts of the celebration are the procession and recession. These celebratory passages are a testament to God’s faithfulness over many lifetimes, and to the women who have received and responded to God’s gifts.

Some sisters, who have been given the gift of long years, will process with a cane or walker to assist them. Some will move with an achieved maturity, and some still with the vigor of youth.

But our Mercy family, gathered in the pews, walks in Spirit with each of the Jubilarians, carrying her within a bond of mutual love. As we see each sister whom we have lived with, worked with, loved and learned from, our hearts indeed sing with them, “Jubilate!”


Poetry: The Neophyte – Alice Meynell

 
Who knows what days I answer for to-day:
  Giving the bud I give the flower.  I bow
  This yet unfaded and a faded brow;
Bending these knees and feeble knees, I pray.
Thoughts yet unripe in me I bend one way,
  Give one repose to pain I know not now,
  One leaven to joy that comes, I guess not how.
I dedicate my fields when Spring is grey.
Oh, rash! (I smile) to pledge my hidden wheat.
  I fold to-day at altars far apart
Hands trembling with what toils?  In their retreat
  I seal my love to-be, my folded art.
I light the tapers at my head and feet,
  And lay the crucifix on this silent heart.
Some of 2021’s Sapphire/Diamond Jubilarians when they were true Neophytes

Please join us in your grateful prayers for these Sisters of Mercy:

Jubilarians 2020
80 years
Sister Rita Powell

70 years
Sister Mary Georgina Hasson 
Sister Mary Hentz
Sister Kathleen Kelly
Sister Marie Lynch
Sister Antoinette Medori 
Sister Clare Miriam Schrant 
Sister Marianna Walsh

60 Years
Sister Rosellen Bracken
Sister Mary Elizabeth Burke 
Sister Emily Therese Connor 
Sister Marie Michele Donnelly 
Sister Patricia Anne Flynn
Sister Kathleen Marie Fox
Sister Mary Ann Giordano
Sister Patricia Anne Kennedy 
Sister Barbara Ann MacWilliams 
Sister Kathleen McAlpin
Sister Mercedes Joan McCann 
Sister Kathleen McGovern 
Sister Josephine McGrory
Sister Mary Sarah McNally 
Sister Mary Anne Nolan
Sister Stella Mary O’Brien
Sister Frances Paglione
Sister Rose Carmel Scalone 
Sister Barbara Smiley
Sister Patricia Talone
Sister Angela Welsh

50 years
Sister Mary Beth Geraghty 
Sister Mary Jane Morrison 
Sister Katherine Bednarcik

Jubilarians 2021
75 years
Sister Mary Ann Basile 
Sister Marie Helene Bradley 
Sister Mary Janet Doughty 
Sister Kathleen Mary Long 
Sister Marita Lyons
Sister Catherine Rawley 
Sister Ethel Sweeney

70 years
Sister Therese Marie Kenny 
Sister Alice Mary Meehan 
Sister Rose Morris
Sister Kathleen Waugh 
Sister Anne Marie Berenato 
Sister Mary Anton Frick

60 years
Sister Francis Haddow 
Sister Anna Marie Lesutis 
Sister Margery Lowry
Sister Mary Mester
Sister Sheila Murphy
Sister Anne Marie Weisglass 
Sister Joanne Whitaker 
Sister Beverly Wilde

50 years
Sister Maureen Conklin 
Sister Susan Myslinski

25 Years
Sister Guia Jimenez


Music: Utrecht Jubilate – Handel

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 Our Lady of Sorrows

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 111, a rather exultant prayer for such a somber feast.

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
    in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
    exquisite in all their delights.

Psalm 111:1-2

The psalm allows us to see beyond the sorrows we commemorate today. At the same time, the memorial reminds us that these sorrows of Mary were real human sufferings endured for Love.

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!

from The Stabat Mater

The scriptures give us precious little of Mary’s life. But each small account demonstrates the same thing: Mary responded, she showed up, she acted, she stood by Jesus until the end.

As Christ continues the work of redemption in our times, where do we stand?


Poetry: Today’s poetic passage is from one of the great classics of Christian literature, A Woman Wrapped in Silence by Father John W. Lynch.

The book is a masterpiece best appreciated in reflective contemplation. I have chosen a sliver of its beauty today, one of many that captures Mary’s joy born of faith-filled suffering. This selection imagines what it was like when Mary remained in the Upper Room as the others, not knowing what to expect, went to the tomb early on Easter morning. The Resurrected Jesus comes to Mary first, before any other appearance.

Or is 
it true or thought of her she found no need
To search? And better said that she had known
Within, they’d not discover him again
Among the dead? That he would not be there
Entombed, and she had known, and only watched
Them now as they were whispering of him,

And let them go, and listened afterward
To footsteps that were fading in the dark.

To wait him here. Alone. Alone. A woman
Lonely in the silence and the trust
Of silence in her heart that did not seek,
Or cry, or search, but only waited him.

We have no word of this sweet certainty
That hides in her. There is not granted line
Writ meager in the scripture that will tell
By even some poor, unavailing tag
Of language what she keeps within the silence.
This is hers. We are not told of this,
This quaking instant, this return, this Light
Beyond the tryst of dawn when she first lifted
Up her eyes, and quiet, unamazed,
Saw He was near.

Music: Much magnificent music is available for the Stabat Mater, a 13th century poem written by Franciscans and interpreted by many musical masters.

  1. Stabat Mater – Antonio Vivaldi
    A short piece – Section 5: Eja Mater, fons amoris performed by Tim Mead

Eja, Mater, fons amóris
me sentíre vim dolóris
fac, ut tecum lúgeam

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord.


2. The complete work by Vivaldi is below for those who would like to hear it:


3. A little bit of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater here with the same fabulous Tim Mead and Lucy Crow

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Sunday readings increase in dramatic tone.  The passage from Isaiah describes a Savior bent on his mission despite mounting resistance and expressed hatred.

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
    have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
    from buffets and spitting.

Isaiah 50:5-6

Psalm 116 paints a person set upon by suffering and death threats, still trusting in the Lord’s saving grace.

The cords of death encompassed me;
    the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
    I fell into distress and sorrow,
And I called upon the name of the LORD,
    “O LORD, save my life!”

Psalm 116: 3-4

In the Epistle, James says we must demonstrate our faith by our works — by putting our money where our mouth is.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works? 

James 2:14

And in our Gospel, Jesus says we demonstrate our faith by following him, renouncing ourselves and taking up our cross.

This is heavy stuff. Jesus wants us to be like him — and it would be so much easier not to be!  It would be so much easier to think that our life is all about ourselves, and that we have no responsibility for Beloved Creation.

It would be so much easier not to give our lives to Christ to allow Him to bless the world through our love.

But if we wish to “save” our lives like this, we will — in the end — lose them for eternity.

Let us pray today for the grace to take our life and lay it down over the Cross of Christ.

In that laying down, to conform ourselves to the pattern of his love, to place the weight of our burdens and hopes on the crossbeam of his strength.

Let us ask for the strength to live 

  • for God
  • for others
  • for good in the world
  • and never for self when it injures or lessens others or our Sacred Home.

This is the way we will keep our lives in Christ.

Music: Renouncement – Michael Hoppé

Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, September 10, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 16, complementing as it does today our first reading from 1 Timothy.

Both these scripture passages
speak to us
of finding
– and being found by –
God.


Paul, in guiding his beloved disciple Timothy, defines the phenomenon as “Grace”:

Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:14

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Grace is a participation in the life of God, which is poured unearned into human beings, whom it heals of sin and sanctifies.”

Paul agrees:

I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man,
but I have been mercifully treated
because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.

1 Timothy 1:13

But how do we open ourselves do the gift of grace? How do we engage God’s desire to deepen us in holiness?

Psalm 16 offers us wisdom:

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
    even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
    with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Psalm 16: 7-8

We invite God’s counsel 

  • by an ardent study of scripture
  • by a sacramental faith
  • by a prayer that listens more than it speaks
  • by a life centered on the works of mercy
  • by a reverence for all Creation
  • by a love that loves as God loves

I have set the Lord always before me;
because you are at my side I shall not fall.
My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;
my body also shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor let your holy one see destruction.
You will show me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your hand are graces for evermore.

Psalm 16: 8-11

Poetry: BELOVED IS WHERE WE BEGIN —Jan Richardson

from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
Beloved,
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.

But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:

Beloved.
Beloved.
Beloved.


Music: Lead Me, Lord

Memorial: St. Peter Claver

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 150, an all-out summons to praise God.

Psalm 150, with its four predecessors, creates a rousing chorus of praise to God. As the closing piece of the Book of Psalms, Psalm 150 summons all Creation to unbounded praise.


The prayer of praise may not come as easily to us as other types of prayer. We find the prayer of supplication easy – asking God for something. Even the prayer of thanks is natural to us. But even Pope Francis says that the prayer of praise might not come so readily:

The prayer of praise is quite different than the prayer we normally raise to God,
the Pope continued, when “we ask something of the Lord”
or even “thank the Lord”.

“We often leave aside the prayer of praise”.
It doesn’t come so easily to us, he said.
Some might think that this kind of prayer is only
“for those who belong to the renewal in the spirit movement,
not for all Christians.

The prayer of praise is a Christian prayer for all of us.
Each day during Mass, when we sing:
‘Holy, Holy…’, this is the prayer of praise.
We praise God for his greatness, for he is great.
And we tell him beautiful things, because we like it to be so”.

And it does not matter if we are good singers, the Pope remarked.
In fact, he said, it is impossible to imagine that
“you are able to shout out when your team scores a goal
and you cannot sing the Lord’s praises,
and leave behind your composure a little to sing.

Praising God is “totally gratuitous”, Pope Francis continued.
“We do not ask, we do not thank. We praise: you are great.
‘Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…’. 

L’ Osservatore Romano

Psalm 150 calls us to a prayer of pure praise:

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord in the holy temple;
praise God in the firmament of divine power.
Praise the Lord for mighty acts;
praise God for excellent greatness.
Praise the Lord with the blast of the ram’s-horn; 
praise God with lyre and harp.
Praise the Lord with timbrel and dance; 
praise God with strings and pipe.
Praise the Lord with resounding cymbals; 
praise God with loud-clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Hallelujah!

Psalm 150

By the culmination of the sequence in Psalm 150, there is a total lack of any specificity, and users of the psalm are invited to dissolve in a glad self-surrender that is to be enacted in the most lyrical way imaginable. Such praise is a recognition that the wonder and splendor of this God—known in the history of Israel and in the beauty of creation—pushes beyond our explanatory categories so that there can be only a liturgical, emotive rendering of all creatures before the creator.

Walter Brueggemann

We might try to offer this type of prayer in a simple manner, by naming God’s goodness – the goodness that we love and adore. We can do this in the same way that we tell any beloved being that we love them. Some prayer phrases might be:

  • You are beautiful in all Creation – in this morning’s dawn, this evening’s sunset.
  • You are just yet everlastingly kind.
  • Your power is stunningly gentle in a bird’s wing; it is overwhelming in the storm’s roar.
  • You are so humble to live within and among us.
  • You are infinitely loving through the gift of Jesus

Thoughts like these might also inspire us to a silent awe in which we offer wordless praise to our awesome God.


Music: No poem today, but two very different musical interpretations of Psalm 150 to inspire your prayer of praise

~ from Taize

Caesar Franck

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 13. We can imagine it being sung in Mary’s voice as we celebrate her birth.

Though I trusted in your mercy,
    let my heart rejoice in your salvation.
Let me sing of the LORD 
    Who has been good to me.

Psalm 13:6

These psalm verses can bring us deeply into Mary’s generous, prophetic soul. She is, even before the Annunciation, a holy young woman, at peace and unity with God ….

I have trusted in your mercy


But when she is invited to donate her solitary peace to the infinite self-giving of God, Mary says, “Yes!”.

Let my heart rejoice in your salvation


With her “Yes”,
Mary’s sacred peace
no longer belongs to herself.
She has given it
in order to become
an agent in our salvation.


Mary realizes that the moment Israel has longed for has dawned in her little room, her little cottage, in little Nazareth. And her faith is large enough to believe that God could do such a thing!

Annunciation – Henry Osawa Tanner

Mary calls us to make our dream of salvation larger than ourselves – to allow God to release the power of mercy, astoundingly, from our small and simple lives.


In this great fiat of the little girl Mary, the strength and foundation of our life of contemplation is grounded, for it means absolute trust in God, trust which will not set us free from suffering but will set us free from anxiety, hesitation, and above all from the fear of suffering. Trust which makes us willing to be what God wants us to be, however great or however little that may prove. Trust which accepts God as illimitable Love.

Caryll Houselander – The Reed of God

Poetry: After the Annunciation- Madeleine L’Engle

This is the irrational season
when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there’d have been no room for the child.

From A Cry Like a Bell:Poems 


Music: Hail Mary – Boyce and Stanley