Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 17, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Isaiah 38 as our Responsorial Psalm.
Although the verses are under Isaiah, they are actually the words of Hezekiah, a king of Israel during Isaiah’s time. Our first reading relates the story of Hezekiah’s mortal illness and the prophetic role Isaiah plays in his recovery.
Our psalm reemphasizes the power and mercy of God who delivers Hezekiah from death. Hezekiah’s vibrant images reveal the depth of his desperation:
Once I said,
“In the noontime of life I must depart!
To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned
for the rest of my years.”
We all know what the prayer for deliverance feels like. It rises from the depths of our souls and repeats itself in a constant, “Please…”. We can think of nothing else but the favor we are praying for. We linger in our begging, sometimes for years.
Hezekiah stretches into the full extent of his pain with these striking metaphors:
My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,
is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
who severs the last thread.
Deliverance is that condition in which we, having lost all personal power to effect change, must be carried by another hand to life and well-being. If we can do that in faith, our prayer will be answered.
When it is, by either a merciful “Yes” or “No”, we will understand. It will be as if we have fallen from hanging by our fingernails into the enveloping caress of a feathered bed.
Those live whom the LORD protects;
yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me healing and life.
Poetry: For Deliverance from a Fever by Anne Bradstreet (1612 – 1672), the most prominent of early English poets of North America and first writer in England’s North American colonies to be published. She is the first Puritan figure in American Literature.
When sorrows had begirt me round, And pains within and out, When in my flesh no part was found, Then didst Thou rid me out. My burning flesh in sweat did boil, My aching head did break, From side to side for ease I toil, So faint I could not speak. Beclouded was my soul with fear Of Thy displeasure sore, Nor could I read my evidence Which oft I read before. “Hide not Thy face from me!" I cried, "From burnings keep my soul. Thou know'st my heart, and hast me tried; I on Thy mercies roll." “O heal my soul," Thou know'st I said, "Though flesh consume to nought, What though in dust it shall be laid, To glory t' shall be brought." Thou heard'st, Thy rod Thou didst remove And spared my body frail Thou show'st to me Thy tender love, My heart no more might quail. O, praises to my mighty God, Praise to my Lord, I say, Who hath redeemed my soul from pit, Praises to Him for aye.
Music: You Will Redeem It All – Travis Cottrell
You were there at the loss of all the innocence You were there at the dawn of all the shame You were there, felt the weight of all the helplessness put Yourself into the agony and pain Nothing is hidden from Your eyes You flood the darkness with Your light I have this hope as an anchor for my soul You will redeem it all, redeem it all Out of the dust into something glorious You will redeem it all, redeem it all You are here in the middle of my circumstance You are here bringing purpose out of pain You are here restoring every broken path Speaking life, You raise me once again Nothing is hidden from Your eyes Out of the ashes I will rise Hallelujah in the waiting Hallelujah even then Hallelujah for the healing You will make a way again Hallelujah in the waiting Hallelujah even then Hallelujah for the healing You will make a way again Hallelujah my Redeemer You redeem me by Your blood Hallelujah! What a Savior You turn evil back for good Hallelujah! What a Savior! Hallelujah! My Redeemer! My Redeemer!