Alleluia: I’m Rich!

Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
June 18, 2022

Today’s readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/061822.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse tells us a secret: there is a greater wealth than this world would have us believe. It is a wealth contradicted by human definitions but proven in the Resurrection of Christ.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

This secret doesn’t make sense to one without faith. But if we observe the Iives of those with faith, we will discover their accumulating riches: peace, joy, trust, enthusiasm, hope, gratitude, wisdom, courage….


The Gospel to which our verse leads describes such a faithful life:

Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.

Matthew 6: 26-27

Does this all mean we won’t have challenges in our lives, or disappointment, or suffering? No, I don’t think so.

What is does mean is that we will know what is truly important and precious in our lives – those things that “money can’t buy”. And we will honor them, work for them, share them. Hopefully, people can look at us and find that kind of wealth.


Poetry: Worry About Money – Kathleen Raine

Wearing worry about money like a hair shirt
I lie down in my bed and wrestle with my angel.

My bank-manager could not sanction my continuance for another day
But life itself wakes me each morning, and love

Urges me to give although I have no money
In the bank at this moment, and ought properly

To cease to exist in a world where poverty
Is a shameful and ridiculous offence.

Having no one to advise me, I open the Bible
And shut my eyes and put my finger on a text

And read that the widow with the young son
Must give first to the prophetic genius
From the little there is in the bin of flour and the cruse of oil.


Music: two songs today – one for reflection and one for fun

The Glory Way – Badnarik

Side by Side – Brenda Lee

Alleluia: A Heart Freed to Love

Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
June 17, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/061722.cfm


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse blesses us with one of the Beatitudes

Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Poverty of spirit! The concept presents all kinds of questions:

  • What does it really mean? 
  • Must we be materially poor?
  • Will material poverty make us holy?
  • What other kinds greed, besides the love of money, can consume the soul?

Michael Crosby wrote a book – decades ago now – that touched me deeply. It’s one of the signature books of my spiritual life. Here is a quote from it about being poor in spirit:

The Kingdom of God can only be received by empty hands. Jesus warns against

(a) worldly self-sufficiency: you trust yourself and your own resources and don’t need God; 

(b) religious self-sufficiency: you trust your religious attitude and moral life and don’t need Jesus.

Michael H. Crosby, Spirituality of the Beatitudes: Matthew’s Vision for the Church in an Unjust World

Our verse today leads to one of the most profound lines of the Gospel:

Let’s think on these simple yet power-packed encouragements as we examine our own possessions and poverties.


Poetry: from Augustine of Hippo

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, 
and our heart is restless 
until it finds its rest in thee.


Music: St. Augustine’s Prayer – Ed Conlin

Alleluia: God’s Child!

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
June 16, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/061622.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our verse affirms the wonder of our spiritual bloodline:

Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a spirit of adoption
as God’s children
through which we cry:
Abba! Father!


Elijah

After the Biblical theatrics of our first reading about Elijah and Elisha, our heads might be full of fiery miracles and restorations to life!  Perhaps our Alleluia Verse seems mild by comparison. But it is not!


Think of it! You are God’s child! You are made of Divinity!

Oh, if we only fully believed this about ourselves, what would our lives be like?

Instead, we sometimes behave like lonely orphans in this world, making choices that alienate us from our true nature.


Today as we pray this verse from Romans, and relish the beautiful Gospel which gives us the Our Father, let’s rekindle our sacred heritage as God’s beloved child.

We can speak to God in greatest security and confidence about all that is most central in our lives. Let God hold you and hum to you, a loving Parent Who cherishes your nearness and your trust.

Letting God listen to us, we also listen to ourselves. We may be surprised at what we learn.


Poetry: The Creation (closing stanzas) – James Weldon Johnson

Then God walked around,
And God looked around
On all that he had made.
He looked at his sun,
And he looked at his moon,
And he looked at his little stars;
He looked on his world
With all its living things,
And God said: I’m lonely still.

Then God sat down—
On the side of a hill where he could think;
By a deep, wide river he sat down;
With his head in his hands,
God thought and thought,
Till he thought: I’ll make me a man!

Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
This great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till he shaped it in is his own image;

Then into it he blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
Amen.      Amen.


Music: from Songs for the Inner Child – Shaina Noll

Peace be with you, oh my dear one

Peace be with you, precious child.

Peace be with you, oh my dear one

Peace be with you precious child.

Angels hover all about you

They protect you night and day

Angels hover all about you

They will guide you on your way.

God is with you, oh my dear one

God is with you, precious child.

God is with you, oh my dear one

God is with you, precious child.

You are blessed and you are holy

Precious gift god gave to me

You are blessed and you are holy

You’re an angel I can see.

Peace be with you, oh my dear one

Peace be with you, precious child.

Peace be with you, oh my dear one

Peace be with you precious child.

Alleluia: Love’s Silent Unity

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
June 15, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/061522.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we listen to Jesus’s instruction and promise about how to live at one with God.

Alleluia, alleluia.
If you love me and will keep my word,
and my Father will love you
and we will come to you.

What wonderful assurance! We don’t have to labor to find God, or worry about searching for God. 

God will come to us – will blossom in our hearts like a sacred flower, – if we love Jesus and keep his Word.


In the opening sentence of her book “Too Deep for Words”, Thelma Hall, r.c. says this:

There is an inner dynamic in the evolution of all true love that leads to a communication too deep for words.  There the lover becomes inarticulate, falls silent, and the beloved receives the silence as eloquence.

Our verse today carries
that same, exquisite mystery,
the silent and complete unity
that comes from mutual love. 

Our Gospel elaborates on the invitation. 

But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,
and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Matthew 6:6

Let us savor these promises in our prayer today.


Poetry: in the silence – Rumi

In the silence 
between your heartbeat 
bides a summons
from Love.
Do you hear it? 
Name it if you must, 
or leave it forever nameless, 
but why pretend it is not there?

Music: The God of Silence – Bukas Palau

Awash in Mercy

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with a very diverse set of readings.

The current passages from 1 Kings probably aren’t doing a lot to enhance your spiritual life right now. Life in Elijah’s times was pretty harsh, and applying its harsh descriptions to our own life may take a real stretch.


But our verse for the day and the Gospel to which it leads, offer an easier path to prayer.

This verse opens our Responsorial Psalm, the ardent “Miserere” which begs God for mercy. (I chose it because we prayed with the Alleluia Verse just the other day.)

It may be rare for us to feel such an impassioned need for mercy. Hopefully our lives are not as fraught with angst as were Ahab’s and Jezebel’s. But, let’s face it, neither our lives, nor the way we live them, is perfect.


Those of you who know me won’t need this disclaimer because you know better. But for other readers who don’t know me personally, let me tell you this. Despite my mother’s belief and constant proclamation, I am not perfect either. 

I have hard edges, ingrained meannesses, and unacknowledged shadows that thirst for God’s Mercy and Light. 

I think it’s safe to say that we all do. No canonized saints are reading this blog!


Today’s verse and entire psalm help us to open our hearts to any harbored sinfulness and to receive the transforming grace of insight, forgiveness, and intention to change.

May we pray our plea for mercy
with sincerity and hope.
May God’s response lead us closer
to the perfect compassion
described in today’s Gospel.

Poetry: To Live in the Mercy of God – Denise Levertov

To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
rise, rise
               before ribs of shelter
                                           open!

To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.

Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
moss bed.

And awe suddenly
passing beyond itself. Becomes
a form of comfort.
                      Becomes the steady
air you glide on, arms
stretched like the wings of flying foxes.

To hear the multiple silence
of trees, the rainy
forest depths of their listening.

To float, upheld,
                as salt water
                would hold you,
                                        once you dared.

                  To live in the mercy of God.

To feel vibrate the enraptured
waterfall flinging itself
unabating down and down
                              to clenched fists of rock.
Swiftness of plunge,
hour after year after century,

                                                   O or Ah
uninterrupted, voice
many-stranded.
                              To breathe
spray. The smoke of it.

                              Arcs
of steelwhite foam, glissades
of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
rage or joy?

                              Thus, not mild, not temperate,
God’s love for the world. Vast
flood of mercy
                      flung on resistance.


Music: Miserere – Gregorio Allegri 

Alleluia: A Lamp to My Feet

Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church
June 13, 2022

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/061322.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy. we thank God for lighting our path.

Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.


I know each one of us has come home late at night, maybe in a heavy rain. The way home is dark and we are unsure of ourselves in the gloom. Depending on how far we’re coming from, the journey can be harrowing. We can’t wait to see that light in our very familiar and cozy front window.

This feeling is so universal that one hotel chain has capitalized upon it:


Our Alleluia Verse today recognizes that God has, and always will “leave the light on for us”. Grace awaits us in every circumstance if we turn our hearts to God.

The tough part is doing that when we feel a little bit panicky in the dark. It takes courage to be still and let God’s Light find us. We can become better and stronger by gratefully remembering all the times God has already brought us home to wholeness.

God has not failed us in the past and will not fail us now, or in the future.


Poetry: At a Window – Carl Sandburg

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!
But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.

Music: Guiding Light – Alan Scott

Alleluia: Glory to God, True, Good and Beautiful

My links have not been working properly for earlier readings and reflections . So please go to USCCB.org for readings until I figure this out.❤️

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
June 12, 2022

Andrei Rublev’s Holy Trinity

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray within the awesome Mystery of the Triune God.

Alleluia. Alleluia.
Glory to the Creator, to the Redeemer, to the Sanctifier,
our God Who is, Who was, and Who will always be.


This is the greatest Mystery of our faith. We kneel in awe before it dazed by its Infinity, shadowed by our uncomprehending creaturehood.

Today’s prayer may remind us that our faith frees us from the struggle to comprehend.

We are not meant to understand Mystery.
Instead, slowly to absorb It,
ultimately to be absorbed by It.
With each encounter, 
Mystery changes us
by Itself never-changing
yet ever revealing 
the More, 
the Greater, 
the Deeper, 
the One.

Poetry: After Rublev’s Trinity by Carrie Purcell Kahler

Each face turned toward
a face at table leaving
always a space for
one more. An open
door to run through when someone
can’t quite make it home
on their own. Though the
wings work, humans haven’t got
them, and it’s hard to
converse from heights so,
in one hand a staff to lean
on. The other hand
ever reaches down.

Music: O God of Lovliness

Alleluia: Lean into God!

Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle
Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
June 11, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we ask God to help us set our hearts in the right direction — toward God in all things.

And we express the blessed insight that to live within God’s Law is to be favored.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees;
and favor me with your law.


Here’s the way I picture this prayer.

Life is like a rip tide. It can capture us and pull us under its breakers when we least expect it. But as any good ocean swimmer knows, when we are caught in a rip tide, we must relax, lean into it, and swim perpendicular to its force.


Our Alleluia Verse today is kind of a “rip-tide prayer”. We ask for the courage to lean into God’s power in our lives, to trust it, and to swim with it even though it contradicts a godless culture.


God promises that there is always a current of grace to carry us to the Divine Heart, but our efforts alone cannot sustain us. As in Psalm 86, we can ask God to do a little leaning toward us to help us out in a tough sea! 🙂

May we ever incline our hearts to God’s Love already leaning over us in Mercy.


Poetry: You are so weak – Rumi

You are so weak.
Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave ’til it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.

Music: Oceans – Hillsong

Alleluia: Just Shine

Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
June 10, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse gives us a powerful encouragement– “Shine”. That’s it – just shine because the Word of God has charged you with Light and Life.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life. ( Phil. 2:15-16)

As our verse so clearly indicates, the more we absorb the beauty of the scriptures into our hearts, the more we shine.

And it’s not just about reading the Bible. It’s about sitting down with the Word just like we would with an old and dear friend. It’s listening, not only to what is said, but the immensity that is unsaid or whispered – both by the scriptures and by our own self-examination.

It is taking what our heart hears and letting it change or deepen our lives. It is letting go of so much that doesn’t matter in order to hold on the the Word that does matter.

It is becoming a sanctuary where others see that Word shining and are strengthened.

May we shine with a Holy Light that draws others to God’s Brilliant Love.

Poetry: I found this little poem on the internet, author unknown. I think it works for today’s meditation.

You don’t have to tell how you live each day;
You don’t have to tell if you work or play;
A tried and true barometer stands in its place—
You don’t have to tell, it will shine in your face. …
If you live close to God and God’s infinite grace—
You won’t have to tell, it will shine in your face.

Music: Walk in the Beautiful Light

I think this video is amazing. The hymn is being sung by a German speaking choir!

(Lyrics below — I especially like those “dewdrops of mercy”)

Walk in the light, beautiful light,
come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright.
Oh shine all around us by day and by night,
Jesus is, Jesus is the light of the world;

Oh we shall walk in the light, beautiful light,
come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright.
Oh shine all around us by day and by night,
Jesus is, Jesus is the light of the world;

No need to worry, no need to fret,
all of my needs, the man named Jesus has met.
His love protects me from hurt and from harm,
Jesus is, Jesus is the light of the world.

If the gospel be hid, it’s hid from the lost,
my Jesus is waiting to look past your faults.
Arise and shine, your light has come,
Jesus is, I know that He is the only light of this world.

Jesus is the light,
light of the world.

Jesus is the light,
light of the world.

Jesus is the light,
light of the world.

He’s ever shining in my soul.

Alleluia: Be Love!

June 9, 2022
Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse holds the complete essence of Jesus’s life. If there ever was glorious “nutshell”, this is it:

Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you. (Jn. 13:34)

Our motherhouse chapel is breathtakingly beautiful. Thinking of it as a “chapel”, people who first walk through its doors are astounded at itscathedral-like dimensions. I know I certainly was as a wonder-struck eighteen-year-old on my first visit.

Our Chapel in the 1950s

For the next almost three years, I often sat in my little pew pondering the chapel’s central mural — and especially the words framing it.

The words are an invitation and a command. The painting beneath is the whole instruction on Love… “…love as I have loved you.”

After those initial years, I chose those precious words for the motto to be engraved on my ring. I have prayed ever since that it might someday be engraved on my heart. In a culture that can so misunderstand the nature of love, I always appreciate the chance to visit that altar or to look at that ring.

May we have the courage to be
“Alleluia Lovers”
in this love-hungry world!

Poetry: from one of the greatest poets, Paul in his letter to the Corinthians

If I speak in the tongues in human or angelic tongue 
but have not love,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
but have not love,
I am nothing.
If I give away all I have,
and if I deliver up my body to be burned,
but have not love,
I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; 
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends. 
As for prophecies, they will pass away;
as for tongues, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I grew up, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; 
but the greatest of these is love.

Music: Love Never Ends – by The Corner Room