Speak Lord: Source of living waters

Crossof life

The Psalm at Mass tomorrow, the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, speaks of a yearning for God: a longing for the one who alone can satisfy the deepest needs of the human person.

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.
For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

For you have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast.

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

Psalm 62:2-6,8-9

Many and delightful are the other created goods which God provides for our well-being; still more are the relationships and the products of human culture than can enrich our lives.

And yet each of these are founded on God and his being. Ultimately it is in and from God that they find their truest meaning. And without our recognising this and making that part of our appreciation of them (and God!) they can become a source of distress and grief, draining from us authentic life and love. It is because of this that God and God’s love is better than life: No God no life, but in God life and goodness without end.

  • For what, today, do you give thanks?

The Cross and flowing waters. Medjugorje. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: Alive for God’s sake…

Chartres LentThe first reading at Mass on Sunday, the 5th in Ordinary Time, is worth our returning to today, Ash Wednesday.

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord of Hosts seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary; above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings.
And they cried out to one another in this way,

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts.
His glory fills the whole earth.’

The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the one who cried out, and the Temple was filled with smoke. I said:

‘What a wretched state I am in! I am lost,
for I am a man of unclean lips
and I live among a people of unclean lips,
and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of Hosts.’

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. With this he touched my mouth and said:

‘See now, this has touched your lips,
your sin is taken away,
your iniquity is purged.’

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:

‘Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?’

I answered, ‘Here I am, send me.’

Isaiah 6:1-2,3-8

 

As we begin Lent we are called to admit our fault, our sin, our mess. We are also called once more to know, live and share the love that God has for us.

We are reconciled because of our need and because of God’s grace. Or is it because of God’s grace and our need. Start at either point and the conclusion is the same – we are love and God is the lover.

Amazing! And Isaiah experiences this in his vision of the heavenly court. The God who loves us is no creature, no thing like us, but entirely beyond, other. The points of connection are that God is creature and we his creatures; and God is love and we are object of his love.

The two key truths of our faith – that God is creator and God is love. As we fractured beings get ready to make the most of Lent let us hold those two truths close in our minds and hearts and learn to live by them more faithfully, more generously.

Photograph, Chartres. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Of courage and trust

Delacroix Crucifixion

The Psalm on Sunday puts in context the way that Jesus faces his enemies, the way we face our challenges. ‘The Lord upholds my life.’

To a society that so often sees life as worthwhile in terms of quality of health and physical well-being, the psalm shows us, reminds us, that the moral quality of life also matters. It is not only how we enjoy and draw goodness from the easier things in life, it is how we enter into challenges and dangers too.

We who know ourselves to be creatures, created, need to put our greater trust in the Creator than in ourselves. We who know the Creator to have revealed his love especially by entering into the experience of challenge and danger, suffering, pain and even death, so as to lead us into the glory of his Resurrection. To pick and choose which parts we will live, and allow others to live, is to refuse to be ourselves, to learn to live. To use Gerald Manley Hopkins word – is to miss the great ‘achieve’ of it.

The Lord upholds my life.

O God, save me by your name;
by your power, uphold my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
listen to the words of my mouth.

The Lord upholds my life.

For proud men have risen against me,
ruthless men seek my life.
They have no regard for God.

The Lord upholds my life.

But I have God for my help.
The Lord upholds my life.
I will sacrifice to you with willing heart
and praise your name for it is good.

The Lord upholds my life.

Psalm 53:3-6,8

  • Where do I need the Lord’s help?
  • What do I fear? And why?
  • How does the Gospel and the example of Jesus speak to my fear?

The Crucifixion by Delacroix. In the collection of the National Gallery, London.