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Posts Tagged ‘road map’


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Psalm 85: Divine Activity

Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.

Laurent de la Hyre: The Kiss of Peace and Justice

Laurent de la Hyre: The Kiss of Peace and Justice

As many times as I have read the Psalms, I do not know how I have missed this beautiful verse.  Notes tell us that in this hymn the psalmist describes divine activity in pairs of virtues.  In this Prayer for Divine Favor we experience the national longing of a people to be reunited with their God.  Much like a spurned lover longing for his love, these words evoke an aching for the ideal, a place where truth, love, peace and justice might meet.  This place is that very special dwelling which we all seek.  This place exists in the now and in the here.  We have only to create it for ourselves and for all.

How do we do this?  The psalmist tells us:

I will listen for God’s response.

The Lord will set us on the way God treads. 

This cannot be more simple . . . nor can it be more difficult.  The roadmap is clear; we must follow.  The problem is that usually our willfulness, our recalcitrance, our stiff necks and hard hearts must be open to the new writing which our God wishes to inscribe on our hearts.  We hear the words of the New Covenant but we are reluctant to take them in out of fear, lack of fidelity or courage, envy, pride, desire to manipulate and control our environment . . . any number of stumbling blocks to true union with God.

What leads us to this place?  What are the stepping stones?  Where do we find the wisdom and the stamina to reach this interior dwelling that brings us to God’s Holy City?

We allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit to open us, to enliven us, to empower us so that we might cast off the bonds that restrain us.  These are the bonds Jesus came to break.  This is the release which the Christ came to obtain, the prophecy he came to fulfill.

From Galatians 5:22 In contrast [to immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasion of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like – verses 20 and 21], the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law. 

What does God do all day while we work and play, at night while we rest?  What do the Holy Ones practice?  How does one live in God’s City?  What is Divine Activity?

Psalm 85 tells us.  It is the place where peace and justice kiss.  It is the perfect meeting place for acts of love and acts of witness to that love.  It cannot be more simple.  It cannot be more challenging.  It cannot be more rewarding.  It cannot be more fulfilling.


Written on August 23, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Isaiah 5: The Vineyard Song

Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 2018

With this adapted Favorite from February 13, 2011, we give thanks for the presence of The Spirit as we struggle against all that would hold us down, all that would keep us from remaining on The Vine.

From the MAGNIFICAT Evening Prayer for Saturday, February 12: A good person brings forth good out of a store of goodness, but an evil person brings for the evil out of a store of evil.  (Matthew 12:35)

The power of evil is insidious.  It conceals itself within our lives posing as good. Discernment is the process of determining what is the counterfeit of good and what is true good.  Let us apply ourselves wholeheartedly to discernment and to living godly lives.  (MAGNIFICAT Mini-reflection, 168)

The power of evil is insidious  . . . There is so much around us locally and globally that discourages us.  We feel as though evil has taken over the world and that God does nothing to prevent this evil; yet here is a reminder that God is not evil, that God invites goodness, and that God is goodness.

Evil conceals itself within our lives posing as good . . . Matthew reminds us (6:12) that where our treasure lies there also is our heart. Jesus tells the rich young man, and us, that if we seek perfection we must sell what we have, give it to the poor and follow him (Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21 and Luke 12:33-34 and 18:22).  Not many of us have the confidence to follow God in this way.  Not many of us trust God enough to believe that God will truly care for our needs.  We too often are planted in well-prepared soil and produce little fruit, and then we blame God for the evil in the world.  We trick ourselves into thinking that we have done all that can be humanly done.  Or we convince ourselves that we are powerless.

Discernment is the process of determining what is the counterfeit of good and what is true good . . . Over the past weeks and days we have witnessed the will of thousands to overcome oppression in northern African countries.  I am imagining how the world might be different if all of us were to speak out against evil in our families and communities.  The vineyard in which we are growing might then grow the beautiful, full and nourishing grapes which the vineyard keeper has planted rather than the puny, wild grapes of unpredictable quality we allow to grow.  It is not difficult to distinguish what is good from what is evil, what is true and what is false.  When we begin to trust God to lead us, our sensitivity to goodness heightens and  it becomes easier with practice to distinguish what we are to do and what we are to say.

Let us apply ourselves wholeheartedly to discernment and to living godly lives . . . Isaiah’s Vineyard Song is followed by descriptions of the “doom of the unjust” and the subsequent invasion.   Woe to those who are wise in their own sight, and prudent in their own esteem!  If we are vague about who or what indicates wild grapes, Isaiah provides us with an exact listing.  We cannot say that we have not been told or that we do not understand what evil is and does.  We cannot say that we do not know what goodness is and what goodness does.  We ought not be surprised, therefore, at our fate.

Israel turned away from the God who saved and nurtured her and we are given the same choice to choose our own fate.  In today’s reading for Mass we have a clear description in Sirach 15:15-20, 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 and Matthew 5:17-27.  We have a clear road map with clear markers along the way.  When we join in singing Isaiah’s Vineyard Song, do we sing with full throat and heart?  We will want our voices to join with those who yearn to live in the kingdom.

The power of evil is insidious.  It conceals itself within our lives posing as good. Discernment is the process of determining what is the counterfeit of good and what is true good.  Let us apply ourselves wholeheartedly to discernment and to living godly lives. 


Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 12 February 2011. Print.

Tomorrow, Naboth’s vineyard. 

Image from: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2017/05/deacon-bickerstaff-daily-reflection-vine-and-branches/

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