Psalm 37: Be Wholehearted

Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

November 10, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 37, a song of promise and encouragement to live a good life. Although I don’t usually choose to write a subjective reflection, a life-shaping memory keeps rising up from this psalm today.

I was nineteen years old, kneeling on an antique prie-dieu in front of the Superior General. She was about to rename me “Sister Something” for the rest of my life. You know, something like this picture – except that novice couldn’t sing quite as well as I did! 🙂

We postulants had been able to submit three suggestions, so I was expecting a name in honor of my mother or father, or my own baptismal name. How stunned was I when Mother intoned, “God bless you, Sister Mary Nathaniel”- a name I had heard maybe once in American Lit class! (You remember Hawthorne, right?)


But my shock is not the point of the story. Later, Mother took me aside and told me that she gave me the name because I reminded her of Nathaniel in the Gospel – the guileless one. Being guileless I guess, I told her I didn’t know what “guileless” meant. She said, “It means whole hearted. Be wholehearted, without pretense.”

The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are your steps made firm,
as the Lord blesses your way.


Psalm 37 gave me the gift of that word, and that memory, again today. I realized that it is still taking me a lifetime to live into Mother’s long-ago challenge. 

Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and God will grant you your heart’s requests.


Even though, after Vatican II, I eventually returned to my baptismal name, my heart has remained “Nathaniel”. Like the disciple under the fig tree, I am still trying to weave a true and loving life out of life’s tangled threads – still trying to do so wholeheartedly and without guile.

Gratefully and humbly, I thank God for watching over me. But God is not the only one. Mother Bernard came once more this morning, borne on memory’s beloved wing, to bless me with renewed hope and challenge.

As we pray this psalm today, let us call on the memory of those who have blessed us by their confidence and hope in us. Let us call on the God who watches over our desire to be truly wholehearted disciples.

Poem: Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (1927) – a writing I loved in my youth and have often passed on to those just beginning the glorious journey.

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, 
and remember what peace there may be in silence. 
As far as possible, without surrender, 
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, 
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. 
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, 
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; 
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, 
for the world is full of trickery. 
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; 
many persons strive for high ideals, 
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. 
Neither be cynical about love; 
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, 
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, 
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. 
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. 
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive God to be. 
And whatever your labors and aspirations, 
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world. 
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Music: Tenderhearted – Jeanne Cotter

Psalm 46: Building Hope

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Monday, November 9, 2020


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

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


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

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


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

Or, as our psalmist puts it:

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


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

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

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


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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those Sacred Shoulders

Thursday , November 5,2020

( Good morning, friends, as the world awaits the final result of the U.S. Presidential election. It is an unsettling morning for many of us, and a difficult one for me to create new inspiration! Maybe that’s because I slept so little!
Today, I find myself relying on some of my older reflections to bring myself a measure of equanimity. I was glad to see this one from two years ago. It comforted me as I hope it does you.)


Today, in Mercy, we meet the Shepherd bringing the lost lamb home.  Haven’t we all, at some time in our lives, been carried on those sacred shoulders?

Whether by our own prayers, or the prayers of those who love us, have we not been rescued from sorrow, foolishness, isolation or fear?

This beautiful Gospel assures us of the one thing we most deeply need – we are cherished, irrevocably, by God.

This morning, if we need to ride those shoulders, let us trust ourselves to them in prayer. 

If, by grace, we are already home, let us pray for those feeling most lost or abandoned – those most beset by a hostile world. May our merciful action help lift them to peace and the sweet scent of God so close beside them.


Poetry: from Kahlil Gibran

We live only to discover beauty.
All else is a form of waiting.


Music: I Will Carry You – Sean Clive

I will carry you when you are weak.
I will carry you when you can’t speak.
I will carry you when you can’t pray.
I will carry you each night and day.

I will carry you when times are hard.
I will carry you both near & far.
I’ll be there with you whenever you fall.
I will carry you through it all.

My arms are wider than the sky,
softer than a little child,
stronger than the raging,
calming like a gentle breeze.
Trust in me to hold on tight because 

I will carry you when you can’t stand.
I’ll be there for you to hold your hand.
And I will show you that you’re never alone.
I will carry you and bring you back home.

Not pain, not fear, not death, no nothing at all
can separate you from my love.
My arms and hands will hold you close.
Just reach out and take them in your own.
Trust in me to hold on tight.
I will carry you.

Psalm 27: Seek God’s Face

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

October 1, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 27 – and gosh, did I need it!

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.

I woke up this morning still half sick from watching last night’s “debate”. I fully agree with this estimation from Jon Meacham:


“No hyperbole: The incumbent’s behavior this evening
is the lowest moment in the history of the presidency
since Andrew Johnson’s racist state papers.”


(Jon Meacham, the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. Meacham holds the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Endowed Chair in American Presidency at Vanderbilt University)


I care about how my country’s leadership has degenerated. I care about how that collapse affects all of our lives especially poor, sick, and marginalized persons. It is painful to witness a situation where leadership suffers from an egregious forfeiture of responsibility and care for anything but its own self-interests.

It’s very hard to find prayer’s central clarity
when a dysfunctional world spins around us.
I asked myself today,:
“Can Psalm 27 help me?
Can the Little Flower shed some light for me?”.


Psalm 27 is a prayer that moves from relentless hope to deeply rooted faith. It is a remedy I crave.

Hear my voice, LORD, when I call;
have mercy on me and answer me.
“Come,” says my heart, “seek God’s face”;
your face, LORD, do I seek!


Walter Brueggemann places great emphasis on verse 27:3 and the particular word “though”….

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart does not fear;
Though war be waged against me,
even then do I trust.

Bruggemann says this:

I suggest that the psalm pivots in verse 3 on the word “though,” which is an act of defiance. It is a bold and brave “nevertheless, notwithstanding”…
… This “though” is a well-grounded, adamant refusal to participate in the anxiety that is all around.


St. Thérèse of Lisieux wasn’t into “politics” as we commonly define the term. But her life in the abbey presented a good deal of human “politics” which challenged her spiritual growth. Here are a few quotes that I plan to pray with today to invite their blessings on my own anxieties, and to listen for where they might call me to hope, trust and faith, as well as productive, not fretful, action. You might like to do the same.

My whole strength lies in prayer and sacrifice, these are my invincible arms; they can move hearts far better than words, I know it by experience. 
― The Little Way for Everyone Day: Thoughts from Thérèse of Lisieux

Joy is not found in the things which surround us, but lives only in the soul. 
― The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux

It is wrong to pass one’s time in fretting, instead of sleeping on the Heart of Jesus. 
― ibid.


In place of a poem today, this tidbit about Psalm 27 from Pope John Paul II:

The faithful know that being consistent creates ostracism and even provokes 
contempt and hostility in a society that often chooses to live under the banner 
of personal prestige, ostentatious success, wealth, unbridled enjoyment. 
They are not alone, however, and preserve a surprising interior peace in their hearts because, as the marvellous “antiphon” that opens the Psalm says, 
“the Lord is light and salvation… the stronghold of life” (cf. Ps 27: 1) of the just. 
He continuously repeats: “Whom shall I fear?”, “Of whom shall I be afraid?”, 
“My heart shall not fear”, “Yet I will trust” (cf. vv. 1, 3).
JOHN PAUL II- GENERAL AUDIENCE
Wednesday, 21 April 2004

Music: The Lord is My Light and My Salvation – Haas and Haugen 

Refrain: The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid?

The Lord is my light and my help; whom should I fear?The Lord is the stronghold of my life; before whom should I shrink?

There is one thing I ask of the Lord; for this I long;
to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living;
hope in him and take heart, hope in the Lord!

Psalm 88: Outlook Gloomy

Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

September 30, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 88. It’s supposed to be a gloomy, rainy day around here where I live, and Psalm 88 isn’t going to help! It is the desperate prayer of one who hears no answer from God:

But I, O LORD, cry out to you;
with my morning prayer I wait upon you.
Why, O LORD, do you reject me;
why hide from me your face?


Sorrowful Man – Vincent Van Gogh

According to Martin Marty, a professor of church history at the University of Chicago,
Psalm 88 is “a wintry landscape of unrelieved bleakness.”
Psalm 88 ends by saying:
You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; 
the darkness is my closest friend.
Indeed, in Hebrew the last word of the psalm is “darkness”.
~ from Wikipedia


Also from Wikipedia:

J.M.Neale and R.F. Littledale, writing in the 19th century, find that Psalm 88 “stands alone in all the Psalter for the unrelieved gloom, the hopeless sorrow of its tone. Even the very saddest of the others, and the Lamentations themselves, admit some variations of key, some strains of hopefulness; here only all is darkness to the close.”


Gratefully, I have seldom been in the place of this psalm … but that doesn’t mean never. Many of you, I imagine, could say the same.

So what do we do when life, by our choices or despite them, finds us irrevocably caught in spiritual darkness? What happens to us when we think God isn’t listening to our prayer, or maybe that there was never any God in the first place?

St. John of the Cross says this:

Live in faith and hope,
though it be in darkness,
for in this darkness God protects the soul.
Cast your care upon God
for you are His and He will not forget you.
Do not think that He is leaving you alone,
for that would be to wrong Him.

John’s further writings show us that this darkness, rather than alienate John from God, was the source of unparalleled union with God.

May we be blessed in the same way.🙏


One dark night, 
Kindled in love with yearnings—oh, happy chance!— 
I went forth without being observed, 
My house being now at rest.
In darkness and secure, 
By the secret ladder, disguised—oh, happy chance!—
In darkness and in concealment, 
My house being now at rest.
In the happy night, 
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught, 
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.
This light guided me 
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me— 
A place where none appeared.
Oh, night that guided me, 
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, 
Lover transformed in the Beloved!
~ John of the Cross

Poetry: Sorrow – Renee Yann, RSM

You must be alone
    with sorrow
    before you can leave it,
    or it will crush you
    like a dark, heavy rock.

    You must drive into
    the hollow of its face,
    under the ledges
    it projects against you.
    Feel its cold granite
    pressed to your grain.

    In time,
    it will allow your turning
    to rest your back
    within its curve.

    Only then,
    you will be free to leave it,
    walking lightly once again
    on yielding earth.

    When you return, it will be freely,
    on a pilgrimage,
    to touch the name you carved once
    in your heart’s anguish.

Music: Holy Darkness – John Michael Talbot

Psalm 90: A Thousand Years

Saturday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

September 26, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 90. My daily readers may have noticed that I skipped to this psalm yesterday by mistake. Some mistakes are good ones, because this profound psalm about “a thousand years” deserves at least two days attention!😉


Today, Psalm 90 is set between two “downer” readings. The unknown author of Ecclesiastes is a phenomenal poet but definitely not a cheerleader. Telling the young man to “put away trouble from your presence, though the dawn of youth is fleeting…

The writer encourages the young man to enjoy life…

Before the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken,
And the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the broken pulley falls into the well,
And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the life breath returns to God who gave it.


As doleful as these images are, they rang a bell with me as I prayed. The long siege of this pandemic, its frightful toll in human life, the inexplicable resistance to controlling it, surely seem as doleful. Indeed, as Psalm 90 tells us

You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.


But what else,
what more important encouragement of hope,
does Psalm 90 offer us? 

I think this following passage is unbeatable, especially as transliterated by Stephen Mitchell in his book, A Book of Psalms.

Teach us how short our time is; 
let us know it in the depths of our souls. 
Show us that all things are transient, 
as insubstantial as dreams, 
and that after heaven and earth have vanished, 
there is only you.

Fill us in the morning with your wisdom; 
shine through us all our lives. 
Let our hearts soon grow transparent 
in the radiance of your love.

Show us how precious each day is; 
teach us to be fully here. 
And let the work of our hands prosper, 
for our little while.


Poetry: God by Khalil Gibran

In the ancient days, when the first quiver of speech came to my lips,
I ascended the holy mountain and spoke unto God, saying,
“Master, I am thy slave. 
Thy hidden will is my law
and I shall obey thee for ever more.”

But God made no answer, and like a mighty tempest
passed away.

And after a thousand years I ascended the holy mountain
and again spoke unto God, saying,
“Creator, I am thy creation. 
Out of clay hast thou fashioned me
and to thee I owe mine all.”

And God made no answer, but like a thousand swift wings
passed away.

And after a thousand years I climbed the holy mountain
and spoke unto God again, saying,
“Father, I am thy child. 
In mercy and love thou hast given me birth,
and through love and worship I shall inherit thy kingdom.”

And God made no answer, and like the mist that veils the distant hills
he passed away.

And after a thousand years I climbed the sacred mountain and again
spoke unto God, saying,
“My God, my aim and my fulfillment;
I am thy yesterday and thou are my tomorrow. 
I am thy root in the earth and thou art my flower in the sky,
and together we grow before the face of the sun.”

Then God leaned over me, and in my ears whispered words of sweetness,
and even as the sea that enfoldeth a brook that runneth down to her, he enfolded me.
And when I descended to the valleys and the plains God was there also.

Music: Psalm 90 by Charles Ives, performed by the Stamford Choir 

Psalm 90: So beautiful…

Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

September 25, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 90 and the hopeful refrain:

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.

For today, I am just going to stay with that verse and with this song that I love. I hope you find it as beautiful as I do.

Poetry: a prose poem I wrote a few years ago:

Each morning, every soul is called 
out of sleep into life, out of darkness into dawn.  
As surely as the flower is kissed by the sun, 
as gently as grass is refreshed by the rain, 
the sparrow is called from its nest; 
the fox from its hollow. 

From the Oriental Sunrise, all across the nations, 
the curtain is drawn back in revelation. 
Every country is slowly illuminated  
– across its seas and deserts, 
plains and mountains, 
wars and peace. 

Across your own soul, 
all your personal geographies awaken, 
lit one by one with the awareness of life. 

Each person whose breath has crossed your life 
– be they lover, friend, sister, 
or the shadow of a stranger 
momentarily passing on a distant afternoon 
– each one, this morning, will be struck like a candle 
by the Morning Spark, by the kindling of God. 
Will they catch fire with their lives? Will you?

We are ignited by God 
to live God’s sacred life in our time. 
We will each unfurl in a vital flame 
or smolder in the embers of our unawareness. 
From the depths of our poverty 
or the shallowness of our wealth, 
it makes no difference. 
It is the same Light. 
We will all be touched. 

What differs are the shadows 
each of us has wrapped about our hearts, 
those deceptive veils where we hide 
from the mercifully incisive brilliance of God. 

What veil might I lay aside today? 
Distraction, worry, vengeance, resentment, 
self-importance, laziness, 
a failure of intention in my choices, 
the enslavement of a toxic relationship?  

At this moment in time, what unveiling 
will allow me to embrace God’s amazing gift of life?

Will I look fully into God’s bright eyes today 
by facing my own heart? 
Will I let God look back at me 
through the hearts of those 
with whom I share this sunrise?   

Psalm 145: To Life!

Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Saturday, September 5, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145, the only chapter of this Book which is specifically identified as a “psalm”, a hymn of praise.

I think of “praise” as gratitude steeped in awe, rising from our hearts when we are overwhelmed by God’s mercy, love, generosity or power.

Praise is a connection between God and us – so powerful that it is beyond words. It flows from us in song, dance, tears, and that profound silence which enfolds us in the Holy.


My whole family is filled with praise this week because, yesterday, we welcomed our second baby this week, precious Nathaniel.

Nathaniel joins his cousin Claire, born on Monday, both shining the beautiful Face of God on our family and the world! (And they join their treasured brother/cousins Robert and Ollie who must, of course, be mentioned in our praise🤗)


As we pray today, may each of us relish the sacred icons of Divine Life that God has given us. Sometimes these signs come in very surprising costumes. May we recognize them with the eyes of faith.


Poetry: Opening Heart – an interpretation of Psalm 145 by Christine Robinson

I exalt you, Holy One, and open my heart to you
by remembering your great love.
Your expansiveness made this beautiful world
in a universe too marvelous to understand.

Your desire created life, and you nurtured
that life with your spirit.
You cherish us all—and your prayer
in us is for our own flourishing.

You are gracious to us
slow to anger and full of kindness
You touch us with your love—speak to us
with your still, small voice, hold us when we fall.

You lift up those who are oppressed
by systems and circumstances.
You open your hand
and satisfy us.

You ask us to call on you—
and even when you seem far away, our
longings call us back to you.

Music: Forever Young – Joan Baez

Psalm 33: Fashioned by God

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Wednesday, September 2, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray again with Psalm 33, this time with one different verse from a few days ago:

From heaven’s fixed throne God beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
God Who fashions each heart
and knows all its works.

Think of that: God fashions each heart.

The phrase has special meaning for me today because, yesterday, we welcomed a precious new baby girl into our family.

I look at her newborn innocence and realize that she is the freshest, most hopeful breath of God, still so wrapped in the heavenly air from Whom we all receive life.


We all received that Breath once and it lives eternally within us. Every one of us has received a heart fashioned in God’s own image.

Sometimes that reality is hard to believe about ourselves and others, as it seems to have been for the Corinthians in today’s first reading. Sometimes we make a real mess of the gift we have been given!

Nevertheless, the gift is true and remains true despite our worst efforts!😉


Reflecting on today’s Gospel, there may be “various diseases” and dysfunctions that we wish to bring to the healing hands of Jesus today – for ourselves and for our world. We ask God to restore our innocence and hope throughout our lives and world.

In order to remember and live within the sacred truth that God breathed us into being, we might repeat today’s psalm refrain throughout our day:

Blessed are we, chosen to be God’s own.


Poetry: Two poems today to bless our dear new child Claire:

Songs of Innocence - William Blake
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!
Little Lamb who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee; 
Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee:
He is called by thy name, 
For He calls Himself a Lamb 
He is meek, and He is mild, 
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb, 
We are called by His name. 
Little Lamb, God bless thee! 
Little Lamb, God bless thee!


Christina Rossetti - Holy Innocents
Sleep, little baby, sleep;
The holy Angels love thee,
And guard thy bed, and keep
A blessed watch above thee.
No spirit can come near
Nor evil beast to harm thee:
Sleep, sweet, devoid of fear
Where nothing need alarm thee.
The love which doth not sleep,
The eternal Arms around thee:
The shepherd of the sheep
In perfect love hath found thee.
Sleep through the holy night,
Christ-kept from snare and sorrow,
Until thou wake to light
And love and warmth to-morrow.

Music: Innocence – Roberto Cacciapaglia

Psalm 145: Mercy Makes Us Sing

Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

September 1, 2020

2018 reflection on Corinthians 

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145, a consoling hymn of confidence in God’s Mercy.

And, my dears, all I really want to say to you is, “September 1st! God bless us! We have made it this far in these times (as one gifted friend calls them, “these quantum weird times”.)

And, certainly, we pray in profound companionship with all those who suffer because of this pandemic. But at the same time we are so grateful for all who have, so far, been delivered from its grasp!

So hooray for us, and hooray for God! Let’s pick up our hope, energy and faith by drinking in the beauty of Psalm 145. Together, in faith, we CAN make it to a vaccine time- a time to forget,  AND to remember all that might transform and bless us from these days…

… because God is MERCY,
and there is some gift for all of us
even in shadow

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.


Jesus meets the demon in today’s Gospel, a demon who is no match for Uncreated Grace. By the power of our Baptism, let us draw that Grace into our spirits, into our world today as we pray. 

And let us be at once both astonished and confident in the power of God’s Word to heal even the immense darkness of our world.

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.


Poetry: The Fountain – Denise Levertov

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts.
I have seen

the fountain springing out of the rock wall
and you drinking there. And I too
before your eyes

found footholds and climbed
to drink the cool water.

The woman of that place, shading her eyes,
frowned as she watched—but not because
she grudged the water,

only because she was waiting
to see we drank our fill and were
refreshed.

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
That fountain is there among its scalloped
green and gray stones,

it is still there and always there
with its quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,
up and out through the rock.

A Second Poem for the month’s beginning: September by Deborah Landau
Some of us might also find ourselves somewhere  in this wistful poem. I just like it. Thought some of you might too. 🤗

Dazzling emptiness of the black green end of summer no one
running in the yard pulse pulse the absence.

Leave them not to the empty yards.

They resembled a family. Long quiet hours. Sometimes
one was angry sometimes someone called her "wife"
someone's hair receding.

An uptick in the hormone canopy embodied a restlessness
and oh what to do with it.

(How she arrived in a hush in a looking away and not looking.)
It had been some time since richness intangible
and then they made a whole coat of it.

Meanwhile August moved toward its impervious finale.

A mood by the river. Gone. One lucid rush carrying them along.

Borderless and open the days go on—

Music: I Will Praise Your Name – Marty Hagen and David Haas

Antiphon: | will praise your name, my King and my God.
1. I will give you glory, my God and King, and I will bless your name forever.
Every day I will bless and praise your name forever.
2. The Lord is full of grace and mercy. He is kind and slow to anger.
He is good in all His works and full of compassion.
3. Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let all the faithful bless you.
Let them speak of your might, O Lord, the glory of your kingdom.
4. The Lord is faithful in all His words, and always near. His name is holy.He lifts up all those who fall. He raises up the lowly.