Speak Lord: who are in all things

cobweb

In your sight, Lord, the whole world is like a grain of dust that tips the scales,
like a drop of morning dew falling on the ground.

Yet you are merciful to all, because you can do all things
and overlook men’s sins so that they can repent.

Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence,
for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it.

And how, had you not willed it, could a thing persist,
how be conserved if not called forth by you?

You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life,
you whose imperishable spirit is in all.

Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend,
you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned,
so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.

Wisdom 11:22-12:2

The first reading at Mass yesterday, the 31st Sunday of the Year, reminds of the Lord’s love and mercy. God hates sin, the sometime product of our lives, but loves the sinner, and works to restore us to our proper purpose and end.

Loves us, not just tolerates us. Loves us and wants to restore us to the fulness of joy in his presence and in our living of our lives. We find wholeness and lasting joy in embracing the spirit of God which is in us and in all things..

God is in all things.

  • In what do you see God today?
  • In what,today, can you not see God?

Bring your responses to God in prayer.

Cobweb. Boldmere. (c) 2015, Allen Morris

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Speak Lord: of mercy and newness

In your sight, Lord, the whole world is like a grain of dust that tips the scales,
like a drop of morning dew falling on the ground.

Yet you are merciful to all, because you can do all things
and overlook men’s sins so that they can repent.

Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence,
for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it.

And how, had you not willed it, could a thing persist,
how be conserved if not called forth by you?

You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life,
you whose imperishable spirit is in all.

Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend,
you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned,
so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.

Wisdom 11:22-12:2

The first reading at Mass today, the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, invites us to consider things from God’s perspective.

The Lord’s work of creation and re-creation continues. His joy is to heal and make whole.

Our striving are often about resisting the pains of newness and growth.

On this day as we celebrate again the Lord’s rising, let us pray that we might entrust ourselves still more to his care.

Cross, Lourdes . (C) 2016, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: As we give thanks to you

p1010338

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

I will give you glory, O God my king,
I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
and declare your might, O God.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

The Lord is faithful in all his words
and loving in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall
and raises all who are bowed down.

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.

Psalm 144:1-2,8-11,13-14

The principal characteristic of Christian Prayer is thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for Creation, thanksgiving for redemption and for God’s continuing mercy.

That thanksgiving is also at the very heart of the Psalm that is the Responsorial Psalm at Mass on Sunday, the 31st of Ordinary Time.

  • For what are you thankful?
  • What do you take for granted that you might be thankful for?
  • How do you demonstrate your thankfulness?

Christ. Fresco. Athens. (c) 2006, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: That we might choose the good..

arch-of-galerius

We pray continually that our God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfil all your desires for goodness and complete all that you have been doing through faith; because in this way the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

To turn now, brothers, to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we shall all be gathered round him: please do not get excited too soon or alarmed by any prediction or rumour or any letter claiming to come from us, implying that the Day of the Lord has already arrived.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2

The choice to respond to God’s call often is experienced  as both a choice to turn to God, but also to let go of or turn from something else.

Paul says that answering the call is to choose to do good, indeed to the fulfilment of all the desires of the heart to do good.

In this is the fulfilment of ourselves, and of God’s desire for us.

The Arch of Galerius. Early 4th-century monument Thessaloniki, Greece. (c) 2006, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Make us new

zacchaeus-tree-jehrico

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.

When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said.

But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’

And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’

Luke 19:1-10

Zacchaeus is remade and refashioned through his encounter with Jesus. He is remade in his relationship with Jesus and with his neighbours, those who look down at him and those whom he has perhaps looked down on, and perhaps (Zacchaeus’s word!) cheated.

  • What might it be that has brought about this change in Zacchaeus?
  • What things have brought about change in you? For the good? For the bad?

“Zacchaeus’ Sycamore Tree”. Jehrico. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

 

 

Taste and See: the indigestible?

esamps-arles

My life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.

The first time I had to present my defence, there was not a single witness to support me. Every one of them deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it. But the Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18

The Second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 30th of Ordinary Time, exposes Paul’s sadness at the lack of support he had received from his fellows at time of trial, and his recognition that his survival in this world and for the next has been the result of the Lord’s faithfulness and steadfastness.

Paul himself has been resolute and determined: stubborn and obstinate, some might say! And yet he is also judged right  and his example treasured in the Church’s Tradition.

It is surely foolish to consider that faithful witness to the Gospel will be universally palatable. There are many reasons that people did not find Paul to their taste.

 

And that is as it is. The sadness though is if, turning from Paul, they also turned from the fullness of the Gospel. We are called to have eyes to see and ears to hear that which is beyond what we find immediately palatable.

Trusting to ‘our’ taste alone, looking for that self-satisfaction only, may leave us far from where God would have us be.

Altar detail. Alescamps, Arles. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

Taste and Faith: Faith, hope and ?

faith-hope-charity

Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity,
and make us love what you command,
so that we may merit what you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

The Collect at Mass on Sunday, the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, reminds us of the virtues of faith, hope and love.

Those virtues are still most commonly known in Catholic discourse as faith., hope and love. The trio comes from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians – the famous hymn to love of 1 Corinthians 13. But the trio has been rendered differently in the most recent translation of the Missal the Greek work ‘agape’ is translated into Latin as ‘caritas‘, and that word is now rendered in the Missal bythe cognate word ‘charity’.

Interestingly in the new Scripture translation proposed by the Bishops of England and Wales for our use at Mass – Revised Standard Version, 2nd Catholic edition, 2010 – it seems that in 1 Corinthians 13 ‘agape’ will continue to be translated as ‘love’.

Be that as it may, the alternative translation used in the Missal for the present makes us pause and ponder what is meant by ‘charity’, and indeed by ‘love’. No bad thing, for both words come under stress and strain in our everyday talk – as perhaps they ever have and will, until we possess and live them fully in Christ.

That increase in all three virtues is what we prayed for on Sunday, and it remains a fitting prayer for today also.

  • In what way do you hope for your faith to be increased? And your hope? And your charity?

Faith, Hope and Charity. Tewkesbury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris