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Posts Tagged ‘God’s mercy’


Isaiah 54:10: Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, my love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

It is difficult to imagine that the Alps or the Andes or the Himalayan Mountains might leave their place . . . and yet with God’s mercy they do.

When we place all hope in God, massive obstacles are overcome.

When we move through our days in Christ’s faith, immense disabilities are re-mediated.

When we act in the Spirit’s love, impossible circumstances melt away.

God’s overpowering love moves the mountains in our lives . . . when we act in God’s unlimited mercy.  God’s covenant with us is eternal.  Let us remain faithful to God and to the promises we make.


Dr. Paul Farmer and his family

A re-post from July 16, 2012.

Images from: http://destinationtravels999.blogspot.com/2012/03/beautiful-alps-mountainsswitzerland-hd.html

Dr. Paul Farmer has refused to bow to overwhelming odds and Tracey Kidder tells us the details of a portion of his story in his book Mountains Beyond Mountains.  For more details on an interview with Kidder on NPR go to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1472188

For more on how Farmer provides a preferential health care option for the poor, go to: http://www.pih.org/publications/entry/partner-to-the-poor-a-paul-farmer-reader/

For more on Paul Farmer, go to: http://ghsm.hms.harvard.edu/people/faculty/farmer/ and more on Kidder;s book, go to: http://mbmsummary.blogspot.com/2005/11/summaries.html

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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. 

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Mark 14:8: She has done what she could . . .

Easter Monday, April 2, 2018

Woman with the Alabaster Jar

We continue the celebration of Easter throughout this happiest of liturgical seasons, focusing on one verse a day, comparing varying translations, opening our ears and eyes to the possibility of God’s promise. Opening our hearts to the comfort of the Spirit’s healing. Opening our minds to the teachings of Christ.

She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. (NRSV)

Criticized by his followers, Jesus broadens the horizons of those willing to look beyond their comfort zone.

This woman did the only thing she could do for me; she poured perfume on my body to prepare me for burial. (NCV)

Questioned by his critics, Jesus calls those willing to follow him in the difficult path of the way of peace.

What she could do, she did do — in advance she poured perfume on my body to prepare it for burial. (CJB)

Watched by those who seek wisdom, Jesus opens possibility by affirming the act of the woman who carries the alabaster jar.

She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly. (MSG)

Examined by those who look for mercy, Jesus encourages all who respond to the world’s fears with compassion.

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to explore this verse, we open doors, ears, eyes, minds and hearts to the compassion that only God can give . . . and we do what we can do.


Image from: http://walkwithmeonourjourney.blogspot.com/2015/06/lets-talk-about-family-hood.html 

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Esther F: The River is Esther

Edward Armitage: The Feast of Esther

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It has been a week since Ash Wednesday when we began our Lenten journey of discovery, renewal, and transformation. We have had seven days to contemplate the state of our world and our personal circumstances. We have reflected on the violence in Esther’s world and in our own. Today, amidst bloodshed and reversals, and despite our fears, we find a way to give thanks.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai declare his praise for God’s providence. We too, might announce our acclaim.

Then Mordecai said: “This is the work of God. I recall the dream I had about these very things, and not a single detail has been left unfulfilled – the tiny spring that grew into a river, and there was light, and sun, and many waters”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai describe God’s river of compassion, and the river is Esther. We too, might affirm God’s love.

“The river is Esther, whom the king married and made queen”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai announce his gratitude for God’s power. We too, might proclaim our appreciation.

“The Lord saved his people and delivered us from all these evils. God worked signs and great wonders, such as have not occurred among the nations”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai assert his joy for God’s presence. We too, might broadcast to anyone who will listen our confidence that God also abides.

“Gathering together with joy and happiness before God, they shall celebrate these days on the fourteenth and fifteenth of the month Adar throughout all future generations of his people Israel”.

With these apocryphal verses, we experience the river that is God’s power, fidelity, hope and mercy. And this river is Esther.

 Tomorrow,, Esther on the fringes of society.  

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Psalm 16: Seek Confidence

Friday, November 24, 2017

Trust

When we begin to trust God, we grow in confidence. When we grow in confidence, we are better able to trust God.

You, Lord, are all I have,
    and you give me all I need;
    my future is in your hands.
How wonderful are your gifts to me;
    how good they are!

This is a beautiful prayer of Trust in God’s love for us – for his safekeeping of us. I like the metaphor of the Cup. It may refer to our daily drinking from the chalice of Christ’s sacrifice for us; or it may refer to our own willingness to offer our lives back to God as a blessing in the Cup of Our Lives.

God says: You have every reason to doubt my existence; but know that I move in you as the Spirit of goodness, justice, truth and mercy.

And so I am thankful and glad,
    and I feel completely secure,
because you protect me from the power of death.
I have served you faithfully,
    and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead.

God says: You have every reason to believe in me. I have created a world in which you have freedom of choice and the promise of my strength and guidance.

I praise the Lord, because God guides me,
    and in the night my conscience warns me.

I am always aware of the Lord’s presence;
    God is near, and nothing can shake me.

God says: When you read these verses today, rely on my deep and constant love for you.

You will show me the path that leads to life;
    your presence fills me with joy
    and brings me pleasure forever.

God says: Each time you recite these verses, my Spirit rises in you as it calls you to join me in the great mystery I have planned for us.

Protect me, O God; I trust in you for safety.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    all the good things I have come from you.”

God says: You have every reason to doubt me. You have every reason to believe in me. Today I call on the Spirit within you. Today I call you to place your trust in me. Today I ask you choose to grow and live in my love, mercy and confidence.

Adapted from a reflection written on July 1, 2007.

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Ephesians 2:8: God’s Handiwork

Thursday, June 8, 2017ephesians-2-10.jpg

This verse is so important that it deserves our reflection time. Let us remember God’s infinite fidelity.

For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. (GNT)

This verse reminds us that we cannot earn God’s love because this love is already freely given. Let us remember God’s infinite compassion for us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. (NRSV)

This verse recalls for us that we are all children of God. Let us remember God’s infinite mercy with us.

For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (CJB)

This verse tells us that we are God’s handiwork. Let us remember God’s infinite hope in us.

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. (VOICE)

This verse is so important that it deserves our attention and time. Let us remember God’s infinite wisdom.

When we compare translations of this verse, we begin to understand the wonder of God’s marvelous work in us.

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Sirach 34:16: Our Rock of Safety

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We have spent time with Peter to explore the concept of salvific suffering. We have thought again about the good shepherds who lead us and who serve as our places of refuge, our rocks of safety. In the wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach, we know that the world will send us in search of shelters so that we might rest, sanctuaries so that we might heal and recover from the anguish of the world.

The Lord watches over those who love him; he is their strong protection and firm support. He shelters them from the heat, shades them from the noonday sun, and keeps them from stumbling and falling. (GNT)

Standing in awe of the Lord’s goodness and mercy, we find lodging under of the shadow of the rock.

Whoever fear the Lord are afraid of nothing
    and are never discouraged, for he is their hope. (NABRE)

Planting ourselves in the foundation of God’s wisdom and grace, we seek security in the hope of God’s patience.

Those who fear the Lord will not be timid,
    or play the coward, for he is their hope. (NRSV)

Growing in the goodness of God’s love, we remain always in the power of God’s fidelity.

The eyes of the Lord are upon those who love him,
    a mighty protection and strong support,
a shelter from the hot wind and a shade from noonday sun,
    a guard against stumbling and a defense against falling. (RSVCE)

A defense against the elements, a harbor in the storms of life, an open heart for the downcast, respite for the discouraged. God fulfills our needs as we move through life. God brings blossoms to the deserts as we pause to re-nourish and restore. God saves. God heals. God transforms. There is no greater rock than this rock of God’s safety.

When we compare varying versions of this verse, we discover the depth and breadth, the height and width of God’s infinite love and compassion.

We find images of some of the world’s most beautiful mountains when we click on the image above.

To further explore God’s profound love for us, enter the word rock into the blog search bar and explore. 

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Psalm 118: God Saves Those in Distress

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Favorite from March 13, 2008.

We can never hear this too often, especially during the Lenten tide.  If you have the opportunity, make a space of time to pray this psalm today.  It will fill your empty spaces to overflowing. It will make sense of all hardship. It will remind us that life is good, that God is mercy, that God and we are one.

Whoever is wise will ponder these things, will ponder the merciful deeds of the Lord.

We wander the path of this life yearning for something that will move us, stir us, create a fire within us; yet not consume us. We can so often lose our way in this search for the fire that does not consume.

Some had lost their way in a barren desert . . .

We have wandered so far, looking for constancy, fidelity, healing. Our lives feel so like a desert. We hunger. We thirst. We feel as though we have lost ourselves, as though something is missing.

They were hungry and thirsty; their life was ebbing away . . .

We have longed for peace, for happiness, for calm, for serenity. Our lives can feel so useless when the search seems futile.

Some lived in darkness and gloom . . .

We hold so many secrets, think of our sins as private errors, separate ourselves from all that is holy. Our lives need compassion rather than anger and despair, love rather than indifference.

In their distress they cried to the Lord . . . who saved them in their peril . . .

We think that we can handle things so much better than you, God because we are here and so often we feel as though you are so distant . . . yet we are not alone. You are always with us. You save us in our distress. You humble us with hardship. You call us to turn and return to you.

Let them thank the Lord for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.  Let them offer a sacrifice in thanks, declare his works with shouts of joy.

When we pause to breathe, when we still the frenzy. We feel you with us. We feel that fire that does not consume. We see the miracles you bring forth through us. We believe that you are mercy. We see the wonder of all you have created. We know that there is no greater God than you.

Whoever is wise will ponder these things, will ponder the merciful deeds of the Lord.

Amen.

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Isaiah 43:20-25: Already Given

Friday, May 27, 2016gift

We ask for good health, security, predictability, fidelity. We look for mercy, wisdom, hope and love. We anticipate salvation, healing, transformation and resurrection. But these gifts we believe we need to acquire have already been generously given.

The beasts of the field will glorify me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people.

When we feel as though the world has let us down, we come to understand that all that we need . . . we already hold.

The people whom I formed for myself will declare my praise.

All that is required of us is that we remain faithful in our gratitude.

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

All that we need remember is that God wants to forgive and heal. All that is confusion and mystery becomes peace-filled and comforting. All that we seek we already have in abundance. So let us give thanks, for once we begin to practice thankfulness, we also begin to fully experience what the Lord has freely and wonderfully already given.

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