Resilient Hope

Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
September 25, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 43 whose heart reveals the nature of hope and its power to inspire praise.

Wait for God, whom I shall again praise,
my savior and my God.

Psalm 43 is really the completion of Psalm 42, and they form a masterful combination. 

According to biblical scholar Carroll Stuhmueller:

The three stanzas of Psalm 42-43 lead listeners and readers through depression, struggle, and hope. The refrain sung at the end of each stanza contains three parts that summarize the attitude of each:
Why are you cast down, O my soulDepression
and why are you disquieted within me?Struggle
Hope in God Whom I shall again praise,Hope
my Lord and my God.Praise
Stuhmueller: Spirituality of the Psalms

The psalm follows logically after today’s first reading in which the prophet Haggai challenges the people to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and get working on the restoration of the Temple. The prophet proclaims encouragement in God’s name:

For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!

Haggai 2:5

Praying with these readings, we may reflect on our own current or past challenges in the light of faith and hope. God is with us now as God always has been, and will be. 

We are empowered by that promise to live courageous, generous lives. This is what hope looks like when it is alive in us.


Poetry: Hope – Czeslaw Milosz

Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
that sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all thing you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.
You cannot enter. But you're sure it's there.
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.
Some people say that we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
There are the ones who have no hope.
They think the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hand of thieves.

Music: Angel of Hope – Erik Berglund

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

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 Saints Cornelius and Cyprian

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 111. Prayed in tandem with our first reading from 1 Timothy, the psalm directs our hearts to an awareness of the gifts we have received in faith.

We are all “gifted” by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes if someone tells us that we’re “gifted”, they are really referring to special talents we may have developed – like art, music, dance, writing etc.

But the gifts our readings highlight are those which are rooted in the Holy Spirit, and we receive them through our Baptism and Confirmation.


Paul tells Timothy not to neglect these gifts. And the psalmist suggests that the first step in such care is the practice of awe, wisdom and prudence.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
    prudent are all who live by it.
    His praise endures forever.

Psalm 111:10

We can’t just practice these gifts for an hour or two as we might practice piano!


The Holy Spirit’s gifts must be nurtured and tended daily, through all seasons of our lives,
allowing their roots to deepen and grow in us.
This was the advice that Paul gave Timothy.
We could all use it as well.


The prophet Isaiah was the first to list the Gifts of the Holy Spirit when he described the coming Messiah:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-3

We are baptized in the image of Christ. These same gifts flow, in a waterfall of grace, into our spirits. May we receive and respond!

Poetry: God’s Grandeur – Gerard Manel Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


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

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 78 which commands us:

Do not forget the works of the Lord!


The psalm, in its entirety, is a recital of God’s faithfulness to Israel over time, culminating in the triumph of David/Jerusalem/Temple.

God chose David his servant,
took him from the sheepfolds.
From tending ewes God brought him,
to shepherd Jacob, the people,
Israel, God’s heritage.
He shepherded them with a pure heart;
with skilled hands he guided them.

Psalm 78: 70-73

David foreshadows Jesus, the Good Shepherd who not only tends the sheep but becomes the Lamb of God. Jesus completes our salvation by his death on the Cross. In him, the long journey of Psalm 78 is ultimately fulfilled.


Philippians’ exquisite hymn captures the profound nature of that fulfillment:

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
    Rather, he emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    coming in human likeness;
    and found human in appearance,
    he humbled himself,
    becoming obedient to death,
    even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8

Each of our lives reflects, in its own way, the salvation journey we find in scripture. We experience the same kind of twists and turns, highs and lows as those described in Psalm 78.

In each of these moments, we are held in the mystery of the Cross wherein Christ transforms all suffering to grace:

Because of this, God greatly exalted him
    and bestowed on him the name
    that is above every name,
    that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    and every tongue confess that
    Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2: 9-11

Poetry: Good Friday – Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Am I a stone and not a sheep 
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross, 
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss, 
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved 
Who with exceeding grief lamented thee; 
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly; 
Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the sun and moon 
Which hid their faces in a starless sky, 
A horror of great darkness at broad noon— 
I, only I.
Yet give not o’er, 
But seek thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock; 
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more 
And smite a rock.

Music: Adoramus Te, Christe

Memorial Of St. John Chrysostom

Monday, September 13, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 28, a prayer of nine succinct verses in which the psalmist rides a seesaw emotion.

My prayer is like that sometimes. I try to pray the way Jesus would pray — the “Our Father” type of goodness and all.

But to be honest, “Thy Will be done” and “as we forgive those who trespass” are not always easy sentiments for me. How about you?


Our psalmist seems to have some trouble too … but with points of light and redemption in the end:

O Lord, I call to you;
my rock, do not be deaf to my cry;
lest, if you do not hear me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
FEAR
Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, 
when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.
PLEADING
Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers,
who speak peaceably with their neighbours,
while strife is in their hearts.
JUDGEMENT
Repay them according to their deeds,
and according to the wickedness of their actions.
According to the work of their hands repay them,
and give them their just deserts.
VENGEANCE
They have no understanding of your doings,
nor of the works of your hands;
therefore you will break them down
and not build them up.
PRIDE
Blessed are you, O Lord!
For you have heard the voice of my prayer.
FAITH
O Lord, you are my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in you, and I have been helped;
therefore my heart dances for joy,
and in my song will I praise you.
TRUST
You are the strength of your people,
a safe refuge for your anointed.
SECURITY
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
shepherd them and carry them for ever.
PRAYER

What I learn from this psalm is to tell God the truth when I pray – but the real truth -the truth that we hear back from God when we listen in our prayer. And that listening should always be done in sync with the Gospel. It is as if we cup the Gospel around our prayer the way we bend an ear to the faint but longed-for sound.


Poetry: Lost – David Whyte

Stand still. 
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you 
Are not lost. 
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. 
Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying 
Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows Where you are.
You must let it find you.”

Music: The Golden Forest – Tim Janis

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