Speak Lord: that we might hear you again

Picasso detail of young acrobat with a ball, PushkinThe psalm at Mass tomorrow, the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, engages us afresh with the ups and downs of life, with the experience of progress and reverses.

But it is most fundamentally a song of faith, a thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness and love.

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.

When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs.

The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels
the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad.

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.

Psalm 125:1-6

Often, probably too often, we can be so preoccupied with what is changing in life – for example, the ups and downs – that we do not recognise the constant.

One of the functions of the Liturgy, including the Mass, is to restore a proper perspective to us. Our turning to God helps us know afresh how steadily and constantly our God is turned to us.

  • What are the ups and downs that have led you from God?
  • And which have led you to God?
  • And where are you now?

Bring your thoughts to God in prayer.

Detail of Young Acrobat on a ball by Picasso, in collection of Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris

Advertisements

Speak Lord: of your goodness for us

Picasso Study of hands

The Psalm at Mass tomorrow, the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time, reminds us of the riches of God’s love, gifted to us. A love made know in his works of creation and salvation.

Fill us with your love so that we may rejoice.

Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever?
Show pity to your servants.

Fill us with your love so that we may rejoice.

In the morning, fill us with your love;
we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction
for the years when we knew misfortune.

Fill us with your love so that we may rejoice.

Show forth your work to your servants;
let your glory shine on their children.
Let the favour of the Lord be upon us:
give success to the work of our hands.

Fill us with your love so that we may rejoice.

Psalm 89:12-17

To us, for us: Pro nobis. God’s gifts of creation and salvation are for us to enrich us and draw us to the fulness of life.

We often lose sight of that and doubt and fear. But all is pro nobis. In God’s goodness is our treasure.

  • Give thanks

Study of hands by Picasso. Picasso Museum, Paris. Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: to our hearts

Portrait of Dora Maar by Picasso.

The responsorial psalm for Mass on the 4th Sunday of the year, this year, is Psalm 94. It is also the psalm often used in the Daily Office – the first prayer of the day, suited for every day:  O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

 

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come before him, giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come in; let us bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us:
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

O that today you would listen to his voice!
‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.’

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Psalm 94:1-2,6-9

Notice what the psalmist presumes will help us to avoid hardening of our hearts: knowledge of his saving love; humility and an acknowledgement of God’s power and his exercising of that power for us.

It seems safe to presume that being careless of who and how God is, and being deceived as to our own power and capacity to care for ourselves will close our ears and will open our hearts.

Gratitude, thanksgiving inspires the psalmist. May it fashion and shape our present day too.

  • For what might you give thanks today?
  • What might you place in God’s hands, acknowledging it is beyond your power to control.

Photograph of Picasso’s 1937 portrait of Dora Maar. Picasso museum, Paris. Photograph (c) Allen Morris, 2015.

Speak Lord: That we may come closer

Detail, Picasso Self portrait Paris 2004

The first reading this Sunday, the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, comes from Isaiah.

Seek the Lord while he is still to be found,
call to him while he is still near.
Let the wicked man abandon his way,
the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him,
to our God who is rich in forgiving;
for my thoughts are not your thoughts,
my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.
Yes, the heavens are as high above earth
as my ways are above your ways,
my thoughts above your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:6-9

It’s far too early to be counting shopping days to Xmas – or Sundays to Christmas.

However the appearance of Isaiah, as the leaves of trees start to turn and fall, reminds of Advent and its promise. This particular passage provides an opportunity, even now to take stock, and prepare for the Lord.

  • What do you need to turn from?
  • What do you need to turn to?

The image is a detail of a self portrait of Pablo Picasso, from the Picasso Museum in Paris. A great self portrait. I can never decide whether it shows humility or someone who is self-satisfied. I think Isaiah would have us wonder the same about ourselves. Photo (c) Allen Morris, 2006

Speak Lord: help me hear…

Picasso, reclining nude, Paris 2004

Sunday’s Psalm urges us to attend to the voice of God, speaking to us in our world.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come before him, giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come in; let us bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us:
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

O that today you would listen to his voice!
‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.’

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Psalm 94:1-2,6-9

So…

  • What do you hear God say today?
  • How will you respond?

Take time to consider, and bring your thoughts (and feelings) to God in prayer…

Image: reclining nude by Picasso (Picasso Museum, Paris. Photograph, Allen Morris (c) 2004)