Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
July 3, 2020
One of my favorite past reflections on faith vs. doubt – for this Feast of Saint Thomas
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 117 which is the shortest of all the Psalms. But 117, also called the Laudate Dominum, still packs a huge spiritual punch.
The psalm is called a “doxology” which simply means it is a short prayer of praise, the type we often add at the end of longer prayers. We are very familiar with the following doxology:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen
Psalm 117 follows the same pattern in that it has two complementary parts.
The first invites us to praise God:
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify God, all you peoples!
The second tells us why God deserves our praise:
For steadfast is God’s kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
Notable about Psalm 117 is the fact that this Old Testament invitation to praise goes out “to ALL nations”. Scholars interpret this as pointing to the fulfillment, in Jesus, of God’s promise that Abraham would be the father in faith of many nations. Psalm 117 is a treasured and often repeated prayer throughout the Judea-Christian traditions.
Practicing this pattern of prayer can enrich our personal prayer life as well. I like to pray like this as soon as I wake each morning. Glancing out my window, I might say,
“I praise You in the sunrise, my Beautiful Creator.
Thank you for the gift of my life.”
Beginning the day with our own “doxology” gives us a head start on living joyfully and gratefully in the Presence of God for our next circuit of the sun.
Poetry: Morning Poem – Mary Oliver
Every morning the world is created. Under the orange sticks of the sun the heaped ashes of the night turn into leaves again and fasten themselves to the high branches— and the ponds appear like black cloth on which are painted islands of summer lilies. If it is your nature to be happy you will swim away along the soft trails for hours, your imagination alighting everywhere. And if your spirit carries within it the thorn that is heavier than lead— if it's all you can do to keep on trudging— there is still somewhere deep within you a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted— each pond with its blazing lilies is a prayer heard and answered lavishly, every morning, whether or not you have ever dared to be happy, whether or not you have ever dared to pray
Music: Laudate Dominum – Mozart, sung by Barbara Hendricks