Speak Lord: Rule us

musical-angels

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the King, the Lord.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy
at the presence of the Lord.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

For the Lord comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Psalm 97:5-9

The Responsorial Psalm at Mass tomorrow, the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, invites us to rejoice, and gives us our motivation – the fairness of the rule of the Lord.

In recent days we may have been concerned about the justice and fairness of our earthly rulers – governments, presidents-elect and the like. But the psalm has us remember that ultimately we belong not to earthly kingdoms or republics but to the Kingdom of God.Now that is surely good for us for the Lord is good.

But what sort of citizens of his Kingdom are you and I? How will we fit in?

  • Where do you practice justice and fairness?

Not a harp in sight – but plenty of praise! Stained glass. St Tysilio’s Church, Menai Bridge. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Speak Lord:

Angels, Notre Dame, LondonThe psalm for tomorrow, the last Sunday before Lent, the fifth Sunday of the Year, is a song of communion.

The psalmist sings before the world – its kings and peoples, before the angels, and before God of God’s faithfulness and love and care.

Can world, kings, angels remain silent. Surely not…

Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart:
you have heard the words of my mouth.
In the presence of the angels I will bless you.
I will adore before your holy temple.

Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.

I thank you for your faithfulness and love,
which excel all we ever knew of you.
On the day I called, you answered;
you increased the strength of my soul.

Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.

All earth’s kings shall thank you
when they hear the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the Lord’s ways:
‘How great is the glory of the Lord!’

Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.

You stretch out your hand and save me,
your hand will do all things for me.
Your love, O Lord, is eternal,
discard not the work of your hands.

Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.

Psalm 137:1-5,7-8

Will we sing? Will we sing the psalm at Mass – or will it be said? And will we respond in word or song with gusto, or not.

The scriptures set before us attitudes and modes of relationship. It is for us to make them their own. And if we do not, if we do not join the song, the praise, where does that leave us?

In these last days before Lent, that is a good question to ponder? Where do we find ourselves – joined with the prayer of the Church active in our part; or on the outside looking in?

  • If the latter do we know there is an alternative? That we are invited in?
  • If we are in, do we still count our blessings?

Detail of mural by Jean Cocteau, Notre Dame de France, London. (c) 2007, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: the grace of God

Saints and angels

The Christian life cannot be taken for granted.

It is something more than just a ‘good’ human life.

The Christian life should, of course, be strong, in the natural virtues. Yet the Christian receives grace so as to be able to live the supernatural virtues. Grace builds on nature, not obliterating what is natural but refining, enhancing, strengthening it.

The Collect on Sunday, the 16th of Ordinary Time, reminded us of this.

Show favour, O Lord, to your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands.
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.

It is not easy to know what we do by nature, and what we do by grace. But the one is our work, and the other is made possible by the work of God, so it is worth trying to distinguish them, even as we give God thanks for both!

Their combined effect is to help us live life well here on earth, and draw us more deeply into the communion of love and life with God which will be ours for ever.

  • What are you conscious of needing God’s grace to accomplish?

Saints and angels in the Abbey of Montserrat. (c) 2003, Allen Morris