Archive for June, 2019

Psalm 62:5-6: Rest in God Alone

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Psalm 62:5-6Rest in God alone, my soul!  He is the source of my hope; with him alone for my rock, my safety, my fortress, I can never fall; rest in God, my safety, my glory, the rock of my strength. 

When will all the conflict end?  When will I have some peace?  When will I understand what is happening all around me?

God says:  Rather than wait for conflict to go away, learn to lean on me.  When you feel angry, when you want to control people and situations, when you feel afraid, come to me, stand on me, rest in me.  I am hope.  When you trust me you become hope, too . . . not only for yourself but others as well. 

Like a child who rests in her parent’s hands, may you find a little rest, a little peace, a little hope.

To reflect on the expectation of miracles go to the Miracles page on this blog: https://thenoontimes.com/god-time/miracles/

A re-post from June 16, 2019.

Image from: http://www.sloppynoodle.com/wp/category/inspiration-or-bible-verse-of-the-day/

Read Full Post »

Psalm 86:2: Fear and Fidelity

Saturday, June 29, 2019


Over the next few days I will be away from a computer but have scheduled Mini-Noontimes that will arrive each day.  You may want to take this opportunity to explore other pages on The Noontimes blog at www.thenoontimes.com

Remember this when you are afraid, and say it as often as you must until you feel peaceful.  It is Psalm 86, verse 2: Keep watch over my life for I am faithful, save your servant who puts trust in you. 

God says: Fidelity to my way of living (believing in me, hoping for things that others have given up on, interceding with me for the people who harm you) and trusting me in all you do (I know this is really hard because I struggled with this in Gethsemane garden one night) will bring you peace . . . because when you practice fidelity and trust in and to me, you form pathways of your own for receiving peace.  You will not have to depend on any other person or any outside force to obtain peace.  The next time something frightens you, you will automatically and naturally turn to me . . . and I will bring you a peace that cannot be shaken or taken away.   

Christ’s peace dwells within.  This is something we must remember . . . especially when we are afraid.

A re-post from June 15, 2012.

Read Full Post »

Psalm 40:12: God is Listening

Friday, June 28, 2019

Lord, do not withhold your compassion from me; may your enduring kindness ever preserve me. 

There are lots of times – and they seem to last for too long – when it feels as though God does not listen.  I know that God is everywhere, including within me, but there are days and weeks and months and even years when I feel as though I walk entirely alone.  Why does he not hear my crying?

God says: Believe it or not, I do hear you, and I understand how you feel.  I came to earth to live as one of you so that you might believe me when I speak to you.  I love you so much that I have been willing to suffer as you do.  I too, have felt alone, misunderstood and maligned.  But do not worry.  Even though your grief has brought you to a place where you feel no warmth and no compassion, I am with you.  I have always been with you.  I will always be with you.  I will never abandon you.  I will save you from the fear that grips you.  Let go of that fear so that I can take it away from you to put it in a place from which it will not escape.  I have that power.  I have that love for you.  I will preserve you.  Come to me and lay your worries at my feet.  Then rest awhile with me.  I am here.  I have always been here.  I will always be here.

Wishing you a bit of peace so that you might feel God’s love and compassion.

A re-post from June 14, 2012.

Image from: http://rowenleaf.blogspot.com/2011/11/conversations-with-muses.html

Visit The Narrow Gate page on this blog and examine what it means to travel through the eye of the needle.

Read Full Post »

Psalm 130:5: Wait for God

Thursday, June 27, 2019

I wait for Yahweh, my soul waits for him, I rely on his promise, my soul relies on the Lord more than a watchman on the coming of dawn.

I imagine that a watchman feels great relief with the advent of the first rays of light.  The strain of peering through darkness, watching for an enemy that may or may not be present must be endured . . . else the entire city or camp is put in danger.  All of this readiness and waiting are sometimes too difficult to bear.

God says: I know that you seek me and this is good.  The more you seek, the more you realize my love for you.  I, too, yearn to have you secure with me.  Remember that I always keep my promises . . . and I have plans for your welfare, not your woe.  You cannot imagine the wonderful serenity and bliss I have in mind for you.  I love you still.  I love you always.  Wait for me.  Watch for me.  I am with you even now. 

May you fully know the intense love God has for you.  Trust in him alone.  He is the source of all that is good.

A re-post from June 13, 2012.

Image from: http://songsofmarkcote.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-dawn.html 

As you wait for God, look through some of the reflections in The Book of Our Life page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/

Read Full Post »

Proverbs 22 to 24: Infinity is Us

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Escher: Approaches to Infinity

Once I begin to read these verses, I cannot stop.  They ring as true today as when they were written so long ago.  They are proof that human nature, like water, swirls to the lowest level if left unchecked; but if effort is spent, water can be managed into refreshing spray, into nurturing irrigation channels.  Water can both destroy and mend.  So too, can humans.

The shrewd man perceives evil and hides, while simpletons continue on and suffer the penalty . . . Be not friendly with a hot-headed man, nor the companion of a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways, and get yourself into a snare . . . Look not on the wine when it is read, when it sparkles in the glass.  It goes down smoothly, but in the end it bites like a serpent, or like a poisonous adder.  Your eyes behold strange sites, and your heart utters disordered thoughts . . .

Some things never change.

If you remain indifferent in time of adversity, your strength will depart from you . . . Lie not in wait  against the home of a just man, ravage not his dwelling place; for the just man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble to ruin . . . Be not provoked with evildoers, nor envious of the wicked; for the evil man has no future, the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 

Some people never change.

He who plots evil – men call him an intriguer.  Beyond intrigue and folly and sin, it is arrogance that men find abominable.

Proverbs are a fountain of strength because we can find sayings that suit all people and occasions.  As I read, the images of many people flood my mind.  Images of myself also come to me – both from good times and from bad.

These are universal sentiments for all people for all times.  On a hot summer evening we do well to pause . . . read . . . listen, watch and pray.

Written on June 12, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://f06.middlebury.edu/FYSE1176A/Escher.htm

Read Full Post »

John 16: Persecution Predicted

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 

Joy on stone . . .

We have never been told that apostleship is easy.  It has never been said that discipleship is easily lived.  What we have been told, and what has been said is this: your mourning will turn into joy, your reward will be great.

In this chapter Jesus speaks frankly, honestly and openly with his friends.  He assures them that once he goes their life will become difficult.  He reminds them that this is God’s plan and that once he, Jesus, has made his Exodus, the Holy Spirit will come to live with them – to continue to guide, protect and encourage them.

The apostles – and we – stumble through his meaning.  What is this little while of which Jesus speaks?  Jesus tells them that they must begin to petition the Father in Jesus’ name.  And suddenly these followers of the Christ begin to focus on the coming event: The Resurrection which Jesus predicts.  Suddenly, because they are familiar with all of the predictions made in their Testament of Torah, Wisdom and Prophets, they begin to understand that persecution must follow because Jesus is God.

In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.

If we are sailing easily through life’s storms, we must be ignoring some of our assignments.  If we are never challenged by the headlines, by our friends, by our dear ones, we must not be living in the now.  When we hear our thinking going toward “making nice”, “not wanting to upset anyone”, “ignoring something until it goes away or someone else takes care of it”, then we know that we are still stumbling through the meaning of the Christ’s words which he speaks to us today in Chapter 16 of John.

We must not be disheartened when we meet stiff necks, hard hearts, personal agendas.  We must call upon Christ to bring us hope, call upon the Holy Spirit to bring us comfort, call upon the Father to bolster our faith that all harm will be turned to good . . . and we must step fully into the arena of life.

And so we pray . . .

Jesus, God, Holy Comforter, we know that you will never lead us falsely, yet we fear the coming storm.  We doubt our own ability to follow you.  We know that you are always with us, yet your presence is sometimes difficult to feel.  We doubt our own steadfastness.  We know that your words are true, because you are Truth.  We know that your words are loving, because you are Love.  We know that the darkness is shattered by your presence, because you are Light.  Bolster us with confidence, send us courage, because we know of the persecution of this world . . . and we also know that you have already conquered this world.  We ought not to fear, but we are human.  Send us your strength.  Teach us how to find joy in the stony path of life. Remind us that joy will come of our mourning.  Amen. 

First written on June 11, 2008.  Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

For a reflection on living in joy click on the image above or go to: http://www.writtencreations.com/blog/2012/05/30/living-in-joy/

Read Full Post »

Zechariah 10: The New Order

Monday, June 24, 2019

When surprise springs upon us we stagger a bit in wonderment . . . and then we too often we move forward quickly, passing by the opportunity to reflect with God about how the surprise he has given us will continue to change our lives.  It is these changes and surprises that tell us we can trust God.  It is these changes and surprises that reveal God’s fidelity and care for us.  It is these changes and surprises that bring us evidence of God’s deep and abiding love.

Today we spend time thinking about the new orderZechariah predicts the newness that accompanies the Messiah.  The Pharisees do not want to hear this news.  From today’s Gospel reading from Luke: Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you”.  He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose’”.

God brings order out of the chaotic universe.  Jesus brings order out of the corrupt hierarchy when he tells us that we are priests in our own right, the adopted daughters and sons of the creator, no longer needing the intercession of priests in the temple.  We are our own temple, Christ having destroyed the old and having become the new.  We enter into that temple when we humble ourselves, take up our assignments, and follow.

To have a deep understand of the meaning in the Book of Zechariah it is best to read notes and commentary; but even at a quick glance we can feel the newness of these words.  The Word is rain in the spring season.  The Word brings about the falling away of deceitful dreams and empty comfort.  The Word gathers up the sheep who wander searching for meaning and feeling in their lives that lasts and does not flicker and vanish with the slightest whisper of struggle.  The Word strengthens us so that we might walk in his name.

Whoever strives to be made God’s dwelling place, should strive to make himself humble and peaceable, that he may be known to be God’s servant, not by his greed for talk and pliability of mien, but by the reality of his lowliness; for goodness of heart requires no false unction of talk.  (Saint Columban, d. 615- MAGNIFICAT, Oct 30, 2008)

When I suddenly find myself swimming upstream against tremendous odds, I know that it is time to halt, to humble myself, to take stock and to listen . . . so that I might hear The Word that never fails.  When I find that I do not comprehend what is before me, I know that I have entered into a new time – an exciting time – when I am accompanied closely by Christ.  Zechariah predicts his coming to the people, his coming to each of us.  In all of our struggle and anticipation . . . we might overlook the fact that he already walks among us.

The True Word is not false.  It does not flatter.  It dies not waver.  It does not manipulate.  It frees.  It speaks truth always.  It produces good fruit in due season.  The Word is the New Order.  We have heard this story many times.  Let us act as if we believe.

Let us not forget the surprising good news that the prophet Zechariah brings us.

Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 30 October 200. Print.

Image from: http://softmoonlight.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/the-desert-flower/

Written on October 30, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

For more on surprises in our lives, go to the Ruth – Surprise page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/ruth-surprise/

Read Full Post »

Luke 10:38-42: Martha and Mary

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Vermeer: Martha and Mary

There is only need of one thing.

There is a time for action and a time for reflection.  This well-known story of Martha and Mary reminds us of the opening of Chapter 3 in Ecclesiastes: There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.  And frequently these times occur at once, leaving us a bit dizzy and exhausted.  We need not worry that we have missed an opportunity, for God always allows us another opportunity to amend.  What we must do is to allow ourselves enough action time balanced with quiet time . . . in order that we both witness and wait.

There is only need of one thing.

This story is followed by the time when Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray to the Father.  I always think it must have been startling for his followers to hear that he encouraged them to address the creator with the name of Abba . . . Father, a name of endearment and intimacy.  This relationship with God that Jesus urges is quite different from the one which Israel had experienced as chosen tribe.  This new relationship is one in which we are loved beyond measure, it is one in which we are urged to ask so that we might receive.  It is one in which we are encouraged to petition so that we might be answered.

There is only need of one thing.

In the midst of so many seasons, so many turnings, so many routes, so many options . . . There is only need of one thing . . . to listen to the voice of God, to witness and to wait, to petition and to ask . . . Abba, Father . . .

There is only need of one thing.

Image from: http://www.womeninthebible.net/2.3.Martha_and_Mary.htm

For a wonderful site that tells us so much about Martha and Mary, click on the image above or go to: http://www.womeninthebible.net/2.3.Martha_and_Mary.htm

Also you may like this reflection on The Greatest Vocation at: http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2010/07/greatest-vocation.html

Written on June 9, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

Read Full Post »

Judith 7: The Heart of the Just

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Titian: Judith and the Head of Holofernes

This is one of my favorite stories – perhaps because the protagonist is a woman.  A good commentary will let us know that there were Hebrew, Latin and Greek versions of this story and that while no one knows the actual events which this narrative describes, it is meant as a text that will bolster the peoples’ faith in the presence of God among them.  It is “a tract for difficult times; the reader, it is hoped, would take to heart the lesson that God was still the Master of history, who would save Israel from her enemies.  Note the parallel with the time of Exodus: as God had delivered his people by the hands of Moses, so he could deliver them by the hand of the pious widow Judith”.  (Senior 520)

Chapter 7 tells of the siege of the town Bethulia by the Assyrian troops of King Nebuchadnezzar under the military leadership of Holofernes together with local tribes; and it sets the story.  If you have time today or this evening, read the entire story.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

It is fascinating to read about these two groups of men who take into account both the small details and the broad strategies in order to lay out the best plans.  They reconnoiter approaches, locate water sources, assess troop strength, close off escape routes, and store up resources.  Meanwhile, the Israelites watch and pray.  Their leader tells them: Let us wait five days more for the Lord our God, to show his mercy toward us; he will not utterly forsake us.  Still, because the odds were so stacked against them, the Hebrew people of Bethulia mourned.  They saw no hope of deliverance and believed they would all be killed or enslaved.

They were in a desperate place with desperate circumstances, yet they hoped.  And a woman acts to save them.  As we have observed, it is a great story.

As we reflect on this story we arrive at this thought: If we always turned to God at the first moment an army amassed itself against us, and if we would be willing to trust an unlikely agent – such as the widow Judith – we might find ourselves less anxious and more joyful.

Today’s Psalm at Mass is 112 with the repeated antiphon: The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.  One of the stanzas reads: An evil report he shall not fear; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.  His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear till he looks down upon his foes.

If we might trust as Judith trusts, if we might steady our hearts to make them steadfast and focused on Christ – the rescuer who rescues all who turn to him – we might find more success and less war.  When we hear evil reports as we do each day when we tune into the news, we would tremble less.  When we hear rumors about family, friends and colleagues, we might wait five days or so and petition God for advice in the meantime.  When we fear that we have gone wrong and have lost our way, we might rely on God’s mercy, knowing that he will not forsake us.

If you have time today to spend with some ancient people who thought they faced extinction and yet were saved, you will be rewarded with a story about a pious widow who saves a town . . . and your heart may move closer to firmness, to justice, to trust in the Lord.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.520. Print.

Written on June 2, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.artbible.info/art/large/499.html

Visit A Historical Commentary on the Book of Judith at: http://kinghezekiahofjudah2.blogspot.com/2008/06/location-of-judiths-town-of-bethulia.html

For more about this amazing woman’s story, go to Judith – Sublime Faith, Heroic Love at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/judith-sublime-faith-heroic-love/ or use the search the name Judith on this blog. 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: