Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 17, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 136 in which the psalmist remembers in detail Israel’s long experience of God’s enduring fidelity.

The cadence of the psalm creates an underlying drumbeat to our prayer, a chant of gratitude and confidence. Reading it, I was reminded of two things.

The first is a scene from the movie “Glory” where the troops pray the night before battle. They pray in the classic style of the Black spiritual call-and-response song.

You may have seen it:

The prayer of these men, like the prayer of ancient Israel, is not just a walk down memory lane. No. Each proclamation is an act of of faith – and of gratitude for the past, courage for the present, and hope for the future.


Secondly, I was reminded of the simple and methodical cadence of a childhood ditty – S/he loves me S/he loves me not. Didn’t many of us try that magic practice at least once, maybe at our first young crush?

Well, God does love us – daisy or not. The proof is not in the petals, but in the story of our lives.

Today might be a good day
to “chant” gratefully
through our own catalogue with God
– remembering, thanking,
believing,and hoping.


Poetry: I thank you, God – e.e.cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Music: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – Etta James sings a classical example of the call-and-response spiritual

Swing low, sweet chariot

Coming for to carry me home,

Swing low, sweet chariot,

Coming for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see

Coming for to carry me home?

A band of angels coming after me,

Coming for to carry me home.

Sometimes I’m up, and sometimes I’m down,

(Coming for to carry me home)

But still my soul feels heavenly bound.

(Coming for to carry me home)

The brightest day that I can say,

(Coming for to carry me home)

When Jesus washed my sins away.

(Coming for to carry me home)

If I get there before you do,

(Coming for to carry me home)

I’ll cut a hole and pull you through.

(Coming for to carry me home)

If you get there before I do,

(Coming for to carry me home)

Tell all my friends I’m coming too.

(Coming for to carry me home)

Swing low, sweet chariot

Coming for to carry me home,

Swing low, sweet chariot,

Coming for to carry me home.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings are filled with God’s glory and blessings. 

The magnificent passage from Ephesians is considered an example of the great Pauline Hymns. These are places in Paul’s writing where he breaks into lyrical songs of praise and thanksgiving, so overwhelmed is he by the goodness of God.


Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

Have you ever felt like that – just so grateful to God for the blessings of your life? So blessed to wake up in the morning, with the capacity to believe, to hope, and to love!

A practice I learned many years ago has helped me focus on this kind of prayerful gratitude. As soon as I realize I am awake in the morning (and sometimes that takes a while) I say this simple prayer:

Thank you, God, for my life.

On a special morning, I might pause and expand that prayer quite a bit. (And, come on now, isn’t every morning special just for the fact that you woke up!)

But every day, even dull and rainy ones, I start with at least that brief phrase.


Poetry: Savor Paul’s eloquence in his hymn of praise today. Let your heart recognize God’s goodness and sing even a silent, personal Thank You.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

Ephesians 1:3

Music: Ephesians Hymn ~ Suzanne Toolan, RSM, who is Sister of Mercy at Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA. She has mentored many people in centering prayer in retreats and in prisons. She is prolific composer of liturgical music, including the iconic hymn, “I Am the Bread of Life”.

Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 105, one of the psalms which Walter Brueggemann characterizes as “lively remembering”.

These are psalms which gratefully inventory God’s generosity and faithfulness to Israel. The long list evokes holy surprise, gratitude, trust, and commitment in the believer’s heart.


Today’s verses pertain particularly to the wonderful story of Joseph cited in our first reading. But the entire psalm remembers a Divine Generosity covering generations.

Recall the wondrous deeds God has done,
wonders and words of judgment,

You descendants of Abraham God’s servant,
offspring of Jacob the chosen one!

Psalm 105: 5-6

Reading Psalm 105 always makes me remember a little blond kid from my long ago teaching days. 

We regularly gathered our school community for a “Children’s Mass”, either on Sunday or some special occasion. Bobby, a very good reader for a third grader, had volunteered to deliver the Responsorial Psalm. 

And he delivered, loud and clear:

Remember the “marbles”
the Lord has done.

Four times, the school body of 500+ children obediently responded in kind, apparently visualizing the same “marbles” as Bobby did.


Did God care? No, I think God enjoyed it as much as we teachers did. 

And as I remember the moment this morning, I can’t help considering how innocently garbled my own prayer must seem to God. Because honestly, how can we even imagine God, let alone find the words to speak the mysteries of our soul!

Glory in his holy name;
let hearts that seek the LORD rejoice!

Seek out the LORD’s might;
constantly seek God’s face.

Psalm 105: 3-4

So, praying our psalm today, we might want to hold up silently before God, who created the vastness of universe, all the tiny “marbles” in our hearts – those brilliant but impenetrable mysteries of love, hope, suffering, and joy which roll around in the deep universe of our lives.

Like the psalmist, we can unroll an inventory of God’s faithfulness to us which allows us to imagine a future full of hope – for ourselves and the generations to follow us.


Poetry: Ode to Marbles BY MAX MENDELSOHN

I love the sound of marbles   
scattered on the worn wooden floor,   
like children running away 
in a game of hide-and-seek.   
I love the sight of white marbles,   
blue marbles,   
green marbles, black,   
new marbles, old marbles,   
iridescent marbles,   
with glass-ribboned swirls,   
dancing round and round.   
I love the feel of marbles,   
cool, smooth,   
rolling freely in my palm,   
like smooth-sided stars   
that light up the worn world.

Music: Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers
– synchronized with MARBLES!
By DoodleChaos

Allow this video to open up your amazement. Invite into that amazement your gratitude for God’s astounding goodness to you. Perhaps like prayerfully walking a labyrinth, you can roll with the marbles through your faith journey.

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, July 2, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 106 which is a prayerful inventory of Israel’s long story with God. In today’s liturgy, the psalm follows a similar Genesis recounting of the story of the Abraham-Sarah family.


These two readings remind me of my own family as we have gathered, in our many configurations, over the seven decades of my life. For many early years, I was the listener to the old tales and legends. Gradually, as new generations were born, I became a guardian and teller of our history.


Psalmist 106 is a teller of Israel’s many ups and downs to the place where they now find themselves. By remembering both the darkness and light, the calms and the storms, our psalm testifies to God’s faithful and enduring mercy.

Blessed are they who observe what is right,
    who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people. 

That testimony encourages the listeners that this faithful God can be trusted now and in the future – to abide, forgive, renew, and call believers. 

It holds out for us a heritage of fidelity promising to bless the generations with whom we share it.


If you sat down with your life at the table of holy memory, what would your stories be? What storms and rainbows mark your journey? How would your psalm of memory and gratitude read? How is your faith life transmitting this heritage to the next generations?

Visit me with your saving help,
That I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
    rejoice in the joy of your people,
    and glory with your inheritance.


Poetry: Naked Truth – A Jewish tale retold as a poem by Heather Forest

Naked Truth walked down the street one day.
People turned their eyes away.
Parable arrived, draped in decoration.
People greeted Parable with celebration.

Naked Truth sat alone, sad and unattired,
“Why are you so miserable?” Parable inquired.
Naked Truth replied, “I’m not welcome anymore.
No one wants to see me. They chase me from the door.”

“It is hard to look at Naked Truth,”Parable explained.
“Let me dress you up a bit. Your welcome will be gained.”
Parable dressed Naked Truth in story’s fine attire, 
with metaphor, poignant prose, and plots to inspire.

With laughter and tears and adventure to unveil,
Together they went forth to spin a tale.
People opened their doors and served them their best.
Naked Truth dressed in story was a welcome guest. 

Music: Heritage of Faith – Babbie Mason (lyrics below)

The patriarchs of old
The saints that now are gone
To their great reward
Held fast to the struggle
Persistent through the years
Forging through their fears
They fought to change their world
For the sake of the gospel

May their love for Jesus
Never go unnoticed
May they spur us on to all
That lies before us
This heritage of faith
This legacy of love
We must pass to our daughters
Hand down to our sons
We must raise the standard high
And proclaim the name of Christ
That others may know the way
And this heritage of faith

In my heart I hear the call
That echoes from the cross
Where the sacrifice for man
Was freely rendered
It's the call to stand for right
Keep the faith and fight the fight

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

April 22, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 66, a hymn of rousing gratitude for God’s loving and responsive protection.

Bless our God, you peoples,
    loudly sound his praise;
God has given life to our souls,
    and has not let our feet slip.

Psalm 66: 8-9

The psalmist encourages us to let people know that we recognize God’s presence and grace in our lives always. That Presence may be a gentle, otherwise imperceptible, constant unless we give it voice and honor by our actions.

Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
    what God has done for me.
When I appealed to God in words,
    praise was on the tip of my tongue.

Psalm 66: 16-17

Poetry: Come to Dust – Ursula Le Guin

Spirit, rehearse the journeys of the body
that are to come, the motions
of the matter that held you.
Rise up in the smoke of palo santo.
Fall to the earth in the falling rain.
Sink in, sink down to the farthest roots.
Mount slowly in the rising sap
to the branches, the crown, the leaf-tips.
Come down to earth as leaves in autumn
to lie in the patient rot of winter.
Rise again in spring’s green fountains.
Drift in sunlight with the sacred pollen
to fall in blessing.
                                   All earth’s dust
has been life, held soul, is holy.

Music: Bless Our God – John Foley, SJ – I love this beautiful hymn … definitely in my top ten.

Bless our God the Father of Jesus the Lord of our ways. 
Every gift is ours in our life, in the Lord of our days.
 
Refrain:
Praise to his name, we are made for the praise of his glorious name. 
He chose us to be those who trust in his ways.

May our God give light to the eyes of your mind for your days. 
May he give you wisdom and knowledge of him, in his ways. 

Bless our God, he grants us the gifts of our lives in his ways. 
Bless our God, he saved us he gave us the Christ for our days.

Psalm 90: A Most Beautiful Prayer

Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

February 13, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 90, one of my favorites.

The psalm is so rich that it really needs no help to engage our prayer. But if you would like to pray with these, here are links to earlier reflections on Psalm 90.


Or, you might instead, wish to pray simply with the beautiful transliteration below and/or with one of these lovely pieces of music.

Poetry: Psalm 90 Life and Death - Christine Robinson
We have come out of the Earth
and to the Earth we return
Our lives are but a flash in the light of Eternity.
We are like beautiful flowers which live only a day.
We might live 70 years—more if our strength holds.
So much work and hardship!
How quickly the time passes.
Teach us then, to value our days
to treat each one as a sacred trust.
Fill our hearts with wisdom.
and a love for our lives.
In spite of all the grief and suffering
May we be always glad of this precious gift
And hallow the good in each day.

Music: Two selections today

  1. In Every Age: Janèt Sullivan Whitaker 
Long before the mountains came to be
And the land and sea and stars of the night,
Through the endless seasons of all time,
You have always been,
You will always be.
In ev'ry age, O God, you have been our refuge.
In ev'ry age, O God, you have been our hope.
Destiny is cast, and at your silent word
We return to dust and scatter to the wind.
A thousand years are like a single moment gone,
As the light that fades
At the end of day.
Teach us to make use of the time we have.
Teach us to be patient even as we wait.
Teach us to embrace our ev'ry joy and pain.
To sleep peacefully,
And to rise up strong.
You have been our refuge
You have been our hope.

2. Psalm 90: Marty Goetz

Psalm 103: Praise List

Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

February 3, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 103, an extended exhortation to bless and praise the Lord.

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

Psalm 103: 1-2

Running through all of Psalm 103, the psalmist creates a list of reasons to bless God.

For me, it was a good morning to create my own list and simply pray with that opening phrase:

I bless you, Lord and thank you…for …

The beauty outside my window was a good place to start.

Where would you start your “praise list” today?


Poetry: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost
Appreciating God’s beauty and blessings may lead us to act on our prayer, as it seems to for the poet:

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
   
My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.
  
He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.
  
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Music: Winter Snow – Chris Tomlin

Happy Thanksgiving 2020

November 26, 2020

A blessed and heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Today’s special readings for the feast are so rich and beautiful. They evoke and confirm in us a deep sense of thanksgiving as we read and pray with them today.

Let their beauty and instruction enrich your prayer as you slowly read these scriptures. You may want to speak the phrases aloud slowly, letting their wisdom flow gently over your spirit.

May you, your families, your communities
and all our precious world
be blessed in any way our spirits deeply need.
Let us give thanks
for the Lavish Mercy of God!


Thanksgiving Prayer: by Renee Yann,RSM

© ReneeYann

Music: I Will Praise Your Name (The Hand of the Lord Feeds Us)- Scott Soper

Psalm 100: Sing Out Loud

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

October 19, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 100, the Jubilate Deo – a psalm that tells us to SING! You know, like this: (Go ahead, click. It’s fun.)


Psalm 100 was that kind of invitation for ancient Israel. And it is for us too.

It is a well-known and beloved psalm. Wikipedia tells us:

People who have translated the psalm range from Martin Luther to Katherine Parr, (last wife of Henry VIII), and translations have ranged from Parr’s elaborate English that doubled many words, through metrical hymn forms, to attempts to render the meaning of the Hebrew as idiomatically as possible in a modern language (of the time).

Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness.

Psalm 100:1-2

In our first reading, Paul clearly states a perfect reason for such singing:

But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love God had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7

This is such a powerful passage from Ephesians!
If we really internalize it, there is no limit to the power of our faith.


(That’s me before I dyed my hair grey 🙂

Using an inclusive translation of Psalm 100, I sat quietly with its individual phrases today and my spirit was deeply fed. Sometimes, I put my reasoning mind to the side, and just let the dynamic beauty of the words rest in my heart.

Psalm 100 – Jubilate Deo

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come into the divine presence with a song.
Know this: the Lord, the Lord, is God;
the One made us and to whom we belong;
we are God’s people, the sheep of God’s pasture.
Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving; 
go into these courts with praise;
give thanks to God and call upon the name of the Lord. 
For the Lord is good, whose steadfast love is everlasting;
and whose faithfulness endures from age to age.

Inclusive Language Psalter: Anglican Church of Canada

Music: Jubilate Deo  – Dan Forrest

I have included two separate links to this magnificent music which offers Psalm 100, the Jubilate, in eight languages!

First Movement: Latin

Complete concert:

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