O Root of Jesse
Advent, Article, Prayer
0

December 19 – O Root of Jesse

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December 19
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!

19 O-Root-of-Jesse

O Radix Jesse: O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid. Isaiah had prophesied, But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (Isaiah 11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in Davids city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).  (From Catholic Resource Education Center)

In case you missed, December 17 begins the O Antiphons, with  O Wisdom. While working on a project for St. Mary’s Press, I came across artwork by the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey that captures the vibrant and joyful anticipation of Advent in the O Antiphons.  These images and reflections from the Catholic Resource Education Center are so beautiful, I needed to share!

The O Antiphons are seven brief sentences that highlight a title for the Messiah and a prophecy of Isaiah about the coming of the Messiah.  Part of the liturgical tradition since the very early Church, these beautiful theological statements are prayed in Vespers, or evening prayer, during the last days of Advent, from December 17-23. For more information about the artwork, visit the McCrimmons, a UK  Publishing Company.

 

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O Adonai
Advent, Prayer
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December 18th – O Adonai!

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December 18

O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!

18 O-Adonai

O Adonai: O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. Isaiah had prophesied, But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the lands afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. (Isaiah 11:4-5); and Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us. (Isaiah 33:22). (From Catholic Resource Education Center)

In case you missed, December 17 begins the O Antiphons, with  O Wisdom. While working on a project for St. Mary’s Press, I came across artwork by the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey that captures the vibrant and joyful anticipation of Advent in the O Antiphons.  These images and reflections from the Catholic Resource Education Center are so beautiful, I needed to share!

The O Antiphons are seven brief sentences that highlight a title for the Messiah and a prophecy of Isaiah about the coming of the Messiah.  Part of the liturgical tradition since the very early Church, these beautiful theological statements are prayed in Vespers, or evening prayer, during the last days of Advent, from December 17-23. For more information about the artwork, visit the McCrimmons, a UK  Publishing Company.

 

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O Wisdom
Article
2

December 17 – O Wisdom

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While working on a project for St. Mary’s Press, I came across artwork by the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey that captures the vibrant and joyful anticipation of Advent in the O Antiphons.  The O Antiphons are seven brief sentences that highlight a title for the Messiah and a prophecy of Isaiah about the coming of the Messiah.  Part of the liturgical tradition since the very early Church, these beautiful theological statements are prayed in Vespers, or evening prayer, during the last days of Advent, from December 17-23. For more information about the artwork, visit the McCrimmons, a UK  Publishing Company.

December 17

O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

December 17 - O Wisdom

O Sapientia: O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation. Isaiah had prophesied, The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2-3), and Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom. (Isaiah 28:29). (From Catholic Resource Education Center)

 

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Psalm 150 Beach Meme
Faith, Joy, Life, Prayer, Scripture, Spirituality
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What is my Psalm?

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Biking around my NASA affiliated Houston neighborhood is one of my simple joys.  When neighbors ask if we’re “the family that bikes to Church,” I smile with delight and gratitude.  Yes. Yes, we are.

Honestly, this isn’t something that I would instinctively insert into my daily prayer.  Yet, studying the Psalms has prompted me to ask at any given moment: What is my Psalm?  This simple question helps integrate prayerful conversation with God into the ordinary moments of daily life.

To pray in the style of the Psalms – or to pray using the words of the Psalms themselves – it’s helpful to know a little background.

The Book of Psalms is a collection of prayers and songs from throughout Israel’s history.  They are prayerful responses to real, specific life experiences.  And as varied as our life experiences may be on any given day, so are the Psalms!  This variety and connection to life is why the Psalms were so often sung and prayed in worship by the ancient Israelites, sung and prayed by Jesus and the apostles, and continue to be sung and prayed by us today.

Acknowledging simple joys with a Psalm of Praise is a beautiful way to recognize God’s presence in all things.

How?

Begin by inviting praise, such as: “Let us praise God!” Then articulate the specific reasons for praising God in that moment. And conclude by recapping the praise.

Look at how Psalm 117 – which is the shortest Psalm, with only two verses – provides a great example of this basic structure:

Praise and Psalm 117

As I bike through my neighborhood, if I were to use the words from Scripture, I might recite the final verse of Psalm 150

Psalm 150 Meme

But the beautiful gift of the Psalms is how they also teach us how to pray our own Psalm of Praise.

Praise God

For my adorable green bike

For its form and its function

and its matching green basket

For the ability to ride

For my wonderful neighborhood

For biking to the homes of friends,

to fun at the pool,

to Church,

to Starbucks,

to CVS.

For the opportunities I have

to share this with my family

whom I love

For all that I have; for all that I am,

Praise God

IMG_0147

Ask yourself: What is my Psalm?  And then say it, write it, sing it, pray it.

For more Wisdom of the Psalms, be sure to subscribe by entering your email on the sidebar.

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Aerial View of Houston Flooding
Article
3

On Harvey and the Psalms

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Anyone who has seen me in the past few weeks knows that I recently taught an Adult Faith Formation class on the Book of Psalms.  Why?  Because I can’t stop talking about it.  I have completely geeked out with research, reading, and passion for the Psalms.

What I learned has had a profound impact on both my spirituality and my theological appreciation for the Psalms themselves.  It’s changed the way I view suffering and how we pray about our struggles. Frankly, it’s changed the way I view most everything.

This week, I’ve noticed this change quite clearly while scrolling through Facebook. The first anniversary of Hurricane Harvey has dominated my feed. Many friends have reposted memories and pictures from the devastating flooding.  I was particularly struck by my friend Christina’s post:

Screenshot 2018-08-28 16.24.44

I heard the suffering in Christina’s post: both her own struggle reliving painful memories, and her awareness that “many are still” suffering.

Christinas House

A year ago…

Screenshot 2018-08-29 20.52.47

…as the flood waters came into their home, Christina and her husband Anthony, their kids and pets were rescued by boat.

Screenshot 2018-08-29 21.37.01

Then they waited.

Screenshot 2018-08-29 20.53.45

Finally, Anthony was able to (briefly) return to the house.

Screenshot 2018-08-29 21.36.35

The devastation in our region was mind boggling.  And so was the help Houstonians offered one another.  Christina and Anthony received a small army of assistance as they began the arduous task of gutting the irreparable and cleaning the salvageable. Help from people they knew and others that “just showed up.”  This happened everywhere around us.

Screenshot 2018-08-29 21.59.17

Our faith does not provide us with some sort of “suffering-protection-insurance,” but it does help us persevere by giving us plenty of models for calling out to God in the midst of suffering and an increased awareness of God’s grace in the midst of it all. This is especially present in the Psalms.

Anthony’s posts are akin to Psalms of Thanksgiving.  They recall the suffering and express gratitude for gifts of God’s grace.

Screenshot 2018-08-28 16.33.48

Christina’s posts are steeped in Lament.  But that’s not a bad thing.  In fact, that level of honesty is necessary for an authentic relationship with God.

Screenshot 2018-08-28 16.33.14

The Psalms of Lament insist that we speak difficult truths to God in prayer, whether it’s simply acknowledging that these memories are painful or recognizing that many are still suffering.

I have profound respect for Christina’s honest expression of what so many are still feeling, yet are afraid to say aloud.  She is a compassionate woman whose faith sustained her through ten months of recovery, demolition, and rebuilding her home. She and her family have faced trial after trial after trial since the day the rains came.

And she is lamenting: turning to God and speaking the truth.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I hope to share some of my favorite insights about the Psalms with you.  But rather than re-teaching the class (which I’d be happy to do!), I plan to share a nugget at a time.

If you don’t want to miss any of these insights and nuggets, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. (In other words enter your email on the sidebar.)

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