Psalm 63: So Thirsty!

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 8, 2020

( A bit late today in publishing as I was distracted by the breaking U.S. election results! I would like to say one word on that before the reflection. Here is that word:

ALLELUIA!


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 63, a prayer of deep longing and faithful intimacy. 

The psalm is complemented by the lyrical passage from the Book of Wisdom which immediately reminded me of my favorite verse for the Christmas season:

For while gentle silence enveloped all things,
and night had now run half its swift course,
Wisdom’s all-powerful Word leapt down from heaven, 
from the royal throne,
into the midst of the shadowed land.

Wisdom 18: 14-15

Using delicate feminine images, our first reading from Wisdom describes the God for whom we long – a God who longs for us as eagerly:

Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire –


This reading forms a sort of dance with our Psalm – the first describing God’s desire, the second describing ours:

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.


Our reading assures us that God readily meets our gaze:

Whoever watches for Wisdom at dawn shall not be disappointed,
for they shall find her sitting by their heart’s gate.
For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil
shall quickly be free from care;
because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her,
and graciously appears to them in the ways,
and meets them with all solicitude.


In our prayer today, let us open our deepest hearts to this Wisdom God who seeks us. Let our thirsty souls be satisfied in that loving Sacred Bliss.

Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.


Music: I Long for You, O Lord – The Dameans

I long for you, O Lord
With all my soul, I thirst for You.

God, my God, you I seek
for You my soul is thirsting,
Like a dry and weary land,
my spirit longs for You.

I have sought for Presence, Lord
to see your power and your glory.
Lord, your love means more than life.
I shall sing your praise.

Thus will I bless you while I live,
and I will call your name, O Lord.
As with the riches of a feast
shall my soul be satisfied.

Through the night, I remember You
for You have been my Savior.
In the shadow of your wings,
I will shout for joy.

Psalm 63: The Longing

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 30, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with the magnificent Psalm 63 which captures the soul’s deep longing for God.

It is a longing that, once released in the heart, must be satisfied.


In our first reading, Jeremiah experiences it akin to an addiction, the power of it consuming his life:

I say to myself, I will not mention him,
I will speak in his name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.

Jeremiah 20:9

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says not to resist the longing, but to let ourselves be consumed by it like a sacrificial offering:

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. 

Romans 12:1

Jesus, in our Gospel, is the One who surrenders himself fully to that holy longing. He calls us to imitate him:

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.


These are profound readings calling us a place that words cannot describe, a place where the Cross intersects with the truth of our lives. May we have the grace to hear and believe.


Poetry: The Longing – Rumi

There is a candle in your heart,
ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be filled.

You feel it, don't you?
You feel the separation
from the Beloved.

Invite Love to quench you,
embrace the fire.

Remind those who tell you otherwise that 
Love
comes to you of its own accord, 
and the longing for it cannot be learned in any school.

Music: The Prayer – Montserrat Cabalé

Psalm 63 A Passionate Prayer

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen

July 22, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 63, a perfect prayer for the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen, who longed for and loved God with all her heart.

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Psalm 63, in the verses quoted today, is a love song. The psalmist longs for God, body and soul. Experience has taught her that without God her whole being is a desert.

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

And so she fixes her eyes on God, her heart on God. She looks for God’s Presence in the sanctuary of her life, in the temple of her soul.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.

The psalmist promises to bless God – to be grateful and attentive to God’s affectionate grace in all the circumstances of her life:

Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.

In her serene and confident prayer, she is like the fragile hatchling, protected under her Divine Mother’s wing. She clings to God’s merciful hand, no doubt kissing it in a prayer of grateful love.

You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.


Poetry: The Living Flame Of Love – St. John of the Cross
Some find John of the Cross’s poetry challenging, if not shocking because, as well as being deeply mystical, it is often clearly erotic. But we are both mystical and erotic human beings made so by God in Whom Love has infinite dimensions. John channeled all his mystical erotic power into his profound love for God. His poems may help us to open that holy power to God as well.

Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God.

O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life. 

O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

Music:  Living Flame of Love – John Michael Talbot

Oh, Living Flame of Love
Tenderly wound my soul
To its deepest inner heart
Without oppression!

Come consumate our love
Tear through the veil of our union
If it be your will, come and rend
The veil of the temple!

Oh, lamps of fire
In deep caverns of feeling
Once obscured and blind
Are now leading
In the warmth and the passion
Of your love
(x2)

Yet gently Your hand does wound
As You rend through the veil of my temple
Come and take this life that I give
So that I might come to live in this our dying

Oh, Living Flame of Love
Tenderly wound my soul
To its deepest inner heart
Without oppression!

Thirsting for God

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060218.cfm 

ps63

Today, in Mercy, we pray with the deep longing of Psalm 63. Though God is closer to us than our breath, there is always that small – or large – gap in our comprehension where we feel an emptiness. As humans, we depend on our senses to understand reality. But we are loved by a God Who does not speak, or move, or respond in our language or dimensions. We long for the Divine consolation that comes ever so fleetingly in a wordless prayer, in a subtle melody, a child’s glance, a thunderous rain. The psalmist “gazed toward the sanctuary” to satisfy her thirst. Where will you open your gaze today to experience God?

Music: My Soul Is Thirsting ~ Michael Joncas