Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, September 10, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 16, complementing as it does today our first reading from 1 Timothy.

Both these scripture passages
speak to us
of finding
– and being found by –
God.


Paul, in guiding his beloved disciple Timothy, defines the phenomenon as “Grace”:

Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant,
along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:14

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Grace is a participation in the life of God, which is poured unearned into human beings, whom it heals of sin and sanctifies.”

Paul agrees:

I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man,
but I have been mercifully treated
because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.

1 Timothy 1:13

But how do we open ourselves do the gift of grace? How do we engage God’s desire to deepen us in holiness?

Psalm 16 offers us wisdom:

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
    even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
    with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Psalm 16: 7-8

We invite God’s counsel 

  • by an ardent study of scripture
  • by a sacramental faith
  • by a prayer that listens more than it speaks
  • by a life centered on the works of mercy
  • by a reverence for all Creation
  • by a love that loves as God loves

I have set the Lord always before me;
because you are at my side I shall not fall.
My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;
my body also shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor let your holy one see destruction.
You will show me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your hand are graces for evermore.

Psalm 16: 8-11

Poetry: BELOVED IS WHERE WE BEGIN —Jan Richardson

from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
Beloved,
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.

But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:

Beloved.
Beloved.
Beloved.


Music: Lead Me, Lord

Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 16, a prayer for God’s protection and blessing on the path of life. It is the prayer of one whose heart is committed to God, and recognizes God as the Source of All Life.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
    I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
    you it is who hold fast my lot.

Psalm 16: 1-2

In our first reading, as Israel takes possession of the Promised Land, Joshua gathers the people in a recommitment reflective of Moses’ call to the people at Sinai. Joshua says that there is no either/or. Today is the day to choose and commit to the One God of your life:

Fear the LORD and serve him completely and sincerely.
Cast out the gods your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt,
and serve the LORD.
If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD

Joshua 24: 14-15

Like those ancient Israelites, we need faith and courage not to fall back on our false gods — half-heartedness, hard-heartedness, heartlessness. This beautiful offering of Psalm 16 by the Dameans is a prayer for protection and grace for our commitment.


Music: And to give Joshua stage time, here is another song

As for Me and My House – Pat Barrett, Chris Tomlin

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 20, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 16, one of my very favorite psalms.


I like to pray with this transliteration by Steven Mitchell – A Book of Psalms

Unnamable God,
I feel you with me at every moment.
You are my food, my drink,
my sunlight, and the air I breathe.
You are the ground I have built on
and the beauty that rejoices my heart. 
I give thanks to you at all times
for lifting me from my confusion,
for teaching me in the dark
and showing me the path of life. 
I have come to the center of the universe;
I rest in your perfect love.
In your presence there is fullness of joy
and blessedness forever and ever.

The psalmist’s prayer is so beautiful that I will just leave it without my interpretations today. Instead, here are a few settings – poetry and music – to lift this gem of a psalm before your prayer.

Let each phrase rest in your spirit.
Breathe with its rhythm.
As you savor it, let it release
a precious and holy truth
into your life.


Poetry: Two of my poems, both written when I was very young in my spiritual journey.

Awaking

Sunrise paints 
the hedge’s morning side
rose-petal gold.

But I choose
the western side.
There, midnight’s purple leaves

awake in lazy grey, 
then stripes
of green and silver.

There, the awesome 
grace of living
rises slowly in the heart,

a liquor savored,
a prayer lingering
in genuflected silence.


Contemplation

It happened in that distant winter, deep
in pristine mornings like Venetian glass.
Everyday I’d turn to face You
as frozen orange sun
slid up a whitening sky.

Every day, You would be silent,
until finally You folded me
in silence, like a nestling child
comes quiet in the rhythm
of its mother’s breath.

Even now, on such a morning
I remember how it was
when first I came to love You
from the inside, out
– the way the leaves love green.


Music: Two pieces today:

1-The Fullness of Joy – Shane and Shane

2-Hymn to Hope from Sacred Garden