My Reflections on the Psalms

Psalm 33 and 34

The weather this week has turned bitter cold here in Montana along with many other states. Even though we had warning that the cold spell was on its way, it seems we are never really prepared for that blast of cold.

A small group of us, gather together on Wednesday evenings to pray the Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and meditate on a reading from the book Marian Movement of Priests. It truly is an hour of prayer as we storm heaven with our intercessory prayers.

We have been meeting for a number of years and we do not cancel our prayer group unless something very important is scheduled the same night or clement weather. We decided that it would be better to cancel because of the bitter cold temperatures.

I needed to call everyone to let them know. I had everyone's phone number in my cell phone contact list accept for the two newest members. I had their numbers on a sheet of paper some where in my home-- no where to be found.

I went to my Bible study and then to Mass at noon. I said a prayer at Mass asking St. Anthony to help me find those two phone numbers. After Mass I walked to my car still pondering how I was suppose to get a hold of these two people. My cell phone had a message on it—and 'lo and behold' it was one of the members who I needed to call. She left me a message to let me know that she would not be able to come tonight because she wasn't feeling well. Instantly I started praising God and thanking St Anthony for answering my pray so quickly. I then was able to obtain the other member's phone number easily. I too acclaimed along with the psalmist I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears....This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. Psalm: 34-4,6

It was a real lesson for me in trusting God to answer my prayers even in the little matters of life. Now this experience wasn't a huge 'miracle moment' but it was a little 'wow moment' that when we place our trust in God and pray, answers will come in unexpected ways. God truly is a Father who cares about the littlest details that concern us.

If Our Heavenly Father cares about the little things just think about how much He cares about those huge challenges we are facing in our lives right now. It baffles my mind. I just can't fully comprehend a God that loves us so much that He sent his son Jesus to suffer and die for us while we were in the depths of our sins. What an awesome God we serve!

Let us Pray: I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34: 1-3

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22

 

Psalm 32

When I prepare my heart for confession, I begin to pray for God to open my heart and to reveal to me the transgressions that are hidden and continue to live in the world of denial. I ask the Holy Spirit to bring to light the sins that are hidden in the darkness of my soul. I also recall the words of the psalmist: then I acknowledged my sin to you, and did not hide my iniquity; I said I will confess my transgressions t0 the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

After confessing my sins to the priest and receiving absolution in the confessional, I feel like a heavy weight has been removed from me. I feel refreshed and renewed. I can pray with the psalmist-Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart....You are a hiding place for me; you preserve my from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.

After being washed clean by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I become teachable. God shows me the path of life--I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

When I stay away from confession I become unteachable, stubborn and justify my sinful behavior and want 'my will' to be done. How true are the words in this psalm- Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

I read somewhere that 'my faults are never greater than God's mercy.' I need to remember that God's mercy is endless and Our Lord wants me to run to Him quickly—to be forgiven, to be healed and to be filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is bringing everything to the cross in the now moment.

Let us meditate on the words of this song from the CD Endless Mercy-From the cross, you saw my sin and loved me. You felt my pain and reached through time to heal me. With gentle hands you pulled my sin into yourself, and by your death destroyed it all forever.

Let us pray: I'm sorry, Lord, for all the ways and times I have hurt You. Thank you for loving my anyway. Help me to love You more. (From the Book 7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn)

 

Psalm 30 and Psalm 31

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said this about prayer: “Prayer is a sacred duty and sublime mission. We ascend the altar of prayer, conscious of the many urgent needs and interests of others, taking up our rosary, embracing all the other spiritual exercises with great longing. We go with confidence to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and seasonable aid for ourselves and for souls” from the book Thirsting for God by Angelo D. Scolozzi.

Psalm 30 and 31 is praying with our hearts to be rescued, to be healed and giving thanks to Our God while waiting for the Lord to answer our pleading with mourning and weeping. Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me-Psalm 31-2.

Many times in my life I called out to the Lord with much mourning and weeping yet deep inside trusting that the Lord will answer in His time not mine. I have repeated the following many times over the years: Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.-Psalm 31:24 and I whispered over and over again-“Jesus I trust in you. Jesus I trust in you.”

When our 17 year old son died in a tragic car accident in 1987, I clung to the Rock of My Salvation with all that I had within me for days, weeks, months and years. In the deepest part of my grief, I found the words in the Psalms comforting and healing because someone else had gone through what I was experiencing. My God was holding me and my family in the palm of His hands.

God did not take away my deep sorrow and anguish but he walked with me through it all. God healed me in his intimate, merciful way and has turned my sorrow into a deep, abiding joy.

I can now pray with my heart: “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me...You have turned my mourning int0 dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever. Psalm 30- 2, 11-12.

Our God meets us where we are at—and as we open our hearts to his grace He provides us with what we need each moment of each day.

Let Us Pray: You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name's sake lead me and guide...Into your hands I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. Psalm 31: 3, 5.

 

Psalm 29

A few years ago I had the pleasure of walking on the beach in  St. Augustine Florida in January. It was a very windy, chilly day. I stopped walking and facing the ocean stood in awe of the gigantic, thundering waves.

Standing there, I could sense God's presence in those mighty, roaring waters. I, like the psalmist, wanted to shout: “The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders...The voice of the Lord is power; the voice of the Lord is splendor.”

Standing before the powerful ocean and crashing waves, I realized that my little troubles, doubts, and fears were being tossed into God's ocean of mercy. In return God showered me with his peace, strength and love.

My ocean experience has helped me to embrace whatever challenges come my way because the God I serve is more powerful, more majestic, and more merciful than anything life throws at me.

Let us pray: Psalm 1-2: Give to the Lord, you sons of God, give to the Lord glory and praise. Give to the Lord the glory due his name. Bow down before the LORD’s holy splendor!

 

 

Psalm 26, Psalm 27, Psalm 28

As I enter the Cathedral of St. Helena, my home parish, I know immediately that I am in the Lord's house. I sense His presence in the Tabernacle. I witness his presence in the people kneeling in prayer before our Eucharistic Lord and King. As I gaze at one of the stain glass windows depicting Jesus on the Cross and his mother standing at the foot of the cross with a forever teardrop in her eye, I know that I have entered the holy of holies and I am in the presence of the Great I Am.

It doesn't take me very long to “let go” of my worries and troubles as I too sit and adore my Eucharistic Lord, Jesus Christ. I, along with the psalmist whisper-“O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides”--Psalm 26:8. I too begin to ask the Lord: “One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”-Psalm 27-4.

While adoring my Jesus, I ask Him if I can snuggle close to him in the Tabernacle and rest for a just bit from all my crosses and challenges facing me this day. I imagine myself laying my head upon his heart and Jesus whispering softly to me: 'Come and rest awhile, I will refresh you.'

I need this time of being bathed in God's grace and love. I know I will have to leave this quiet, safe place and go out into the world to face the day with its joys, sorrows, and challenges. I am so thankful for this precious time with the Lord because now I know that God will give me the strength to face this day with courage and joy.

As I go through my day, I can proclaim with confidence:- “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom should I be afraid?...Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.” Psalm 27: 1, 3.

When the storms of life again threaten to overtake me I can run again to His Most Sacred Heart and with courage and confidence proclaim: “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.” Psalm 27: 5.

Let us pray: Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard the sound of my pleadings. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28—6-7.

 

 

 

 

Psalm 25-God's Mercy

Be Mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old....Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

Psalm 25 is about God's mercy. It gives us a snapshot of our merciful and loving Father. As I was reading this Psalm, I immediately thought about the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

At our parish we recently began a women's Bible study of the Seven Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn. The author, Vinny Flynn begins by stating: “There are really no secrets of confession but simply truths that for some reason have lain hidden in the heart of the Church and need to be rediscovered.

Saint Pope John Paul II also writes: “Now more than ever, the people of God must be helped to rediscover the sacrament of mercy. Let us ask Christ to help us to rediscover the full beauty of this sacrament...to abandon ourselves to the mercy of God...and with his grace set out again on our journey to holiness.”
As a cradle Catholic I still find going to confession difficult. Even though I know that I am a sinner and need to confess my sins, it takes courage and prayer to confess my sins to the priest in confession. I know in my heart that Jesus already knows my sins but he desires to draw me to his mercy and forgiveness through the grace of this sacrament.

I believe one of the reasons it is difficult for me to go to confession is my pride. It takes honesty and humility to admit my sins to the priest. However when I am open, honest, and humble in the confessional I feel cleansed and new again.

I receive the Father's love, mercy and forgiveness when the priest extends his hands over my head and says those powerful, life changing words: God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I say with confidence... Amen! I am set free of the bondage of sin. Praise Jesus!

Frequent confession is important because it helps me to grow closer in my relationship to God. When I stay away from confession because of my fear and pride, I limit myself to God's love and mercy. Author Vinny Flynn states in the book Seven Secrets of Confession:“Sin is not just 'breaking the rules,' not just an offense against God. It's also an offense against myself. And it carries with it its own punishment. It imprisons me in the cold darkness of the cave depriving me of the warmth and light for which I was created. Sin brings me in the cave. Confession brings me out.”

Let Us Pray: Merciful Jesus I come before you this day in humble adoration. Thank you for guiding me to your eternal mercy and love for they are more precious to me than silver or gold or anything this world has to offer. May I always be willing to immerse myself in your ocean of mercy.

 

Psalm 19

Psalm 19: 1-11 The Heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. The sun lives in the heaven where God placed it and moves out across the skies as radiant as a bridegroom going to his wedding, or as joyous as an athlete looking forward to a race. The sun crosses the heavens from end to end, and nothing can hide from its heat. God's law are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light. God's law are pure, eternal, just. They are more desirable than gold. They are sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb. For they warn us away from harm and give success to those who obey them.

These beautiful words from Psalm 19 are filled with wonderful imagery of God's perfect law and nature. In the summer evenings when the hot of the day has passed, I love sitting outside in my yard breathing in the cool air, watching the birds bath in the bird bath and playing fetch with our dog Annie. It is then the words of this Psalm come alive in my heart: The sun lives in the heaven where God placed it and moves out across the skies as radiant as a bridegroom going to his wedding, or as joyous as an athlete looking forward to a race. The sun crosses the heavens from end to end, and nothing can hide from its heat.

God's law is indeed perfect. God placed his laws on my heart to protect me and to help me make wise choices. His law gives me joy and light. I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father that protects me from all harm and gives me moments in the sun to know that He loves me. However there are times that I fail to respond to his laws and his love. I decide to do things “my way.”  Even though I have turned away from God, his sunlight of his mercy and his grace are still shining on me. My Heavenly Father eagerly waits for me to turn towards him and ask him to cleanse me from all these hidden faults that keep me from experiencing his love more deeply.

Let us Prayer: Psalm 19: 14-May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

 

 

Psalm 17, 18 Keep Me As the Apple of Your Eye

Psalm 17-8-13-Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the violence of the wicked...Rise, O Lord, confront and cast them down; rescue me from the wicked.

Psalm 18- 1-4-I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my God, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so I shall be saved from my enemies.

Praising God is our first line of defense against the world, the flesh, and the devil. When we praise God we are calling upon the power of the Holy Spirit to come against the wickedness and snares of the devil. As it says in James 4: 7-8-“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

In order to have the evil one flee from us, we need to put on the full armor of God by asking God to keep us as the apple of his eye and to protect us in the shadow of his wings. We praise him in the midst of turmoil, fear, and confusion.

When the storms of life overpower us, we need to lift our hands and proclaim as the psalmist did: O Lord you are my strength, my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.

It is easy to give God thanks and praise when the things in my life are going okay—the praise flows easily. I am thankful for these times of quiet and peace. But life is not that way—the storms of life do come with a mighty force beyond my strength. It is during the midst of the storm, that I know I am powerless and cannot rise above this difficulty by myself. It is in this moment I turn to God. I lift my heart, my hands, and my voice to the Lord and begin to praise him and to thank him for rescuing me.

God answers my prayers of praise by either removing the difficulty or by giving me the strength and the peace to carry this present cross. I am not alone in the battle. I am protected by my Heavenly Father in the shadow of his wings.

Let Us pray: Jesus we give you all the honor, glory, and praise for what you are doing in our lives right now. Jesus we trust in you.

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 14, 15, 16 Send Us The Gift of Peace

Psalm 14-6-7 “He is the refuge of the poor and humble when evildoers are oppressing them. Oh, that the time of their rescue were already here, that God would come from Zion now to save his people. What gladness when the Lord has rescued Israel!

Psalm 15: 1-2 “Lord, who may go and find refuge and shelter in your tabernacle up on your holy hill? Anyone who leads a blameless life and is truly sincere.”

Psalm 16: 5, 7, 10-11 “The Lord himself is my inheritance, my prize. He is my food and drink, my highest joy! He guards all that is mine....I will bless the Lord who counsels me, he gives me wisdom in the night. He tells me what to do....For you will not leave me among the dead; you will not allow your beloved one to rot in the grave. You have let me experience the joys of life and the exquisite pleasures of our own eternal presence.”

This is the time for all Christians to come together to prayer and to fast for those who are being persecuted and slaughtered in the war torn parts of our world. God truly is the refuge of the poor and humble when evildoers are oppressing them. We cry out to the Lord that the time of their rescue would come quickly.

Many are dying for standing up for their faith. But we know that Our merciful God will not allow them to rot in the grave and that they are brought into God's eternal presence forever and forever without end. God truly is their inheritance, their prize. He truly is their food and drink, their highest joy.

We here in America take for granted our freedom as Christians to live and to worship freely. As I enter my Parish Church, I never entertain thoughts that perhaps I will be killed for being a Christian or for praying in public. However our brothers and sisters across the world are being tortured and murdered daily for being a Christian.

Our beloved Pope Francis is deeply saddened and distressed at all the killing of the innocent people. He is boldly speaking out and asking all Christians to come together to pray for the end of the violence. “An appeal to all families: when you say your prayers, remember all those forced from their homes in Iraq.”

Let us take to heart the words of our beloved Pope Francis: “Jesus does not need an army to fight evil in the world; he uses the victorious weapons of love and humility... When man thinks only of himself, his own interests and places himself in the center, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in God's place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined. Then the door opens to violence, indifference and conflict."

"How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the cross, if only for a moment. There, we can see God's reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue and peace is spoken.

Let us Prayer with Pope Francis: “Violence is not conquered by violence. Lord, send us the gift of peace.”--Pope Francis, August 9, 2014, via Twitter

 

Psalm 13

Psalm 13: 2, 5-6 How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?....But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

 When I have been praying for a long, long time for God to hear and answer my prayer, it reminds me of this Psalm—how long oh Lord before you answer me? How long oh Lord, the psalmist cries out to the God of Jacob, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac!

I have come to realize that God does not always answer my prayers in 'my time' but in 'His time' because he sees from all eternity what is best for me and the present difficulty that is trying to rob me of my Jesus' joy and peace.

I am grateful that God in his infinite love for us does not give us what we think we need but gives us so much more beyond are dreams and desires of our heart. We like the psalmist can choose to meditate on these words of Psalm 13: 5-6: “But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” I also love the lyrics from the song entitled, My soul finds rest in God alone based on Psalm 62.

Let us pray, sing, and meditate on these powerful words while we wait upon the Lord to hear and answer our prayers: My stronghold my Savior, I shall not be afraid at all. My stronghold my Savior I shall not be moved. Only in God is my soul at rest. In Him comes my salvation. Only in God is my soul at rest. In Him comes my salvation. He only is my Rock, my strength, and my salvation. Only in God is found safety when my enemy pursues me. Only in God is found glory when I am found meek and found lowly. Amen.

 

Psalm 11 and Psalm 12

Psalm 11: 4; Psalm 12: 7

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind....You, O Lord, will protect us; you will guard us from this generation for ever.”

Watching the news can leave you feeling like the world is falling apart at its seams. With all the violence, wars, and persecution of innocent people happening daily before our eyes, it is heart wrenching and discouraging. You want to shout—stop the killing. Just stop! Can't we just live peacefully with one another? What are we to do?

Even though we can't stop the violence physically we can do something spiritually for we know in our hearts that it is indeed a spiritual battle. We can pray against the violence and killing. We can go to our Lord in prayer and beg his mercy upon his people.

We can pray for protection of all the innocent—and we can proclaim, “You O Lord will protect us; you will guard us from this generation forever.

“The Lord is in his holy temple; The Lord's throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.

Our God does hear the cry of his people before his thrown in heaven. However, we pray and then we expect instant results. We are a generation of instant answers and instant solutions. We may never know this side of heaven how our persistent prayer has helped someone find hope in Jesus in the midst of war and violence. We call upon all the angels and saints to intercede on the behalf of those who are in the midst of violence and hatred. Let us call upon the name of Jesus to rain down the purifying living waters of his mercy and love.

Perhaps just for a few moments today, we can meditate on the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world. Let us use love and compassion. Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don't really want to smile at; do it for peace. Let us radiate the peace of God and so light His light and extinguish in the world and in the hearts of all men all hatred and love for power. Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other-that man, that woman, that child is my brother or my sister. If everyone could see the image of God in his neighbor, do you think we would still need tanks and generals?"

Let Us Pray: Come Lord Jesus come with the consuming fire of your love to bring peace to our troubled hearts and world. Amen.

 

Psalm 10

Psalm 10: 8-9 “They sit in ambush in the villages; in hiding-places they murder the innocent. Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; they lurk in secret like a lion in its cover; they lurk that they may seize the poor; they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.”

Whenever I read and reflect on these verses, it reminds me of the abortion industry with its convincing lies and hidden agenda. They deceive women into believing that it is just a “mass of tissue” and not a breathing human soul inside her womb. Planned Parenthood has a website that is so luring and inviting to women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy but they never mention that it is a baby. Hello- It is a baby! They talk about terminating the pregnancy. But what does that really and truthfully mean-terminating the pregnancy? The truth-it is the killing of a baby in the womb.

They make having an abortion sound so simple, so safe, an easy fix to and unplanned pregnancy. But it is not free. The medical cost range from $300-$950 in the first trimester. It is a money making industry that disguises it self as an angel of light. But is it really an easy fix for the mother, father and grandparents?

The women and men who are post-abortive have testified that their abortion experience negatively and profoundly effected every area of their lives. There are so many wounded by their abortion experience that not only includes the mother and father but also siblings and grandparents and friends. Its effect is far reaching spreading more and more darkness in the world.

The hope is many have found healing through Rachel's Vineyard and other ministries. They have come to know of the love of a forgiving and merciful Father. The other hope is that there are Catholic Social Service organizations, pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life outreaches springing up all across the nation as beacons of hope for those facing unplanned pregnancies. They offer counseling and support and help women to choose life for their babies walking with them during and after the pregnancy. They assist them to either decide to parent their child or place them for adoption.

God has called each of us is to share the truth with others in love by exposing the lies of the abortion industry and by providing other life-giving alternatives for those who are facing unplanned pregnancies. We are each called to pray, inform, educate, and to offer hope to those who are so scared and wounded. The profound words in the book Full of Grace by Johnnette S. Benkovic addresses the commission Jesus has placed on our hearts as believers:

At the moment of the Annunciation, the Blessed Virgin Mary was uniquely commissioned to bring Jesus into the world. ... And yet, in a certain sense, God extends the call He issued to Mary to each of us. God the Father is asking each of us: “Will you bring my Son into the world? Will you carry Him in the womb of your heart as Mary carried Him in the womb of her body? Will you birth Him into the lives of others, that all might come to experience the grace of redemption and eternal life?”

Let us pray: Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion. Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the Resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement and never to stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected, and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice not just for some, but for all. Through Christ our Lord. Amen! (Priest for Life-reprinted with permission)

(Resources: Catholic Social Services of Montana 1-800-222-9383; Options Women's Clinic-406-422-1011; Rachel's Hope 1-888-456-4673)

 

Psalm 9

Psalm 9: 9- "The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble."

There are many references about oppression in the Scriptures. In the dictionary the meaning of the word oppressed is to be exploited or systematically harmed by others. Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel and unjust manner. People who have no freedom are oppressed.

Jesus came to set people free of oppression and that he did and is still doing today through his people. He comes through the love of the Holy Spirit and breaks the stronghold of oppression in people and in nations. He becomes their stronghold and Jesus does not forsake them-he sets them free.

Pope Francis continues to address the evil of oppression in our modern world today. Let us ponder his words of wisdom and try and apply them to our lives:

It is necessary to place the dignity of the human person at the center of every prospect and every action. Other interests, even if legitimate, are secondary. At the center is the dignity of the human person. Why? Because the human person is in the image of God, he was created in the image of God and we are all in the image of God!”

It is through Jesus' showing us how to love and care for one another that can end the stronghold of oppression of people and nations.

Pope Francis added: There are many ways to win, but the grace that we request today is the grace of victory with love, through love. And this is not easy. When we have external enemies that make us suffer so much: it is not easy, to win with love. There is the desire to take revenge, to turn another against him ... Love: the meekness that Jesus taught us. And that is the victory! The Apostle John tells us ‘This is our victory, our faith.’ Our faith is precisely this: believing in Jesus who taught us love and taught us to love everyone. And the proof that we are in love is when we pray for our enemies.

Pope Francis went on to say: "To pray for enemies, for those who make us suffer, 'is not easy.' But we are 'defeated Christians' if we do not forgive enemies, and if we do not pray for them. And we find so many sad, discouraged Christians because they did not have this grace of enduring with patience and overcoming with love.”

Let us pray: Lord give us the grace to love and to forgive our enemies. Send  forth your Spirit of Love and set your people free.

 

 

Psalm 8

“O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! You have set your majesty above the heavens!”

This verse reminds me of a well-known song, How Great Thou Art: O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder. Consider all the worlds thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder. Thy power throughout the universe displayed: Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: How great thou art! How great thou art.”.....

Those are wonderful words of praise and worship to our God. The history of the hymn begins with Mr. Carl Gustaf Boberg. He lived from 1859 to 1940. He was a Swedish pastor.

One day, Mr. Boberg was enjoying a nice walk when suddenly a thunderstorm appeared and a severe wind began to blow. After the storm was over, Mr. Boberg looked out over the clear bay. He then heard the church bell in the distance and the words to How Great Thou Art began to form in his heart. It was after the fierce storm that there was such a calmness all around him.

Isn't it true in our own lives that when we are in the midst of a spiritual storm and things are spinning out of control, we have to cling to our faith and place ourselves in the palm of our Heavenly Father until the storm passes by. After the crisis has passed, it is then we begin to realize that Our Savior carried us in his loving hands in the midst of the storm.

Let Us Pray: I praise you. I thank you my Lord and my God for carrying me safely to the calm shores of your everlasting peace. Amen

 

Psalm 7

Psalm 7: 10, 17 “God is my shield; he will defend me. He saves those whose hearts and lives are true and right...Oh, how grateful and thankful I am to the Lord because he is so good. I will sing praise to the name of the Lord who is above all lords.”

We all need protection from the evil one and from all that comes against us in our daily walk with the Lord. When I picture a shield, I immediately think of St. Michael the Archangel in all his armor coming to protect me and my family from the evil one. I call upon Michael the Archangel everyday to come and do battle on my behalf. God is my shield and He will defend us.

God sends his mighty warrior Michael the Archangel and his angelic helpers to defend us in all circumstances. In calling upon the holy angels to come and defend and protect us, we can indeed stand firm and sing praise to the name of the Lord even in the midst of the battle.

We are each assigned a guardian angel for protection however sometimes you need Michael the Archangel to assist our guarding angel to defeat the wickedness and snares of the Devil. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91: 11

Let us prayer: St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan,and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Psalm 6

Psalm 6: 4-9 “Turn, O Lord, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love. I am weary with moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with weeping. My eyes waste away because of grief; they grow weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer.

When tragedy, sickness, depression, loss of a job, financial stress, family problems, divorce or the death of a loved befalls us, we find it very difficult to form the words to lift our minds and hearts to God in prayer. We are in great distress like David in this Psalm because we too become weary from moaning and flood our bed with tears.

The only deep prayer that you and I can whisper from our heart, is 'Jesus help me.' Even if it is just a thought in our minds or a faint whisper, God hears the cry of the poor. For like the psalmist prays 'for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.'

It is at difficult times, I believe the Lord is ever so close to us. When I know that I am powerless, I can call out to others to pray for me because I cannot seem to pray accept in moaning and weeping. When I know that others are lifting me up in prayer, I do not feel so powerless, alone, and afraid as I know the Lord is ever so close.

During the storms of our lives, we can cling to the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ. We know deep within that nothing or nobody can shake our inner calm. We stand on Jesus' promise as he proclaims in Matthew 7: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.” Amen!

Let us Pray: “Jesus, I trust in you. Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you.” 

Psalm 5

Psalm 5: 1-2, 7-8: “O Lord, hear me praying; listen to my plea, O God my King, for I will never pray to anyone but you. Each morning I will look to you in heaven and lay my requests before you praying earnestly---But as for me, I will come into your Temple protected by your mercy and your love; I will worship you with deepest awe. Lord lead me as you promised me you would; otherwise my enemies will conquer me. Tell me clearly what to do, which way to turn.”

 In reflecting on Psalm 5, it is a prayer of pleading, a prayer of worship, a prayer begging for God's mercy and direction. It is a child calling out to God the Father begging to be heard and for the Father to answer this child's prayer. This child of God just doesn't pray once and then sits back and waits for the Father to answer his prayer. Rather this child of God each morning looks to the Father in Heaven and lays his request before the Father pleading for God's mercy and direction.

We too are called to pray as David did in the psalms by worshiping our God, by bowing down in deep reverence before our King and our Lord. We too are called to pray every morning for his mercy and his grace.

When I enter Church, I bow down before the tabernacle where our Lord and our God is truly present. I fall down upon my knees in humble adoration. It is in this quiet place that I begin to pour out my heart and my troubles to my Eucharistic Lord hidden in the tabernacle of love.

After pouring out my heart to the Lord, I sit and I become still and I listen. It is in this silence that my Lord speaks to me. He might not answer my prayers in the way I want him to answer them, but he always gives me so much more---His love and a deep abiding peace. It is in His peace that I am now able to see more clearly. My problems that seem to overwhelm me are more manageable in His peace.

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”-- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Let us Pray: Father I come before you in humble adoration. Help me to listen and be still and know that you are God. 

Psalm 4

Psalm 4: 4-5, 7: “When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord....You have put gladness in my heart..”

Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta once said, “Do not let his sin cause you to sin.” It seems that she was reflecting on  Psalm 4—'When you are disturbed, do not sin....' When we are disturbed by something or someone outside of ourselves, it usually causes us to act out and fall into sin. The Lord is asking us not to sin but to be quiet and take the time to ponder the situation or person in our hearts.

When I do refrain from reacting to the person's behavior or words and ponder quietly things in my heart, I allow the Holy Spirit to work in my thoughts. Usually after this brief quiet time, I am better able to either respond or to 'let it go' without a response from me.

As we go through our day, we can choose to offer up our little annoyances silently to God. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me daily because my personality is to react immediately to what someone does or says which can cause a tear in the relationship with this person.

When I can remain calm, my response is usually loving and peaceful. I have to ask myself, how important is it really? Most things in my life are not an emergency and do not require an immediate response. I can just release them and let them go.

Instead of always reacting to what people do or say, I can offer a sacrifice of praise by thanking our Lord for His grace, mercy and everlasting love for his children. Even when his kids are not behaving so well, God the Father continues to love us with an everlasting love.

When we offer up all our little sacrifices to God daily and place our trust in him, the Holy Spirit puts gladness in our hearts and we are at peace with ourselves and others.

Let us ponder the words from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.”

Let us Pray: Today, help me Lord to be an instrument of your peace and not a stumbling block for myself and others. Lord I offer you a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. I thank you! I praise you! I worship you! I adore you my Lord and my King!

 

 

Psalm 3

O Lord how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying to me, 'There is no help for you in God'...But you, O Lord are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head... I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy hill.

David cries out to God while fleeing from his son Absalom. Many are rising against him but he knows from where is help comes from. His help is from God. Even though thousands rise up against him, he trust in God while under great adversity.

In my own life, I can't say I have anyone hunting me down and trying to kill me like David had on his journey. When I ask myself how many are my foes Lord? How many rise against me?

I recall that throughout my childhood and as an adult, I was plagued with inner fears and anxiety that tried to destroy my peace of mind and pursued me relentlessly. I finally called upon God to rescue me from my fears.

He indeed answered me and led me to counseling and some much needed inner healing.

God is my shield and protector and He is the one who lifts up my head and whispers—'Be not afraid for I am with you'

 Let us pray: My Lord and my God you are my shield and protector. Deliver me from all my fears and surround me with your strength and peace today. Amen

Psalm 2

Psalm 2: 1, 4,10, 11, 12-“What fools the nations are to rage against the Lord! How strange that men should try to outwit God!...But God in heaven merely laughs. He is amused by all their puny plans. And then in fierce fury he rebukes them and fills them with fear...O kings and rulers of the earth, listen while there is time....Serve the Lord with reverent fear; rejoice with trembling....But oh, the joys of those who put their trust in him!

In Psalm 2 it is expressing God's promise regarding His Son Jesus Christ, the Anointed One and his Kingship over the nations. As I was reflecting on this Psalm, I began to giggle just a little when it says 'God in heaven merely laughs and that God is amused by all their puny plans to outwit Him'. Over the years we have witnessed countless government leaders trying to outwit God and remove him from society by passing laws that go against God's natural law. We know that they and their prideful plans will end up perishing before God if they don't repent and begin to serve the Lord with reverent fear and trembling.

In my life sometimes I try and outwit God and end up giving God advice on how to work out problems and situations in my life that I find difficult. It is at these times that I can almost picture God laughing and smiling at at my effort to run the show without His help or leading. Like a good loving Father, he allows me my freedom to do things 'my way' while watching and hoping that I will run back to him and unite my will with his holy will.

It is in our human nature to want to control situations and make things happen according to our will. It takes humility and God's grace to surrender ourselves daily to God's holy will. But it is in the very act of surrendering that we find God's peace and then the solutions begin to unfold naturally. The more we can allow God to work in all our situations it is then we can rejoice and say with the psalmist “but oh, the joys of those who put their trust in him.”

Let us pray. “Father, I surrender to you this situation that is robbing me of your peace. I only ask for your peace and the good orderly direction of the Holy Spirit. I place the outcome of this difficulty in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus I trust in you. Amen.” 

Psalm 1

Psalm 1: 1-3 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.

How many seasons of my life did I follow the advice of the wicked? The answer to that question is way too many wasted seasons lived in the lava pit of what the world offers. In reflecting on Psalm 1, I realize now that I wasted so much time chasing the false things that the world, the flesh, and the devil had to offer. I am so glad like the prodigal son that his “prodigal daughter” came to her senses and returned to the Father's house. I was raised in a Catholic home, attended Catholic grade school and high school. I did receive a firm solid Catholic foundation in those formative years. The seeds of my Catholic faith were planted deep within me during those years of my youth. However as an adult, I chose not to till the garden of my soul and as a result, the seeds of my Catholic faith remained dormant within my hardened heart.

When I did finally return to the Catholic faith, I experienced a profound conversion and a very grateful heart that God the Father had not abandoned me. I continue to be amazed at his never-failing amazing grace at work in my life and in the lives of those around me. Even when I was far away from God doing my own thing, Jesus was right by my side whispering to my hard heart-- “Come take my hand and I will give you the desires of your heart.”

Now I can truly say that I am happy and I do take much delight in the law of the Lord. I love meditating and reflecting on God's word daily. I am in awe at the indescribable gift of the Eucharist—Jesus' body, blood, soul, and divinity that this unworthy child of God is privilege to receive. When the priest raises the host and cup at Mass, many times tears fill my eyes because of Jesus' love touching my heart and my soul.

Let us pray: “Father I desire each day to be like a tree planted by streams of living water. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon me and help me to be willing  to cooperate with your grace so I can bear fruit that will touch others and bring them into your glorious kingdom of light and love. My God, when I fail to cooperate with your grace, may I always run quickly to the merciful heart of your son Jesus found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation where I am cleansed, renewed, and strengthened once more for the journey. Amen!” 

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Michelle | Reply 28.10.2014 05.14

Thanks for this reflection on Psalms 30 & 31. It was a good way to start the morning.

Troy | Reply 20.10.2014 10.21

Love you Aunt Connie!

Michelle | Reply 14.10.2014 07.52

I was particularly blessed by your reflections on Psalm 25, and by this one on Psalms 26, 27, 28. Thanks, Connie.

Connie Beckman 14.10.2014 19.51

Thanks Michelle. It truly has been a spiritual journey into the Psalms for me as well.

Diane | Reply 07.10.2014 10.34

Hi Connie,

Thank you for sending me your Psalm reflections. It gives me hope.

Connie Becman 09.10.2014 11.49

Thank you for your encouraging words. The Psalms are so deeply filled with our human condition and our need for God

Leslie | Reply 13.08.2014 17.06

Connie, your Psalm reflections are wonderful in and of themselves, but when taken in total, are powerful calls for peace, along with trust in a merciful God.

Connie Beckman 23.08.2014 11.29

Thank you Leslie. Prayers for peace and trust in a merciful God we desire with all our hearts. Amen.

Michelle | Reply 20.06.2014 05.21

What a good quote from Mother Teresa. Good advice all around. Thanks

Troy | Reply 13.06.2014 09.37

Hello Aunt Connie. Thank you for your continued inspiration! Love you!

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15.05 | 07:49

Beautiful!

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14.05 | 10:08

Thank you, Connie, for coming to our May Crowning. It is always one of my favorite days at St. Andrew.

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20.04 | 19:58

Amen, Connie. Beautiful!

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11.01 | 09:30

Oh Connie! How I needed to read this today. Thank you and God Bless.

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