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Posts Tagged ‘changing hearts’


Psalm 102: Distress

Monday, May 6, 2019

“The psalmist, experiencing psychic and bodily disintegration (4-12), cries out to God (1-3).  In the temple precincts where God has promised to be present, the psalmist recalls God’s venerable promises to save the poor (13-23).  The final part (24-29) restates the original complaint and prayer, and emphasizes God’s eternity”.  (Senior 715)

Easter Sunday has passed but if we observe Easter as a liturgical event, we are reminded that Easter itself lasts for seven days, and the Easter Season for fifty days.  This makes it the longest celebration of the year . . . and we need it, as our psalm today reminds us.  Even though we have just witnessed the Resurrection as evidence of the fact that God keeps his promises, we who are poor in spirit and strength need an Easter Monday reminder that God saves.

God has shattered my strength in mid-course, has cut short my days.  I plead, O my God . . .

The joy of Easter brightens our days temporarily; the pain of our suffering still gnaws at us, refusing to let loose its grip.  The psalmist reminds God that we suffer . . . even as we await redemption and rescue.

Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry come unto you.  Do not hide your face from me now that I am in distress.  Turn your rear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.

Often we feel that doing the work named for us brings us more pain and less understanding than we can bear; we drift while others celebrate.  We await the time of joy for all.

All my day long my enemies taunt me; in their rage, they make my name a curse . . . Because of your furious wrath, you lifted me up just to cast me down.  My days are like the lengthening shadow; I wither like the grass.

At these times of disintegration, as in all times, when others celebrate yet we feel as though we watch through a thick plate of glass, we turn to God, asking his help.

But you, Lord, are enthroned forever; your renown is for all generations.  You will again show mercy . . .

We are about to enter the third week of Easter joy so let us remember those who still feel left behind, and let us gather them into the fold where all peoples and kingdoms gather to worship the Lord [whose] years last through all generations. 

When we feel that we are disintegrating while all around us in coming together, let us call out to our maker and ask that he change all hearts, our own and those of our enemies.  May he soften our hearts of stone, may he warm our hearts that are cold, may he change our hearts that feel his absence and yearn for his radiant presence, may he rescue us and keep us in his everlasting presence: Of old you laid the earth’s foundations; the heavens are the work of your hands.  They perish, but you remain; they all wear out like a garment; like clothing you change them and they are changed, but you are the same, your years have no end.


A re-post from April 21, 2012.

Image from: http://www.tariqweb.com/awesome-hearts-by-the-nature-32-pics/awesome-hearts-in-nature-18/

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.715. Print.   

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hard-heartTuesday, August 19, 2014

Jeremiah 17:1-11

Obstinacy

Jeremiah speaks so much about the human heart, that place where God speaks, that place where God writes, that place that chooses to respond to the Call we know we hear.  Today’s reading is about the stony heart, the hard heart that accompanies the stiff neck . . . the heart that turns away from Wisdom and so becomes cold and lifeless.

Jeremiah predicts that God will write a new covenant (31:31), a new message on our hearts of stone.  Just as the Israelites turned back to God after having worshiped false gods, so will we . . . once we hear the message of the voice that speaks in that inner place – the only place we trust.

Jeremiah also tells us that the Lord has in mind wonderful plans for us, plans for our joy rather than tears, plans for a newness of heart (29:11).

What is it that hardens hearts and stiffens necks?  The writers of the MAGNIFICAT Mini-Reflection tell us that it is pride when we believe that we have all of the answers to all the world’s problems . . . when in truth we have none.  The true answers to the deepest of mysteries are opened to us by Wisdom that comes to us when we trust only in God.

Pride sets subtle snares.  Whenever we imagine that we are in control of life – our own or someone else’s – we have fallen prey to the ancient whisper in the Garden: “You shall be like Gods”.  Mortality is the enduring reminder that we become like God not by our own power but by the power of the cross.  (Cameron 270-271)

We constantly forget that we are already divine. We repeatedly succumb to the subtle call of pride. We regularly forget that we learn best when we fail. Obstinacy in our own plans brings pain . . . perseverance and faithfulness are gifts of the Spirit.  Pride in our possessions and accomplishments brings disappointment . . . obedience and patience are joy. Hardness of heart brings narrowness . . . softness of heart opens the mind, body and spirit. Once we agree to kneel in order to crawl though the Eye of the Needle, we will know Christ’s healing power . . . the power he gained through his own refusal to succumb to the siren call of pride . . . the life he gives when we put aside all obstinacy.

Adapted from a reflection written on August 19, 2008.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 19.8 (2012): 270-271. Print. 

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Psalm 119:25-32

daleth[1]Daleth

I lie prostrate in the dust; give me life . . . I disclosed my ways and you answered me . . . you open my docile heart . . .

We find ourselves at our lowest ebb; we see the abyss yawning before us . . . and yet we know that God is with us; we know that God has the power to do the impossible with, and for, and in each of us.

God says: You may see your world as hostile and lacking nourishment yet what I see is a universe of hearts and souls.  When you bring me your dreams I dream them with you. When you bring me your pain I suffer with you.  When you bring me your joy I celebrate with you. 

We must strive to be open and vulnerable to God.  We must put aside our reliance on self rather than God.  And we must be willing to dream what at first seems impossible.

Today we reflect on the fourth lesson in Psalm 119.  It is a reminder that with God all things are possible. Tomorrow, He.

Jesus said to them: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.  (Matthew 17:20)

To learn more about the importance of the Hebrew letter Daleth, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/alphabet-of-kabbalah/716-daleth.html and http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-meir/381626970/

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