My Reflection on the Psalms

Working Together

Every day I walk my dog Annie in a field close to our home. It is certainly an adventure for a very inquisitive big dog. It is a field full of a variety of weeds, white wild flowers, bugs, moles, and an interesting ant colony. One day a few weeks ago, as I was walking by the ant hill, I noticed that it had a shiny white golf ball laying on top of the ant hill. This ant hill is very well established and the ants didn't seem to be disturbed that a white golf ball was intruding on their city. I thought about removing the golf ball but decided that I didn't want the ants crawling up my arms and legs. After about a week of walking by the ant hill, I noticed that the golf ball was very, very slowly disappearing and getting smaller. I discovered that the ants were working to bury the golf ball little by little with what seemed to me an overwhelming job. I wondered to myself how many ants were working on the golf ball project? I found myself intrigued by the ants ability to keep working on it.

I thought to myself if it were humans trying to figure out how to get rid of an unwanted intruder, they would have formed a committee of experts and debated on how to proceed to get rid of the intruder. Most of the time humans are not good at working as a team. They would have been arguing and debating the problem for months while the intruder was growing stronger. However the ants seen the problem and formed a team of workers and went to work knowing that if they kept going the problem would be solved. After a few weeks, I noticed that the golf ball intruder is completely buried safely in the ant hill-problem solved! We could learn a lot from the ants ability to work together in unity. Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. Proverbs 6: 6-8

Stay In The Middle Of The Herd

 

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped-Psalm 73.

 

It has been said that if you don't want to slip or fall off the cliff stay in the middle of the herd. This is good, practical counsel. For me this means to stay connected to my Church community, to surround myself with my fellow Christian travelers and friends. I have to make a conscious decision to attend my weekly prayer group regardless if I would rather just curly up on the couch and watch TV.

 

I know what it is like to isolate and to withdraw into myself. I did that for years. I started to slip and fall off the cliff into serious depression. I don't want to go down that slippery road ever again. As for me I desire to stay close to Jesus and His Church through Mass, Confession, Scripture and fellowship with other pilgrims on the journey.

 

Today, I pray with the psalmist from the deepest part of my soul-But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works... Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever-Psalm 73.

 

Let us pray: Blessed be the Lord, the God Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen! Psalm 72.

 

Help! Im' Drowning!

Prayer for Deliverance

Psalm 69, 70 71

Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched, my eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.... Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies. Psalm 69

If we are honest with yourselves, we all need to be delivered from something that hinders us from growing in our faith. Sometimes it is a huge road block that I have to be delivered from. Sometimes it is a build up of lots of things such as fear, pride, discouragement, spiritual laziness that ties me up in knots and stops me from moving beyond the “yuk” to Jesus' rivers of living waters.

 We sometimes forget that our goal is heaven and we are pilgrims along the way. We are in the world but not of the world. It is so easy to forget our goal is heaven as we go about our daily lives. It is so easy to lose our focus and to get off track. But as we call upon God, our Lord lifts us up and places us on the trail to heaven. This trail is not a smooth super highway but rather a rocky road filled with lost of bumps, tempting detours, resting places, joys, sufferings and sorrows. The trials and challenges we face each day helps us to shed a little more of our pride. Our self-sufficient pride keeps us from surrendering to God. Our pride tells us I want to do it 'my way' and as we insist on our way we 'ease God out' (ego) of our lives little by little.

When I find myself in the cesspool of my own self-created mess, I crawl to God and cry out: Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress—make haste to answer me. Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies...Be pleased, O God, to deliver me. O Lord, make haste to help me!...You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay! Psalm 69,70.

After quietly surrendering to Our Lord and Savior, he gently whispers these words in the depth of my heart-“My child, I have come to set you free from all your bondages. I enter into the garden of your heart. I root out the sin of pride. It is rooted up and tossed into the sea. I cast out all your fear with My perfect love. I shower you with My ocean of mercy and love which is never ending. I clothe you with purity. I clothe you in the white garment of salvation. I call to you my precious child. Come and allow Me to hold you and wash you clean. I toss your stony, sinful heart into the depths of hell. I give you a new heart. I place my heart in your heart. You are my child. I make you whole. Enter into the kingdom that the Father has prepared for you. You are washed clean. You are as white as the fresh fallen snow. You are washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb. You are my beloved child. You are My Light for the world to see. Walk in My Light and bring others to me so I can set them free.”

I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all you idols. I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your body your stony heart and giving you a natural heart. Exekiel: 36: 25-26:

Let us Pray: Jesus consecrate us in your truth that we may never stray from your steadfast love. “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame... Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” Psalm 69, 70, 71. Amen!

Make A Joyful Noise (Psalm 62-68)

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from the dread enemy. Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the scheming of evildoers....But God will shoot his arrow at them; they will be wounded suddenly, because of their tongue he will bring them to ruin- Psalm 64

By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might-Psalm 65. Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish before God. But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy-Psalm 68

The Psalms are powerful words of praise, anguish, defeat, hope, love, fear and victory over our enemies within and without. Sometimes when I cannot find the words to express my feelings and emotions, I turn to the Psalms for comfort and relief. When I am a bundle of confusion and racing thoughts, reciting the Psalms calms my thoughts down to manageable size.

It has been said that the Book of Psalms is one of the most popular books in the entire Old Testament. It is a songbook composed and written mostly by David. Some were also composed by Asaph, the sons of Korah, Solomon and others. People have been meditating and singing the Psalms every since the words were first composed. We sing the lyrics to many of the Psalms and they say when you sing you are praying twice. Singing the Psalms helps us to be brought into the Lord's presence. It changes are attitude into a melody of gratitude instead of gloom and doom. Try it. It works every time!

Let sing and pray the Psalms today:

Psalm 62-For God alone my soul waits in silence, from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall never be shaken. Psalm 63-O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory, because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

Psalm 66-Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise...Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast from me. Psalm 67-Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the people praise you. {#smileys123.tonqueout}

 

 

 

Outhouse of Life

You made your people go through hardship, made us stagger from the wine you gave us.” Psalm 60.

Sometimes we do not want to listen or follow God's way of doing things. We decide that we can accomplish this or that project, goal, relationship without God's help or assistance. God does not force us to follow his will and his way of how he desires us to live our lives. He is very respectful of our free will and refuses to interfere.

God wants us to come to him freely without any strings attached. It reminds me of human history in the Bible. God allowed his people to stray away from him and his divine plan. Each time he offered his mercy and forgiveness—he kept taking us back even though we do not deserve his mercy—he gives it freely to us. Now that is true love.

As we proceed in doing it 'Our way' without God's help, we eventually end up in the outhouse of life with all kinds of brown, smelly messes to live in. We finally call out to God, “Give us aid against the foe; worthless is human help.” Psalm 60.

As we humbly abandon ourselves to his Divine Will, trusting in his mercy, we begin to experience the depth of his love and tender care for us.

Our prayer becomes our love song to our God-Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer! From the ends of the earth-I call; my heart grows faint. Raise me up, set me on a rock, for you are my refuge, a tower of strength against the foe. Let me dwell in your tent forever, take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61

April 12th is Divine Mercy Sunday. According to the Divine Mercy Website it states the following: The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us — all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy.
The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:
A - Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.
B - Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.
C - Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

In the Scriptures, the word mercy appears numerous times. Is God trying to tell us something? Psalm 118—is all about God's mercy- Let the house of Israel say, “His mercy endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His mercy endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His mercy endures forever.” Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

God is love and mercy itself. Jesus does not care how far we've strayed away from him. He continues to call us back to his most Sacred Heart which is mercy itself. He thirsts for souls. Jesus is thirsting for your soul. He is waiting for you with open arms. He is ready to shower you with his ocean of mercy. Won't you come to him now?

When you and I sin and we acknowledge our wrong doing, we go to Jesus and say 'guilty as charged'. But instead of punishment, Jesus tenderly showers us with his ocean of mercy which is endless. It is then we experience his profound love and healing. I cannot comprehend this kind of love and mercy but I choose to cling to Jesus with all my heart and soul and trust in his mercy.

Let us Pray: Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. (Divine Mercy Chaplet concluding prayer) For more information about Divine Mercy check out: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/index.php

Psalm 58 and 59 Reflection

Don't you just wish sometimes that the evil that is all around us in this world could just vanish in thin air? But wishing won't make it go away. In Psalm 58 it says—Let them vanish like water that runs away, like grass let them be trodden down and wither. However, as believers in Christ we do have a Savior that will indeed deliverer us from the evil one. As Christians we have the authority in Jesus name to command the evil forces to go to the feet of Jesus to never return. I can ask in Jesus name to deliver me from those who work evil-Psalm 59. There is no doubt that we are in a spiritual battle for the salvation of our souls, our families, and our communities. But we can lift our hands in praise and worship and claim victory in Jesus' name. Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me.... O my strength, I will watch for you, O God, you are my fortress. My God, in his steadfast love will meet me; my God will let me look in triumph on my enemies-Psalm 59 Amen!

If God is for us who can be against? Romans 8:31. This is our victory song! Let us write those words on our hearts.

Let us ponder the words of this reflection entitled, My Precious Child that the Holy Spirit wrote on my heart many years ago but am still standing on His promises yet today and will forever and ever----
By land, sea and air, I am everywhere. I am your God, Lord of all. It is you this day I call. My Son Jesus, desires that you never be apart from His Most Sacred Heart. Be not afraid, my child to stand firm and fight. The darkness cannot harm you because you carry My Light for all to see that I truly have the Victory! I am Your Lord of all, so my precious child do not doubt, but set your feet upon my Rock and stand tall. Amen!

Be Exalted
Let us Listen to this beautiful song of praise as we reflect on Psalm 56 and 57

Psalm 56, 57 Be Exalted O God

 Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me; all day long foes oppress me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many fight against me. O Most High, when I am afraid I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise; in God I trust; I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?

It reminds of a story I heard about a dog and his master. The dog's master was training his dog to keep his eyes on him. The dog's master placed a delicious, juicy steak on the floor a few feet from the dog. The dog's master commanded the dog to keep his eyes on him. The dog was very obedient and never took his eyes off of his master. He never once looked down at the juicy steak on the floor.

The spiritual lesson in this story is that we, like the dog, will have lots of temptations presented to us each day. The enemy is constantly tossing things in our path to tempt us. Many of these temptations (enemies) are within and many from without. However, if keep our eyes on our Master Jesus Christ, we will not fall into sin. If we place our trust in God each moment of each day, we will not be afraid and we can say “I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?”

Let us pray: Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by....I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 57

 

Psalms 52-55-Olive Tree

The olive tree can attain a height of about 20 feet and typically grows to a ripe old age. Some olive trees in Israel are estimated to be around a thousand years old. The rocky soil in Israel is conducive to the drainage necessary for the olive tree to prosper, and they thrive in the Mediterranean climate. Though the olive tree’s gnarled trunk becomes hollow with age, the tree still continues to bear fruit

When we watch the news on TV, it doesn't take very long before we come to realize the state of our world is in a real mess. The scenes before our eyes are horrible violence of innocent people, untold poverty and widespread corruption is spreading its evil deeds everywhere. It is like the psalmist laments-You love evil rather than good, lies rather than honest speech. You love any word that destroys, you deceitful tongue...Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” Their deeds are loathsome and corrupt, not one does what is right. God looks down from heaven upon the human race. To see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God. All have gone astray; all alike are perverse. Not one does what is right, not even one.

It breaks God's heart to see such sinfulness, violence and hatred in the world that He created. Looking down from Heaven God does see his faithful remnant who continue to be faithful to his teachings and who are trying to live a life of prayer and holiness despite the evil in the world.

I listen and watch the news to keep informed about the world's happenings but I purposely limit the amount of time I spend on it. I get just enough information in order to bring these terrible happenings to God in prayer.

God is calling each of us to join with the psalmist: But I like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God's faithful love forever. I will praise you always for what you have done. I will proclaim before the faithful that your name is good.

God is calling each of us to be an instrument of his peace in our homes, churches, workplaces and in our cities where we live.

In order to be instruments of peace, hope, and love in our troubled world we need to pray with the psalmist: If only I had wings like a dove that I might fly away and find rest. Far away I would flee; I would stay in the desert. I would soon find a shelter from the raging wind and storm.

We need to fly to our Eucharistic King Jesus Christ to find rest and to be filled with His peace, love and hope. O God, by your name save me. By your strength defend my cause. O God, hear my prayer. Listen to the words of my mouth...God is present as my helper; the Lord sustains my life. Turn back the evil upon my foes; in your faithfulness, destroy them.

Let us pray: God help us to be your firm, faithful olive trees and trust in your faithful love forever and proclaim before the faithful that your name is good. Let your light shine in our hearts to dispel the darkness in our world one soul at a time.

 

Psalm 50 and 51 Create In Me A Clean Heart O God

Sometimes we think if we just pray long enough and hard enough that God will hear and answer our prayers. If we pray this Novena or this prayer or that prayer that God will finally hear the pleadings of our heart. All prayer is good and brings us closer in relationship to God. I believe God hears and answers all our prayers in His way and in His time, not ours. In Psalm 50 God tells his people-Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt-offerings are continually before me. Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High. Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. What God really wants is the sacrifice of praise along with genuine obedience.

In our prayers, we need also to include a time to praise God, to adore God, and to thank God even when trials and difficulties are ever before us. We praise him in the good times and we praise him in the difficult times.

This attitude of gratitude can be cultivated by practice and by becoming aware of the many little things we can thank God for during our day-like a parking place, getting to Mass on time, that hot cup of coffee in the morning, a nice hot shower or bath, food in the cupboards and the blessings to be able to worship God freely in our Churches. Christians in other parts of the world are not able to worship freely and openly.

When I am going through a difficult patch in my life, I write down all the things I am grateful for—from the little things to the big things. It seems when I am able to thank God for everything, the troubling situations before me shrink to manageable size. My attitude changes little by little from being fearful and distressed to a peaceful trusting in God's merciful love and forgiveness. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin....O Lord open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

Let us pray: Create in me a clean heart, oh God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence oh Lord and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me, the joy of Thy Salvation and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm: 51

 

Psalm 49-Hanging on to "Our Stuff"

Do not be afraid when some become rich, when the wealth of their houses increases. For when they die they will carry nothing away; their wealth will not go down after them.....

Psalm 49 is all about the folly of trusting in your riches and making your wealth and possessions your god. The old saying 'you can't take it with you' to the grave is so true. But some live as if they are going to find a way to bring their riches into eternity. Good luck with that!

Some folks have been richly blessed with an abundance of wealth and as long as they give freely of what they have to those in need, I believe God is pleased. It all belongs to God anyway. God has entrusted us with being responsible stewards of his 'stuff.' It is easy to fall into being greedy with 'our stuff.' When we make 'our stuff' our little gods, we end up miserable.

A number of years ago, I was cleaning out my mother-in-law Ruth's room at the nursing home after she had died. All her possessions fit into a medium size cardboard box.

As I was packing up her few possessions, I could not help recall all the “stuff” Ruth and her late husband Kippy had accumulated over the years. My in-laws were raised during the great depression. Both of them learned to hang on to all kinds of stuff—just in case they might need it someday. They were not rich by any means and they would help us out whenever we needed a little assistance financially. But they still managed to accumulate lots of 'stuff' over the years. We would give them gifts and they would never use the new things but put them away for a rainy day.

When we were helping them move from their home, all their 'stuff' was overwhelming. They had truck loads of 'stuff.' They went from a house 'full of stuff' to living in a room which consisted of two beds, nightstands, closet and two dressers.

It was a good reminder for me to know that earth is not our home. We are just pilgrims on our journey to our eternal home in heaven. We can't take 'our stuff' with us.

I continue to try and let go of 'my stuff' that I am not using and give it to others who need it for their journey.

We know that the earthly tent we live in will be destroyed. But we have a building made by God. It is a house in heaven that lasts forever. Human hands did not build it. 2 Corinthians 5: 1

Psalm 48-Letting Go

We ponder, O God, your mercy within your temple. Like your name, O God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth.Your right hand is fully victorious. Mount Zion is glad!

We know who wins the battle between good and evil—He is our God of Mount Zion—Jesus Christ our Lord and our God has won the battle and has freed us from sin and has opened the Heavens to spend eternity with him forever. I know Jesus is the victor over all my anxiety, fear, sorrow and troubles.

However, when difficulties and troubles abound in my life, I begin to wonder if God is hearing my prayers and if he is then why he has not answered them. In the book of Wisdom which was spoken at Mass today it says: The Lord granted him a stern struggle, that he might know that wisdom is mightier than all else. Wisdom: 10:12. In the Communion antiphon today Jesus says: Whoever wishes to come after me, must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. Mt: 16-24. We each have our crosses in our lives and with God's help we can carry them with dignity and grace.

In times of doubt and uncertainty my only recourse is to repeat over and over again: Jesus I trust in you. Jesus help me to trust in you when the clouds of darkness begin to overwhelm me with fear and with anxiety. I am powerless over this situation that is robbing me of my peace and serenity. Jesus I trust in you to handle it. I give it to you now. I let go and let God!

I may have to repeat 'letting go and letting God' many times throughout this day but I know that Jesus holds me in the palm of his hands and he indeed has the victory over this present situation. Jesus I trust in you.

Reflection-To "let go" does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else. To "let go" is not to cut myself off, it's the realization I can't control another. To "let go" is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. To "let go" is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands. To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another, it's to make the most of myself. To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about. To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive. To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being. To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies. To "let go" is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality. To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept. To "let go" it not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings, and correct them. To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it. To "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody but to try to become what I dream I can be. To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future. To "let go" is to fear less, and love more. Author Unknown

 

Psalm 47-Shout To the Lord

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth....God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of the trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth...

This psalm reminds me of the lyrics to a popular contemporary Christian song—Shout to the Lord...Shout to the Lord, all the earth, Let us sing Power and majesty, praise to the King...

It seems we do not have a problem exercising our vocal cords when we are cheering for our favorite football team. However when it comes to singing and praising God with shouts of joy—suddenly our voices become very, very tiny transformed into almost a whisper, mumble sort of sound.

I am not sure why that is, but I decided that in this new year of new beginnings, I want to be more vocal about praising God in the presence of others. For example when something good happens no matter how small, I am going to say out loud, praise God or thank you God. If I begin doing this, it will become a spontaneous response and perhaps in a small way I will be living out the scripture verse that encourages us to pray without ceasing. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Thessalonian 5: 16-18.

I love Christian music but I was not blessed with a beautiful voice for singing, however, I am going to sing anyway because I want to shout for joy to the Lord. Someone said that even if we can't carry a tune very well, the angels sing with us transforming our voices into a beautiful sound unto to the Lord. I am sure I have a choir of angels helping me sing in tune. However, sing I will with the choir of angels making a joyful sound unto the Lord.

Let Us Pray: Lord grant me the courage to praise and sing to you in the midst of your people.

 

Psalm 46-Be Still and Know that I am God

Be Still and Know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

In times of confusion and uncertainty, it seems like a million and one thoughts race through my mind at Internet high speed. Fear enters with its flaming darts hitting me like a machine gun. I'm afraid, Jesus. Help me.

I hear God whispering ever so softly, ever so lovingly, ever so gently...Be Still and Know that I am God.

As I repeat each word slowly ever so slowly, I begin to come into the presence of God.

Be- in the now moment and experience God's presence.

Be Still- God is asking me to be still in this moment. I place all my racing thoughts and fears in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Be Still and know- that as I step out of the boat on to unchartered waters, Jesus is holding my hand each step of the way.

Be Still and know that I Am- God is the great I Am. I bow down in humble adoration to the Great “I Am.”

He knows me intimately and loves me eternally. All is well with my soul.

Let us pray: Help us always to run quickly to the safety of your loving arms. God you are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

 

 

Psalms 41, 42 and 43

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. This verse speaks to me as my soul is thirsting for the living God. My soul is longing for those flowing streams of living water to pour over me and refresh my weary body and soul. During this Advent season I am spending some quiet time each week before our Lord in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

When I first kneel before our Eucharistic Lord, it takes me awhile to quiet my racing thoughts. I take a few deep breaths as I become still before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In a short while, I am able to rest and relax in God's presence. Sometimes I pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet or I write love letters to Jesus while in his presence. At other times I meditate on Scripture. Sometimes I just close my eyes and picture myself at the feet of Jesus and quietly say: “Speak Lord your servant is listening.” Our Lord is always ready to speak to us in the quietness of our hearts. It is during these times of quiet before our Lord that I am most aware of His love for us. Whatever anxiety and troubles I had in my heart, is quietly replaced by his deep abiding peace. I can pray with the psalmist O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.

The joy of the love is my strength as I praise him with these words: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

I have come to understand that this holy time of contemplation before Our Eucharistic Lord refreshes and nourishes our tired spirits so that we can go forward to live our lives with inner peace, joy and strength regardless of the problems and challenges we encounter each day. This precious time before the Lord is not wasted time, but the best time spent this side of Heaven.

Let Us Pray: Jesus I adore you. Jesus I bow down before you. Jesus I love you.

 

Psalms 38, 39, 40

When a sinner repents and turns toward God, there is deep sorry, anguish, tears, humility, and fear. We cry out with the psalmist: There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; they weigh like a burden too heavy for me. My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness; I am utterly bowed down and prostrate...I am utterly spent and crushed; I groan because of my tumult of my heart.

We fear that God will not be merciful and forgive our sins. We fear that the God of justice will condemn us forever. We cry out for the God of mercy to save us-Do not forsake me O Lord; O my God do not be far from me; make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation...Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.

What are we to do? We run to the merciful arms of Jesus. Jesus Christ established the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation with his words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19. It is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we meet the God of mercy, the God of love, the God of healing, the God of hope. In confession we let ourselves be healed by Christ. Catechism #1458.

After confessing our sins and receiving absolution from the priest, we can with the psalmist sing with joy-I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

Confession draws us closer to our merciful God who is always ready to welcome us back with open arms. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.” 1 John 1: 9

Let us pray: In your compassion blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin... A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51. Father I thank you that you are a God of mercy and a God of healing and a God of love.

 

 

Psalm 37..Advent

The season of Advent is upon us, beginning this Sunday November 30. Advent is a time to prepare ourselves for Jesus to come again anew in our hearts. The Catechism of the Catholic Church in section 525 states: “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing for the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming...”

Advent is a time to reflect on the words of the psalmist-Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him... This is a challenge indeed to take time to 'be still' before the Lord.

This can be a very busy and hectic time for many of us—Christmas shopping, decorating our homes, baking goodies, celebrating the season with Christmas parties, family, and Church gatherings. All of these activities can bring us closer to family and friends. But sometimes we get so caught up in all the activities, we ease God out. We forget that Jesus is the reason for the season as the saying goes.

It takes a conscious effort on our part to schedule 'alone time' with Jesus during these four weeks of Advent. When we do take the time to pray, read scripture, celebrate Mass, participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and spend time in Adoration, we can proclaim- Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act.

However, if you are like me, I start out with a firm commitment not to get caught up in the busyness of this season and to spend more quiet time before the Lord and then 'life happens.' I begin to fret over all the things on my 'to do' list, I begin to 'ease God out.' Then God gently reminds me- Do not fret-it leads only to evil.

A few years ago, a priest gave me some good advice when we fail on our commitments to the Lord, He said “Life is a do-over. Begin today anew.” For me it means that God is kind, full of compassion, merciful, forgiving and approachable when I fail. As the Psalmist reminds us-Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way; though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong for the Lord holds us by the hand. It is reassuring that God holds each of us by the hand.

Let us Pray: As we begin this holy season of Advent, we ask you Mother Mary to teach us how to hold Jesus in our hearts as you held him in your arms that first Christmas.

 

Psalm 35 and Psalm 36

Recently I had a relapse into self-defeating negative thoughts about myself. When I was reflecting on Psalm 35 and 36, it reminded me how I allowed the evil one to whisper lies to me about myself. I became filled with negative thinking and acting. O Lord fight those fighting me; declare war on them for their attacks on me. Put on your armor, take your shield and protect me by standing in front. Lift your spear in my defense, for my pursuers are getting close. Let me hear you say that you will save me from them. Psalm 35: 1-4.

I knew I needed to get to confession soon. I decided to go Saturday afternoon. I arrived a couple of minutes before confession was scheduled to start and noticed lots of cars in the Church parking lot. I thought to myself- I can't go into Church in my present state. Here I am with no make-up on, my hair looking pretty scary, eyes swollen from crying, and to top it off I was in my old grubby clothes.

I started to cry again. I decided the best I could do at that moment was to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet in my car. I mentally decided I could not go into Church for confession. With tears streaming down my face, I began to pray the Chaplet. Mysteriously the prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet began to quiet my troubled heart and soul. As I was finishing the Chaplet, I looked up and right before my eyes was one of my favorite priest Father Wang and his assistant Becky walking into the Church. Father Wang was filling in for the parish priest that weekend I found out later. In that moment I realized that it was God's way of being present to me and to let me know that He is always with me no matter.

I said to myself “Toughen up Connie because God loves me as I am. I wiped the tears from my eyes, and went to confession with Father Wang. I was able to take in God's mercy and his love through Father Wang in this beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation. I received a much needed hug and words of encouragement from Becky as well.

On my way home from confession, I realized that I am in a daily spiritual battle. I need to armor myself with His Holy Word, Mass, the Rosary and spend more time in adoration to keep the enemy away from me and my family.

Proverbs 31: 25 states-She is clothed in strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come.

I know that God is my strength and my dignity comes from being a child of God so I can indeed be joyful and laugh at the days to come.

Let us pray and reflect: Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your justice is as solid as God's mountains. Your decisions are as full of wisdom as the oceans are with water. You are concerned for men and animals alike. How precious is your constant love, O God! All humanity takes refuge in the shadow of your wings. You feed them with blessings from your own table and let them drink from your rivers of delight. Psalm 36-5-8

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Michelle | Reply 22.06.2015 05.44

Love the golf ball image.

Beckita | Reply 20.03.2015 18.24

Every word of praise to the Lord diminishes evil's grip! Blessed be God in you, Connie, and all your good works for His glory!

Beckita | Reply 05.03.2015 17.24

Be exalted, O God, in Your servant, Connie, and her writing which praises You forever! XO

Nancy HC Ward | Reply 02.03.2015 22.40

Love Be Exalted when we sing it at prayer meeting it lifts me up to the arms of The Lord.

connie beckman 03.03.2015 08.37

I agree totally. It is so secure and safe in the arms of our Lord! Amen

Beckita | Reply 14.02.2015 09.34

Amen. Alleluia! So true, Connie. For further reading on this potent topic, I highly recommend Ann Voskamp's book: ONE THOUSAND GIFTS.

Dominique | Reply 20.01.2015 16.39

Connie I needed your words "letting go" today more than I can possibly explain to you. It was as if God spoke through you directly to me. Truly, thank you

Connie Beckman 20.01.2015 18.07

Dominique,
You are so welcome and I am glad the reflection Letting go-helped. We each have our crosses--let us pray for one another.

Leslie Lynch | Reply 21.11.2014 11.11

Sorry for your struggles, Connie - but they brought you to the cross, which is the best place to be! Hugs!

Beckita | Reply 21.11.2014 10.53

May your witness to the truth of the daily battle help souls come from the darkness, pressing on their lives, into the Light of Christ. Blessed be God in you!!!

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Latest comments

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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