Everything!

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 11, 2020

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, Acts recounts some of the challenges Paul and Barnabas met as they continued spreading the Gospel. With such a reading, we see the beginnings of theological arguments in the unfolding teaching of the Church.

One might wonder what turned yesterday’s Jewish and Gentile listeners into a stone-throwing mob. One wonders it today regarding some of the acrimonious factions within the Church.

It is one thing to receive the Gospel with one’s heart and spirit. It is another thing to receive it with one’s mind. As human beings, we resist mystery; we long for logic. We are more comfortable with a problem we can solve than with a Truth beyond our comprehension. Rather than Infinite Surprise, I think most of us prefer predictability and control.


 

Jn14_26 Everything

The Gospel can be fearsome. It asks that we let go of our limited human “geometry”; that we entrust everything to the Inclusive Love who is Jesus Christ. It asks us to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit who, ultimately, will “teach us EVERYTHING”.


question

In our recent readings, we’ve seen Thomas, Philip, and today, Jude trying to reach this level of spiritual trust. It’s hard because such trust is more than human. It is a trust bred of the Holy Spirit within us. It is a trust born of living fully in Peace with that Presence.

 


It is a trust described like this in tomorrow’s Gospel reading:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

Let us pray for trust and peace in ourselves, our Church, and world.


Music:  Wonderful Peace – an old Gospel song by Warren Cornell and William Cooper (1899), sung here by Don Moen 

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

Ah, soul! are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your Friend ere the shadows grow dark;
O accept of this peace so sublime!

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!

And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the Anchor of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

Let the Spirit Pray in Your Heart

Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 30, 2019

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, our Gospel tells us that our life is about getting to know God ever more intimately. Otherwise, when we come to our final moments, we may not be recognized by our Lord and Master.

Could this be possible? Could God not recognize the work of his own hands, the one made in God’s own image?

Probably not. But what I think the Gospel suggests is that if, throughout our whole lives, we have never prayed or drawn closer to God, God’s own image in us may be quite obscured after that disconnected lifetime.

Sometimes we might hear a person say that they don’t know how to get started talking with God in prayer. They seem to feel it’s kind of like a blind date where you end up realizing you have nothing in common with each other.

St. Paul says no, wait a minute. God is already within you simply by the nature of your creaturehood . You are made of the very stuff of God. In fact, the Spirit of God deep within our souls is like the fiery magma from a volcano. It erupts from our love and prays for us to the Creator – if we will only let it.

Rm8_26 groanings

Let us give the Spirit the space, time and invitation to rise up in our hearts, praying with us and through us. In the deep love of that relationship, we will know ourselves to be recognized and loved. We can trust that all things are working together for our good.

Music: Spirit Seeking Light and Beauty – by Janet Erskine Stuart, interpreted here by the Daughters of St. Paul (Lyrics below)

Spirit seeking light and beauty,
Heart still longing for your rest
In your search for understanding,
Only thus can you be blest,

Through the vastness of creation,
Though your restless thought may roam,
God is all that you can long for,
God is all creation’s home.

Taste and see God, feel and hear God,
Hope and grasp the unseen hand;
Though the darkness seem to hide you,
Faith and love can understand.

Loving Wisdom, guiding Spirit,
All our hearts are made anew.
Lead us through the land of shadows
‘Til we come to rest in you.

Infinite Grace

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
May 2, 2019

Click here for readings.

Today, in Mercy,  in our reading from Acts, the disciples continue to show immense courage in preaching the Word.  They are bursting with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, soon to be confirmed in them on Pentecost.

Jn3_34

We, too, have these gifts confirmed in us, not only when we receive the sacrament of Confirmation, but each time we open our hearts without reserve to the Holy Spirit and her ensuing abundance:

Wisdom
Understanding
Counsel, or Right Judgment
Fortitude, or Courage
Knowledge
Piety, or Reverence
Fear of the Lord, or Awesome Wonder

Sometimes, we unfortunately forget to call on these infinite gifts as we navigate life’s challenges. It is a blessing to remember that we are not doing this thing called “Life” alone, just as the early disciples were charged by the power of God.

Our Gospel confirms the availability of God’s unbounded Grace to all who believe:

For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.

Let’s consciously claim that unrationed grace today! Oh, what a difference it might make in our lives!

Music: Mozart: Veni Sancte Spiritus (Latin and English Lyrics below)

Veni sancte Spiritus:
Reple tuorum corda fidelium:
et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
qui per diversitatem linguarum cunctarum
gentes in unitate fidei congregasti.
Alleluia.


Come Holy Spirit:
fill the hearts of your faithful,
and kindle your love in them.

You have gathered the nations
together in the unity of faith.
Alleluia.

Jealous for My Sake?

Sunday, September 30, 2018

                       Readings:  Click here.

Today, in Mercy, our reading from the Book of Numbers reveals a very human moment between Joshua and Moses.

Moses is getting older. He realizes that the time is approaching for him to hand over the leadership of his people. God seems to realize that too.

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.

Joshua, ever since his youth, has been aide to Moses. Moses is his hero – the one, who having spoken with God, led the People out of Egypt. Now Joshua sees other ordinary guys assuming some of Moses’s roles. Joshua feels his own security and comfort shifting beneath him, hints of a spiritual earthquake.

Number 11_29 Jealous for my sake

An outraged Joshua alerts Moses, begging him to stop these supposed imposters. But Moses assures Joshua with words no hero-worshipper ever wants to hear:

Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!

What a powerful question Moses poses. It searches Joshua’s heart:


Are you jealous for my sake? 

Are you fearful, biased, closed-hearted,
and self-protective because you fear
that you and I will lose position and power?


Surely Moses senses Joshua emerging as the next leader of Israel — even though Joshua might not share that awareness yet. Moses wants him to see that it is the Spirit of God Who leads the People through any human means She wishes.

When we presume to control the Spirit, or think to invest Her power only in our own particular “heroes”, we close ourselves to the amazing, surprising power of God. This Divine Power cannot be controlled and, like wildflowers through concrete, will bloom where She chooses.

We see the fruits of such presumption all over our histories: the falsely assumed superiority of men over women, whiteness over color, wealth over labor, age over youth, or any form of dominance over mutuality. These assumptions become concretized in our culture, hardening us to the movements of the Spirit.

If we have any hold on privilege in our lives, we might be inclined to profit by these assumptions. It is just such an inclination that Moses nips in Joshua in this powerful exchange between revered teacher and apprentice.

Music: An oldie, but goodie. Always brings me a deep peace.  I hope it does the same for you, dear reader.

Come Holy Ghost – The Singing Nuns

Come, Holy Spirit!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052018-mass-during-day.cfm

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit comes to us to remain with us forever. May we open our hearts and souls to this infinite power of God within us!

Pentecost

The Pentecost Sequence is so beautiful.  You might like to find the phrase within the Sequence that most touches your heart and soul at this particular time in your life. Let that phrase bless you with the Holy Spirit’s Love.

May this be our prayer for today and the days to come:
Come, O Holy Spirit, come!
From Your bright and blissful Home
Rays of healing light impart. 

Come, Father of the poor,
Source of gifts that will endure
Light of ev’ry human heart. 

You of all consolers best,
Of the soul most kindly Guest,
Quick’ning courage do bestow. 

In hard labor You are rest,
In the heat You refresh best,
And solace give in our woe. 

O most blessed Light divine,
Let Your radiance in us shine,
And our inmost being fill. 

Nothing good by man is thought,
Nothing right by him is wrought,
When he spurns Your gracious Will. 

Cleanse our souls from sinful stain,
Lave our dryness with Your rain,
Heal our wounds and mend our way. 

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray. 

On the faithful who in You,
Trust with childlike piety,
Deign Your sevenfold gift to send. 

Give them virtue’s rich increase,
Saving grace to die in peace,
Give them joys that never end. 

Amen. Alleluia.

Music: The Pentecost Sequence in beautiful Gregorian Chant

The Last Footprint

Ascension Thursday, May 10, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051018-ascension.cfm

Today, in Mercy, we stand with the disciples, straining for a last look at Jesus as He ascends into heaven. Their hearts are stretched with both joy and pain at all that is happening to them. They long for the Holy Spirit to come to them even as they mourn the physical departure of Christ.

Many years ago, I was blessed to stand in the Chapel of the Ascension, a small shrine on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Tradition holds this to be the site of Jesus’ Ascension. Inside is a well-worn rock with a slight indentation. Many venerate this as the last footprint of Christ on earth.

ascension rock

Whether or not this devotion is valid is unimportant. In the hush of my early morning visit to this shrine, the Holy Spirit embraced me, overwhelming me with an awareness of how the disciples felt that day in the absence of Jesus.

Many reading this may feel a similar absence, a need, or a longing for God. Perhaps by touching that sense of absence, that indentation in the rock of our hearts, we may invite and welcome the Holy Spirit to fill our need.

Song: Abide with Me – Matt Redman