Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Friday, June 11, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Isaiah for our Responsorial Psalm:

God indeed is my savior;
    I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
    who has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
    at the fountain of salvation.

Isaiah 12:2-3

This fountain of salvation is the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


I woke up before dawn today. Not really wanting to formally begin my day, I lingered on the pillows for my early morning prayer. Having always loved this feast, I began placing all my suffering loved ones into Jesus’s heart – one by one, asking for their strength and healing.

The list was long, because there are all kinds of suffering, and I love a lot of people – even ones I don’t know personally! Finally I said to Jesus, “You know, life is HARD!” 

And in my spirit, I heard this answer,
“I know. I lived it for the love of every one of you.”

To me, this is the meaning
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
– that merciful companionship
which Infinity assumed for us
in the person of Jesus Christ.

That fountain of love and mercy continues to nourish our lives in the Eucharistic community of faith practicing the works of mercy. We are the threads which bind one other to God’s heart.


Paul knew this. That’s why he prayed this beautiful prayer for his beloved Ephesian community. Our second reading offers an example of Paul’s magnificent benedictions and doxologies. As he prays for the Ephesians, so he prays for us. These prayers are exalted, yet simple. They thrill the soul who prays them. They place us, in awe and thanksgiving, fully in the divinely generous, Sweet Heart of Christ.

Let’s pray for our beloveds today and for the world:

For this reason I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


Music: Two songs today:

Threads – by David Leonard

We beseech the Sacred Heart today that all who suffer any kind of fragmentation may find tenderness, wholeness, and comfort in him.
(To hear the song, click on “Watch on YouTube” in the black clock below.)

This one is old school, but it still works for me:

Sacred Heart of Jesus – James Kilbane

Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 8, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 119, a repeated favorite on the blog – you might like to re-visit any of the 13 entries:


Today, let’s pray with 119 in the light of Paul’s words to the Corinthians:

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, … 
was not “yes” and “no,” but always “YES”.
God’s promises … find their “Yes” in him.

2 Corinthians 1:19-20

Here’s what those slightly cryptic but profoundly meaningful phrases mean to me.

No doubt, sometime in your life you have heard someone powerful say “No” to you. Or perhaps life itself has said it with some insurmountable limitations.

It is in those moments that we truly understand what “Yes” means because it has eluded us!

That meaning takes various forms depending on our circumstances. “Yes” can mean freedom, love, mercy, forgiveness, renewal, possibility, hope, fulfillment.

And “Yes” is always a beginning … a mystery that longs to be unfurled, unpeeled – like this beautiful red onion ( that I bought yesterday for a salad that turned into a reflection!)


Psalm 119 “unpeels” the layers of our relationship with God. Here’s how I hear it in my prayer:

O Lovely God,
You are wonderful.
You are my Light.
You amaze me
by the “Yes” of your Love.
You fire my spirit
to love You in return.

Lavish Mercy, turn to me
because I love You.
Steady me in my shadows.
Draw my “yes” 
into the Light 
of your beautiful Face.

based on Psalm 119:129-135

Poem: love is a place – e.e.cummings 

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skillfully curled)
all worlds

Music: The Beauty We Love

Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, June 7, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 34, filled with lovely images assuring us of God’s abiding mercy. This mercy moves the psalmist to promise perpetual praise – that means “no matter what”!

I will bless the LORD at all times;
    praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
    the lowly will hear me and be glad.

Psalm 34:2-3

By telling about God’s loving intervention in our lives, the psalmist invites everyone to join in praise:

Glorify the LORD with me,
    let us together extol God’s name.
I sought the LORD who answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:4-5

I’m not so sure it’s an easy thing to rejoice in another’s blessing when we ourselves are feeling overlooked by God. But that’s the whole point of the psalm. It is WE who feel overlooked, not God who is overlooking. 

It is as if we have turned our back to a brilliant sun and complained how cloudy it is. The psalmist says, “Stop that … turn your self around.

Look to God that you may be radiant with joy,
    and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the suffering one called out, the LORD heard,
    and from all distress was saved. 

Psalm 34:6-7

Notice that they were not saved from suffering but from distress. Such salvation rests in the confidence that, even in suffering, we are never alone; that when we take refuge in God, palpable blessing ensues.

The angel of the LORD encamps
    around those who reverence God, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
    blessed the one who takes refuge in God’s embrace.

Psalm 34:8-9

Surely Psalm 34 calls us
to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes
which we can savor in today’s Gospel.

Poetry: Safe Harbor by Robert B. Shaw


Music: Two songs suggested themselves today. Here are both🤗 Enjoy!

Multiplied by needtobreathe
(notice the radiant diamonds)

Psalm 34 – Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

I sought the Lord
And He answered me
And delivered me
From every fear
Those who look on Him
Are radiant
They'll never be ashamed
They'll never be ashamed

This poor man cried
And the Lord heard me
And saved me from
My enemies
The Son of God
Surrounds His saints
He will deliver them
He will deliver them

Magnify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name together
Glorify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name forever
Oh taste and see
That the Lord is good
Oh blessed is he
Who hides in Him
Oh fear the Lord
Oh all you saints
He'll give you everything
He'll give you everything

Magnify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name together
Glorify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name forever
Magnify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name together
Glorify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name forever

Let us bless the Lord
Every day and night
Never ending praise
May our incense rise

Let us bless the Lord
Every day and night
Never ending praise
May our incense rise

Let us bless the Lord
Every day and night
Never ending praise
May our incense rise
Every day and night
Never ending praise
May our incense rise

Magnify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name together
Glorify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name forever
Magnify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name together
Glorify the Lord with me
Come exalt His name forever
Oh taste and see
That the Lord is good
He'll give you everything
He'll give you everything

Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June 4, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 146, a song of uninhibited delight and thanksgiving to God.

Coming after our reading from Tobit, we see just what such utter delight looks like.

That “angelic fish gall” re-lit the world for Tobit in a way he had never imagined before!


Sometimes we too have to experience a profound blindness before we really begin to see rightly. Let’s be honest: haven’t we all been blind a few times in our lives.

  • Blessings unrecognized
  • Friendships taken for granted
  • Kindnesses overlooked
  • People misjudged 
  • Needs ignored
  • Expectations unsurrendered 
  • Biases unexamined
  • Opportunities bypassed
  • Perhaps even responsibilities shirked

Praying with Psalm 146, we might take note of those whom the Lord favors:

the oppressed, the hungry. captives, those who are bowed down; 
the just, strangers, orphans and widows

These favored of God share a common trait – a vulnerability learned through suffering.


None of us seeks suffering in our lives. But we all will encounter it personally at least to some degree. Further, all in the community of faith are called to share the sufferings of others by our works of mercy.

In both instances, can we allow suffering to let us see the world differently, to lift the scales of any blindness in our hearts? Because here is the beautiful mystery: the God of Mercy is with us in our lights and shadows — and is always Light.

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
    I will praise the LORD all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God while I live. 

Psalm 146:1

Poetry: God Pours Light – Hafiz

God
pours light
into every cup,
quenching darkness.
The proudly pious
stuff their cups with parchment
and critique the taste of ink
while God pours light
and the trees lift their limbs
without worry of redemption,
every blossom a chalice.
May I seduce those withered souls
with words that wet their parched lips
as light
pours like rain
into every empty cup
set adrift on the Infinite Ocean.


Music: Amazing Grace – Leo Rojas

Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June 2, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 25, a heartfelt expression of how to traverse life’s challenges with persevering faith.

Set between our two anguished readings today, Psalm 25 is a solace. Could poor Tobit run into more trouble! His allegorical life, which mirrors Israel’s historic troubles, is a real melodrama.

Then our Gospel recounts the Sadducees’ approach to troubles similar to Tobit’s. They get all up in their heads rather than open their minds to faith.


But Psalm 25 gives us the formula for the practice of such faith:

TRUST IN GOD

In you I trust; let me not be put to shame,
    let not my enemies exult over me.
No one who waits for you shall be put to shame;
    those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith.


LEARN GOD’S WAYS

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
    teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my savior.


REFLECT ON GOD’S FAITHFULNESS 

Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
    and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
    because of your goodness, O LORD.


BE HUMBLE AND JUST

Good and upright is the LORD;
    thus showing sinners the way.
God guides the humble to justice,
    and teaches the humble the way.


Today, as we pray Psalm 25, we might reflect on our experience and practice of these attitudes in our own lives.


Poetry: Let Your God Love You – Edwina Gately

Be silent.
Be still.
Alone.
Empty
Before your God.

Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.

That is all.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.

Quiet.
Still.
Be.

Let your God—
Love you.

Music: To You, O Lord – Scott Soper

Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 28, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 149 exhorting us to praise God out loud. And we can do that. We’ve all been part of that kind of glorious praise with the help of our wonderful choirs, musicians, and praise dancers.


However, the psalm today is set between two intriguing readings that may cause us to think more deeply about our “praise”.

Sirach offers a cryptic description of who might be remembered as a godly person, ultimately saying it is the one whose virtues are unforgettable.

So the practice of virtue is presented as the most important act of praise.

Yet these also were godly persons
    whose virtues have not been forgotten;
Their wealth remains in their families,
    their heritage with their descendants;

Sirach 14: 10-11

In our Gospel, we meet what at first might appear as a moody, frustrated Jesus. Hungry one morning, he curses a figless fig tree. We might be inclined to focus on the poor zapped tree, but that would be to miss the point. 

The leafy yet fruitless tree is a symbol of a wordy “faith” without accompanying works. It describes people who, like the Pharisees in the Temple, shout praise without practicing charity and mercy.


Together, the readings help us see true praise in a clear light – as beautiful waving leaves on a tree full of sweet, loving fruitful actions.


Poetry: Judgement Day – R.S. Thomas

Yes, that’s how I was,
I know that face,
That bony figure
Without grace
Of flesh or limb;
In health happy,
Careless of the claim
Of the world’s sick
Or the world’s poor;
In pain craven –
Lord, breathe once more
On that sad mirror,
Let me be lost
In mist for ever
Rather than own
Such bleak reflections,
Let me go back
On my two knees
Slowly to undo
The knot of life
That was tied there.

Music: Good Fruit – Katy Bowser 

Have fun with this, my friends! 🤗

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 22, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 11, inviting us to enter the eye of God:

The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.

Psalm 11:7


To rest in someone’s loving gaze is the greatest of blessings. Such a look carries understanding, acceptance, hope, encouragement, and a rainbow of other gifts.

We easily look at newborns and young children with such unconditional regard. As people age though, it may become more complex always to see them in such positive light. Life’s big and little dramas block our sight, right?

But, as Psalm 11 assures us, God will never look at us without that kind of love. Wow!

God’s eyes behold us;
    God’s searching glance wraps us round with love.

Psalm 11: 4-5

For our prayer today, we may just want to let God look at us. And we might want to look back with that mutual glance that sings, “Beloved”.


Poetry: Beloved – by Rumi

All through eternity
Beauty unveils His exquisite form
in the solitude of nothingness;
He holds a mirror to His Face
and beholds His own beauty.
he is the knower and the known,
the seer and the seen;
No eye but His own
has ever looked upon this Universe.

His every quality finds a Word:
Eternity becomes the verdant field of Time and Space;
Love, the life-giving garden of this world.
Every branch and leaf and fruit
Reveals an aspect of His perfection-
The cypress give hint of His majesty,
The rose gives tidings of His beauty.

Whenever Beauty looks,
Love is also there;
Whenever beauty shows a rosy cheek
Love lights Her fire from that flame.
When beauty dwells in the dark folds of night
Love comes and finds a heart
entangled in tresses.

Beauty and Love are as body and soul.
Beauty is the mine; Love is the diamond.
They have been together
since the beginning of time-
Side by side, step by step.

I swear, since seeing Your face,
the whole world is fantasy.
The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf
or blossom. The distracted birds
can’t distinguish the birdseed from the snare.
A house of love with no limits,
a presence more beautiful than Venus or the moon,
a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.

Music: Be Thou My Vision

Seventh Sunday of Easter

May 16, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 103, the best known and best loved of the psalms of praise.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
    and all my being, bless God’s holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    and forget not all God’s benefits.

Psalm 103:1-2

Blessing the Lord is easy for me today.

My life is filled with those “benefits” –  happiness, love, friends, and celebration.

My dear brother and sister-in-law are visiting from Tennessee after nearly a two year hiatus.

My precious grandniece is being baptized today.

And my Sister in community is celebrating her 75th birthday.
(And, yes, I did just about find time to write this blog! 🙂


Psalm 103 reminds us that in both joyful and sorrowful days,  God’s Presence is our abiding blessing. And for this, we can always bless God:


In a 2016 Facebook post (a precursor of the blog) for this day, I wrote: 

Today, in Mercy, we humbly praise God for being present in every moment of our lives. We lift our hands in praise for the joys that have revealed God’s beauty, and for the sorrows that have revealed God’s compassion. May we reverently live our thanks by our kindness to one another.

That simple prayer holds true today. Amen.


Music: Bless His Holy Name – Daniel Mount

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

April 24, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 116. Today’s verses are such a lovely prayer of recognition and thanksgiving for God’s goodness.

Praying with this phrase this morning, I realized that there is no adequate answer to the psalmist’s question. We could never repay the munificence of God.

What we can do is to allow God’s Lavish Mercy to flow through our lives returning praise for God’s love. 

My vows to the LORD I will pay
    in the presence of all his people.
Precious in your eyes, O Lord,
    is the living and dying of your faithful ones.

Psalm 116: 14-15

All that we are and have, in life and death,
is through God’s graciousness.
Living out of that understanding changes everything.


Poetry: Little Flute- Tagore

You have made me endless, 
such is Your pleasure. 
This frail vessel You empty again and again, 
and fill it ever with fresh life. 
This little flute of a reed 
You have carried over hills and dales, 
and have breathed through it 
melodies eternally new. 
At the immortal touch of Your hands,
my little heart loses its limits in joy 
and gives birth to utterance ineffable. 
Your infinite gifts come to me 
only on these very small hands of mine. 
Ages pass, and still You pour, 
and still there is room to fill.

Music: Beautiful Dream – Zamfir

Monday of the Third Week of Easter

April 19, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 119, the prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Law.

Yes, your decrees are my delight;
    they are my counselors.
I declared my ways, and you answered me;
    teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
    and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.

Psalm 119: 24-27

“Law”, as it is used in this psalm, speaks of that perfect Divine Order which creates and holds all things in Love. Praying this psalm, we ask to become ever more aligned to that Love.

Remove from me all guile,
    and favor me with your law.
The way of truth I have chosen;
    I have set your ordinances before me.

Psalm 119: 29-30

Such might have been the prayer of Stephen, as we read of his angelic face in Acts today. Such might have been the desire of those who followed Jesus across the sea in today’s Gospel asking, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”.

And it could be our prayer too.


Poetry: God Wishes Me a Happy Birthday

As I pray Psalm 119 today on my birthday, I hear God responding once again in a poem I wrote a few years ago. Perhaps you would like to keep it for your own birthday, dear friends.

On the day I made you,
I made thousands of other creatures.
Human beings,
each reflecting some facet of my infinite image.
Beautiful birds, riotous monkeys, infinitesimal ants.
My lava broke through earth's crusts to form new islands.
I folded hidden mountains into yet undiscovered gorges,
bent rivers into surprise journeys,
washed entire beaches onto new shores. 
I was busy the day I made you.
War raged and I welcomed its many victims into heaven.
More creatures died on your birthday than were born.
More came home to me than went out to begin their journey. 
But you were one who went out.
When I opened my hand and breathed your journey into you,
I smiled.
I saw the wonders that could bless the world because of you.
I saw a rainbow of love, generosity, mutuality,
happiness, encouragement, and faith
gathered like an unhatched egg in your heart.
I saw the storms and winds
that would release that prism in your soul.
I saw it spread across a wide sky
because of all the years
and experiences that I would give you.
I saw the hint of sunrise in you.
Its name was mercy.
It was a gift fired by the energy of My own heart.
I looked beyond you to the cold and shadowed world
that you could comfort with its light and warmth.
I was happy on the day I made you.
I was filled with hope for the blessing you would be.
I am still filled with joy, hope and love for you
on this your long-after birthday.
You have tried to live my sacred dream for you.
As the sun rises glorious in the eastern sky,
I promise you a future full of love. 
Notice that the western sky reflects the brilliance of the sunrise,
just as all the years now past assure you
of my presence at the core of your life. 
You have been and are infinitely loved.
Become Love in return. 
Your days are replete with mercy. 
Become Mercy in return. 

Be born again this day, beloved!