Posts Tagged ‘broken-heartedness’

James 5:19-20: Harvest of Hope

Tuesday, November 1, 2022HarvestLogo

My dear friends . . .

What are we to make of James’ letter to us? How does he frame his closing remarks?

If you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth . . .

And surely we must know someone who is broken or abandoned. And just as surely we will know someone who is full of pride and over-confident.

Don’t write them off . . .

thorn heart bibleThis may be difficult. James has asked us to find a way to communicate with those whose anxiety or pride have put them out of our reach; yet James admonishes us.

Go after them . . .

We have no excuses. James wants to see our faith played out in our works.

Get them back . . .

James wants to see us as wounded healers, as a light in the darkness, as salt for the earth.

And you will have rescued precious lives from destruction . . .

James urges us to bring hope to and out of those who despair and those who shun God.

And you will have prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God . . .

James urges us to look for God’s image in others. He asks that we continue to commit our work and our prayer to God as we struggle to unlock the goodness waiting to rise from so many wounded souls. He asks us to participate fully in God’s outrageous and daring harvest of hope.

Tomorrow, a prayer for harvesting hope.

Use the scripture link to find other versions of these verses from THE MESSAGE. 

Images from: https://www.catholiccharities.net/Events/RegionalEvents/HarvestofHopeDinner.aspx and https://pastorrudytlc.com/2019/03/04/lent-and-love/

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Psalm 51: Miserere

Fra Angelico: Deposition from the Cross (detail)

Fra Angelico: Deposition from the Cross (detail)

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The most famous of the lament psalms, often said during the Lenten season, is also called The Miserere and is frequently set to music.

This week in an exploration of James, our study group is focusing on Chapter 2 in which James brings home the message that words without action are dead, empty, and barren.  Words with action are life, fullness and fruit bearing. This is the sacrifice our God requires of us. God does not look for our burnt offerings of first and best fruits. Nor does God delight in our willfulness; rather, God rejoices at our acknowledgment of our broken-heartedness and waywardness. And God certainly rejoices in our homecoming, wishing nothing more than to be with us fully and totally. In this relationship therefore, we can set aside no room saved for our own littleness of for tiny pettiness. We are created for bigness, for greatness. This is perhaps why we are always seeking something more than what we have and more than what we are.

In today’s Gospel (John 3:14-21), Jesus describes to Nicodemus just how much God loves the world. Today we might make the best of this opportunity to turn to God to offer our lament or miserere. Psalm 51 is more than an internal and personal act of contrition; this prayer is a statement of our commitment to change and our willingness to witness to what this change has done for us.

Francesco Scarlatti: Miserere mei Deus

Francesco Scarlatti: Miserere mei Deus

And so we pray . . .  Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.  I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners might return to you . . . Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise. 

 Lord, sustain us . . . Lord, open our lips . . . that we may show you our contrition . . . that we may sing our intentional and sincere miserere . . . that we may proclaim your praise.  Accept our offering of brokenness . . . and bring us home to you. 

Adapted from a reflection written on February 11, 2010.

For a music link, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA88AS6Wy_4 

Fra Angelica image from: http://radiomelasudas-beaumarchais.blogspot.com/2010/09/michel-richard-delalande-miserere-mei.html

Scarlatti image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Francesco_Scarlatti_-_Miserere_mei_Deus._(BL_Add_MS_31608_f._8v).jpg

Our next Lenten days we will take us on a journey through Psalms.

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With deep sadness we witness the destruction taking place in Ukraine. With outrageous hope we pray for the safe conduct of refugees. With Christ’s love we pray for those who bring destruction to a people who declare their right to self-govern. May the hearts of oppressors be softened. May the hearts of the oppressed be fortified. May we all learn to live in loving support of one another. Today’s message from Isaiah brings us words to ponder.  

Isaiah 61:1-2: Favor from the Lord2013-07-07-Psalm-34_18

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.

These are words that Jesus reads out from the Isaiah scroll when he begins his ministry. (Luke 4:14-30) Click on the scripture link and read varying versions of these verses.

Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., reminds us that prophets walk among us today. He suggests that we might be prophets ourselves . . . once we grow up. “It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way. People who refine this consciousness to a high spiritual state, who learn to name and live with paradoxes, are the people I would call prophetic speakers. We must refine and develop this gift”.

Spend time with these verses from Isaiah and Luke today and reflect on their meaning along with the words from Richard Rohr and consider . . . do the events in our present lives call us to prophetic work? Have we been gifted with favor from the Lord? Might we heal broken hearts and free captives from their worries? Is it time to develop our gift from the Lord?

Image from: http://glenwoodchurch.org.za/2013/07/09/close-to-the-brokenhearted/

Richard Rohr citation in this post is from “Self-Critical Thinking,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 15, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Self-Critical-Thinking.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=rnft6vyUO0Q

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Sunday, February 13, 2022

Dark Sky Association: Hovenweep National Monument

Dark Sky Association: Hovenweep National Monument

Psalm 147:1-7

Calling the Stars by Name

Praise the Lord for God is good; sing to the Lord for God is loving; to God is all our praise due . . .

We may know and understand that God accompanies us as we stumble over and through the obstacles in our lives, but how do we demonstrate our belief that God is good and loving? How do we give to God the praise that is due?

The Lord brings back and builds up, heals the broken-hearted and binds up all their wounds . . .

Each time we help someone in need without complaining, each time we extend ourselves when we ourselves are spent, each time we reach out to heal and soothe, these are the times when we bring God’s goodness to light.

The Lord fixes the number of stars and calls each one by name . . .

Each time we see ourselves in proper perspective with the rest of the universe, each time we honor God’s creation by conserving nature, each time we teach others to reverence the world, these are the times when we bring God’s merciful power to fullness.

Our Lord is great and almighty; God’s wisdom can never be measured . . .

Each time we spend an hour with scripture to understand its deeper meaning, each time we meditate to listen for the word of God, each time we bring God’s wisdom to another, these are the times when we bring God’s insight to the world.

The Lord raises up the lowly and humbles the wicked to the dust . . .

Each time we humble ourselves and allow others to go forward, each time we pray for the wicked who harm us, each time we speak for those who have no voice, these are the times when we bring the Beatitudes to life.

O sing to the Lord and give thanks; sing psalms to our God with the harp . . .

When we consider the panoply of stars in the darkness of the heavens, each time we consider the enormity of the multiverse, each time we allow God to take us into the vision and plan God has in mind . . . these are the times when we too, in unison with God, call each of the stars by name.

To find out if we can really name stars after loved ones, watch a short video or read the article when you visit: http://www.universetoday.com/104134/can-you-really-name-a-star/  Also on this site: images of the Northern Lights, and a link to a YouTube time-lapse stargazing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grAz87CdefI&feature=youtu.be

For a preview of an article on The Multiverse, visit: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-the-multiverse-really-exist/ 

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joyTuesday, November 2, 2021

Matthew 5

A Prayer for Joy

We move further into scripture looking for stories of joy that continue to surprise us. To explore other stories, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we pause to pray in gratitude for Joy.

We most often associate joy with positive feelings of happiness; yet God dwells most fully with the broken-hearted. Today, whether we are content or sad, we open our hearts to God’s mercy and goodness.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

We frequently ask for joy in the darkest of moments; and Christ walks with us most passionately when we are lost or abandoned. Today, whether we are alone or with loved ones, we open our hearts to Christ’s power and transformation.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We regularly forget joy when we are suffering or in pain; yet the Spirit dwells within us most completely when we experience sorrow and loss. Today, whether we feel God’s presence or not, we open our hearts to the Spirit’s consolation and peace.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Joy is present in our lives even when the horizon is dark and our circumstances grime. Although we sometimes feel as though our woe outweighs our joy, we find that God surprises us in the most unusual of times, places and ways.

beatitudes and heartsLoving God, we thank you for your gift of surprise today.

Healing Christ, we thank you for the gift of your presence today.

Healing Spirit, we thank you for your gift of hope today. Amen.

To reflect further on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, visit Matthew 5. Or visit Luke 6 for Jesus’s Sermon on the Plain. Spend time with these verses today. Consider the blessings and woes we find each day and how we find God in all of these experiences.

If there is time, enter the word joy into a Bible online concordance and allow God to surprise you. Explore www.biblegateway.com or use your web browser to find a concordance that appeals to you . . . and prepare for the gifts of joy and surprise.


Image from: http://www.blulogan.org/tag/matthew-chapter-5

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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nile mapMonday, September 13, 2021

Jeremiah 42

. . . You Are Remnant


If you remain quietly in this land I will build you up, and not tear you down . . .

We will know when we are closest to God when our hearts are broken.

I will plant you, not uproot you . . .

We will know that God is near when we hear the call to make reparation.

For I regret the evil I have done you . . .

When we most feel like abandoning a place or a relationship, we will know that restoration is at hand.

Then listen to the word of the Lord, remnant of Judah.

When we repent our own broken vows, when we remain rooted and bloom where we are planted . . .

The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel. 

When we build bridges with our enemies . . .

The Lord has brought them back from the land of the north.

When we move forward into true union and intimacy with God . . .

The Lord will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child, they shall return as an immense throng. 

When we ask nothing more than to do God’s will . . . then we will know that we are remnant.

They departed in tears, and the Lord will console them and guide them; the virgins will make merry and dance, and young men and old as well.  

So let us sing with our remnant companions . . .

The Lord will turn their mourning into joy, the Lord will console and gladden them after their sorrows.

And let us call others to the dance . . .

Cease your tears of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes, the sorrow you have sown shall have its reward.

Let us recount how the Lord has rescued us . . .

There is hope for your future.

And let us remember that we are God’s beloved . . .

How long will you continue to stray o rebellious daughter?  

Let us tell others of the wonders of God’s love . . .

The Lord has created a new thing upon the earth.

Let us soften our hearts and unbend our stiff necks . . .

The Lord will place a new law within them, and write it upon their hearts.

Let us agree to be God’s people . . .

“I will be their God”, says the Lord, “and they will be my people”. 

For there is nothing more worthy than remaining faithful to God . . . there is nothing more worthy than becoming remnant.

Image from: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2012/20121230.htm

Adapted from a reflection written on October 7, 2007.

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Monday, October 12, 2020barbed wire -love your enemiesPsalm 35

Without Cause

Without cause they set their snare for me; without cause they dug a pit for me.

At one time or another each of us will have suffered injustice at the hands of others.

Malicious witnesses come forward, accuse me of things I do not know.

At one time or another each of us will have been the victim of a pack mentality.

They slandered me without ceasing; without respect they mocked me, gnashed their teeth against me.

At one time or another each of us will have been the fodder for gossip.

They pay me evil for good and I am all alone.

At one time or another each of us will have been the innocent led to slaughter.

When I stumbled they gathered with glee, they gathered against me like strangers.

And each of those times we will not be alone for God always accompanies the innocent.

Let those who favor mu just cause shout for joy and be glad.

And each of those times we will not be alone for God always accompanies the blameless.

Awake, be vigilant in my defense, in my cause, my God and my Lord.

And each of those times we will not be alone for God always accompanies the broken-hearted.

Then I will thank you in the great assembly; I will praise you before the mighty throng.

And each of those times we will not be alone for God always accompanies the marginalized.

My tongue shall recount your justice, declare your praise, all the day long.


God calls us to love the unlovely.  Rather than seek revenge . . . let us love our enemies into goodness . . . even when we suffer without cause.

For more about loving the unlovely, click on the image above or go to: http://psalmslife.com/2012/08/27/loving-the-unlovely-psalm-3514-16/

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Gray-Red-Broken-heart-broken-hearts-21417978-300-300[1]Psalms 19:15

Words and Thoughts

Let the words of my mouth meet with your favor, keep the thoughts of my heart before you, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

We speak an immeasurable number of words in our lifetimes yet how many of these words are exchanged with God? We ponder infinite chains of ideas; yet how many of these thoughts are intertwined with the word of God? With God as our source and God as our daily sustenance, all that we think and all that we do will spring from God’s goodness.

God says: I understand how easy it is to be caught up in gossip and in the minutiae of life; and this is why I ask you to begin and end each day with me. When we share time together the small and petty problems melt away. I also understand that complicated and overwhelming issues crowd your television screens, fill newspapers and leap out of radios to frighten you; and that is why I ask you to pause during each day even if only for a moment to let me know your worries and anxieties. I want to give you strength. I want to carry you above the danger. I want to give you peace of heart and mind and soul. Let us begin with simple words exchanged between us. Your worries come to me; my peace comes to you.

We cannot resolve all of the huge and complex problems of our world . . . but we can raise our petitions to God. We cannot fix the many niggling worries that plague us . . . but we can bring these troubles to God. We cannot reconcile all damaged relationships . . . but we can ask God to mend our broken ways and broken hearts. We cannot ease all troubled minds . . . but we can make our distress known to God.

Let us call on God’s mercy and goodness. Let us keep our words and thoughts focused on God. And let us keep our hearts and minds centered in God. For in God lies our strength and our redemption.

Tomorrow, we begin a journey with Wisdom.

A re-post from August 26, 2013.

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

imagine9085[1]Job 15 and 16: Peace of Heart

Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God . . . blessed are the pure of heart, they will see heaven. 

Discipleship asks much of us as we well know.  And discipleship brings much to us . . . as we also well know.  Any obstacles we encounter as we follow Christ become honing stones for us to use as we smooth our rough edges and heal our broken hearts.  We say that we seek serenity and if this is so, let God heal our brokenness and let us be open to God’s peace of heart.  Let us begin by seeking the Wisdom of God.

The first of the wisdom books is valuable because it shows us how to react when confronted with evil.  It teaches us how to suffer innocently and well.  It instructs us how to stand in God’s light and give thanks for God’s abiding Spirit.  And even though Job’s words were set down well before the arrival of the Messiah, it opens to us the universal hope Christ brings that each of is free.  It brings to us the healing balm of Christ’s hand. It describes for us the importance of enduring in and with Christ.  It is a simple plan to find a certain peace of heart . . . despite the insurmountable impediments that loom before us.

And so when we feel unsettled, discouraged, lacking in confidence, agitated or disgruntled . . .

When it seems that our friends and family do not understand, that we are alone and abandoned . . .

When peace has gone and gentleness disappears in fear and anxiety . . .

We turn to Job and see how he reacts when he is ill, alone, and wrongly accused by friends.

When turbulent days and long nights invade and unsettle the heart, we might reply to our own tempters as does Job: I have heard this sort of thing many times.  Wearisome comforters are you all! 

And then we might turn to the one who alone brings us tranquility of the spirit and heals our brokenness.  Let us take our troubles to the Lord, to ask that he grant us a certain peace of the heart.

Tomorrow, the trial of the just . . .

First written on September 4, 2009. Revised and posted today.  

For a blog that explores how to heal broken hearts, click on the image above or go to: http://blog.relationshiprewind.com/healing-a-broken-heart-secret-steps


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