Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 112, a hymn deeply rooted in the biblical concept of law and justice.

Blessed the one who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in God’s commands.
That person’s posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.

Psalm 112:1-2

In our first reading, as Tobit and Anna share a familiar type of marital spat, we see that there are many perspectives from which one can approach the concept of justice. Anna knows her actions to be just from experience. Tobit analyzes the situation from judgement and law.

But in our Gospel, the wily Pharisees try to manipulate the law in order to ensnare Jesus:

Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?

Mark 12:14

Jesus, who is the essence of Truth, is not trapped. After examining the coin which was given him:

Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.
They were utterly amazed at him.”

Mark 12:15

Our psalm tells us that understanding God’s law is grounded in the transparency of our own truth:

The just one’s heart is firm, 
trusting in the LORD.
It is steadfast and fearless.
From its abundant confidence, 
such a heart lavishly gives to the poor;
with a generosity that shall endure forever,
standing firm to glorify God.

Psalm 112: 7-9

Our readings give us a lot to think about. And if nothing else, a delightful story from Tobit. 🤗


Poetry: Truth by Rumi

The truth was a mirror 
in the hands of God. 
It fell, 
and broke into pieces. 
Everybody took a piece of it, 
and they looked at it 
and thought they had the truth.


Music: The Voice of Truth – Casting Crowns

Psalm 23: The Shepherd

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle

February 22, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, on this Feast of St. Peter we pray with Psalm 23 – the Good Shepherd.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    In verdant pastures I am given repose;
Beside restful waters the Lord leads me;
    refreshing my soul.

Psalm 23

The history and devotion intrinsic to this feast can inspire us to pray especially today for our dear Pope Francis who carries Peter’s grace and burden in our time. He carries, in Primacy, the charge reflected in our first reading:

Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.


Pope Francis faces resistances just as Peter did. There are always forces within a community who pull its energy in contradictory directions. When rooted in love and reverent dialogue, that counteraction can generate growth. But when born of selfishness and obstinance, such opposition poisons the whole Body.

Francis needs our prayer. The Church needs our prayer. According to Teresa of Avila, Saint and Doctor of the Church, that prayer should be scriptural:

All the troubles of the Church,
all the evils in the world,
flow from this source:
that human beings do not
by clear and sound knowledge
and serious consideration
penetrate into the truths
of Sacred Scripture.

St. Teresa of Avila

Today, Psalm 23 inspires our prayer for our Pope:

Even in the dark valley
    may you fear no evil; for you are at God’s side
Whose rod and staff
    give you courage.
May God spread graces before you
    in the sight of your troubles;
and anoint your head with oil;
    your cup overflowing.
May goodness and kindness follow you
    all the days of your life;
May you dwell in the LORD’s sanctuary
    for all your days.


Poetry: When I was a boy … (Da ich ein Knabe war …) – Friedrich Hölderlin

Pope Francis’s favorite poet is said to be the German writer Friedrich Hölderlin. Perhaps Francis, composer of the lyrical Laudato Sí and Fratelli Tutti, loves this rhapsodic poem.

When I was a boy
Often a god would save me
From the shouts and blows of men;
I played safely and well
With the flowers of the fields
And the winds of heaven
Played with me.

As you make happy
The hearts of plants
When they extend to you
Their delicate tendrils,
So you make my heart happy,
Father Sun, and like Endymion
I was your favorite,
Holy Moon!

All true and neighborly gods!
If only you knew
How much I loved you then!
True, at that time, I didn’t
Know your names, and you
Never bothered to name me, like men
Who only pretend to know one another.

Yet I know you better
Than I’ve ever known anyone,
I understood the silence of the upper air,
But I’ve never understood the words of men.
I was raised by the sounds
Of the rustling grove
And learned to love
Among the flowers.
I grew up in the arms of the gods.

Music: Psalm 23 with Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze

Gospel Verse: Truth

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin

February 10, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we once again meet Psalm 104. Since we have had a very recent reflection on this psalm, we might instead like to reflect on our Gospel verse for today:

“Truth”, which would appear to be an evident reality, is in fact quite elusive. In his master work Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas writes extensively, and some might say exhaustively 🧐, in an effort to define truth.

For this reason truth is defined by
the conformity of intellect and thing;
and hence to know this conformity is to know truth.


Reflecting on the concept of Truth today, I remember Jesus’s self-description:

I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. 
No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 14:6

By journeying through life with Jesus, we come to comprehend truth more clearly – both the truth around us and the truth within us. It is an unfolding which brings us ever closer to God’s complete imagination for us when we were created.

It is as if God’s fingerprint, first poured into on souls at our conception, becomes ever clearer in our lives. Let us pray each day to be consecrated in that Truth.

Poetry: truth by Gwendolyn Brooks
And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

Though we have wept for him,
Though we have prayed
All through the night-years—
What if we wake one shimmering morning to
Hear the fierce hammering
Of his firm knuckles
Hard on the door?

Shall we not shudder?—
Shall we not flee
Into the shelter, the dear thick shelter
Of the familiar
Propitious haze?

Sweet is it, sweet is it
To sleep in the coolness
Of snug unawareness.

The dark hangs heavily
Over the eyes.

Music: Heaven’s Window – Peter Kater (Angels of Hope)

Psalm: The Benedictus

Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

January 30, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Responsorial Psalm is the glorious Benedictus which is one of the three canticles in Luke’s first two chapters, the other two being the “Magnificat” and the “Nunc Dimittis”. The Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah on the occasion of the circumcision of his son, John the Baptist.

Rembrandt: The Circumcision of John

Can you imagine Zechariah that morning, holding his little boy, eight days old? This unexpected, miraculous child would be named in a ceremony marking the ancient covenant between God and God’s People.

The little group gathered for the ritual expected the name to be an honorary repetition, probably his grandfather’s name. Instead, it is a name delivered by an angel: John, which means “Yahweh has shown favor,” — announcing John’s role in salvation history.

When Zechariah, still struck deaf and mute, indicates his agreement with Elizabeth on John’s name, his tongue is loosed. He immediately praises God and proclaims a framework for the miracles about to come – the Benedictus.

Praying with this Canticle this morning, I treasure its lovely phrases and its succinct recounting of Israel’s “God Story” even as it reflects my own.


Prose: This past Advent, one of our Sisters of Mercy offered a profound reflection on Zechariah’s song. It blessed my prayer once again today.

from Sisters of Mercy Blog

Music: Benedictus – Karl Jenkins

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.
He has raised up a horn for our salvation
within the house of David his servant,
even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:
salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
to show mercy to our fathers
and to be mindful of his holy covenant
7and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father,
and to grant us that, rescued from the hand of enemies,
without fear we might worship him in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God
by which the daybreak from on high* will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”