A Willing Spirit
While chanting Psalm 51 this morning at Lauds, this phrase caught my attention:
“…et spiritu promptissimo confirma me” (…and give me a willing spirit).
What struck me was the word translated as “willing” is “promptissimo,” and from which is derived our word “prompt.” I ran home and looked up the Latin translation which reads “The most eager.” So, that phrase from Psalm 51 could be read in English as “…and give me the most eager spirit.”
The response to the first half of the verse is: ‘Restore to me the joy of my salvation.” I asked the Lord to tell me what he wanted to be said today. When I saw the word “promptissimo,” I knew instantly that I had my answer. I gave a prompt and resounding “thank you” to God for having answered me so readily! In that word, he told me he was listening to my prayer and that my joy would return in quick response of thanks to him! Amazing — all within one word in the middle of a chant recitation!
Image Credit: Gregorian Chant Splash Page
On my mind
At Lauds this morning, I found myself quite distracted. The more I chanted, the more distracted I became. By the time we arrived at the final psalm — the Praise Psalm — I was in no mood to praise anyone or anything, let alone the Lord who I knew was hearing every word going through my head!
Then something happened. We were a few verses into the psalm when I realized I was being swept along with it. The psalm and the chant had simply moved in and taken over my thoughts.. I was not overwhelmed by any large emotion, no “lightning bolt,” but rather a “still, small Voice” which was making itself heard through the chant. That moment left me more able to ask God what was upsetting me, and for me to hear His answer. I am so grateful that He used the chant that way — to let me know what was really on my mind!
Credit:Chants from a choirbook from Florence – Victoria and Albert Museum www.vam.ac.uk1000 × 1500
By Sr. Nun Other
I frequently tell people how busy I am, how stressed, how overwhelmed with important tasks. And I’m not the only one. Our younger sisters often say, “I was given a huge project today — HUGE!” When questioned, this can range from painting a bathroom to making several dozen cookies. And then, I happened upon Psalm 65. Let’s look at a day in the life of the God we love:
Psalm 65 Paraphrased Perspective Statistics (Googled)
He hears our prayers, World population 7.125 Billion
And forgives our sins
He stills the roaring of the seas, Earth in square miles 57,491,000
The turmoil of the nations.
He cares for the land and waters it; One year’s water consumption
He enriches it abundantly. 3,622,439 liters
God fills our streams with water, Food consumption 11 million pounds
And provides grain for the people. per minute per day
I receive a quick lesson in humility, now overwhelmed by my insignificance. And then I realize, all of the above is for me. And you. One additional verse from Psalm 65: Where morning dawns and evening fades, He calls forth songs of joy. And gratitude.
By Renaissance Girl
Four times a week I feed the fish in the Koi pond near the church. It’s an enclosed space – literally inside the walls – and I’ve started looking forward to those moments of quiet, me and the fish and the sound of water trickling and wind through the bamboo. Sometimes I laugh as they tussle over first dibs on their food. Sometimes I barely want to breathe so as not to disturb the silence. But I always smile when they see me coming and rush to the side of the pond, mouths gaping. So eager and dependent and just themselves.
Sometimes I’m surprised by the things that start out as “duties” and end up being gifts. I just have to allow my perspective to be changed.
By Sr. Nun Other
I’m rethinking my personal definition of times of plenty. It isn’t about having, getting, or owning. It isn’t about money or the best of anything. It’s about the presence of God’s love, protection and care.
I’m enjoying a time of plenty and here’s some practical evidence: recently, along with two more sisters (and the generosity of others), I went to Fenway Park. It was a perfect game day, blue skies and a comfortable seventy-one degrees. Our drive to Boston was uneventful until we searched for a parking place. I’m not good in traffic. I sit in the back by popular demand and have to ask the driver permission to speak. “Do you want me to tell you that you almost hit a pole?” That sort of thing. We pulled from bumper to bumper traffic into a lot. The attendant quoted a price ten dollars higher than anticipated and announced they only took credit cards. As sisters, we don’t carry them. Except this time . . Enter God’s love . . one of us had a VISA Gift Card she’d been given for her birthday. That worked. Next we went to dinner and ordered specialty burgers. I specified that I didn’t want the caramelized onions. When our orders arrived, I immediately noted onions among my mushrooms and Boursin cheese. The waiter noticed also and offered me a new burger. I thanked him but said I’d just pick them out, no problem. When he brought the bill, he told us my dinner was free. We recouped the extra $10 for parking. The game included amazing defensive plays, outstanding pitching and a Red Sox win, more rare this season than last.
Perhaps these sound like small things. Perhaps they are. But right now, for whatever reason, I’m especially cognizant of God’s presence in my life. Work problems, strained relationships, things simply beyond my ability to control rest in his hands. When I admit my need and recognize my complete inadequacy, I grow in faith and trust.
By Sr. Nun Other
There’s a saying can’t see the forest for the trees. I find myself often in that state, surrounded by God’s love and unable to recognize it. Sometimes it doesn’t fit my mold of what love looks like, and sometimes events are shrouded in personal negativity. Yesterday, a sister approached me and said, “I heard you had some good news today.” My reply? “Well, actually, it was bad news that turned out less bad than I thought it would be.” We both laughed, but honestly, how’s that for short-lived gratitude?!
Here are some facts about a forest. It’s a highly complex, ever changing environment made up of a variety of living things (wildlife, trees, wildflowers, lichens, ferns and mosses). It’s also made up of elements like water, rocks, sunlight and air. The trees buffer the earth and underpin countless life forms. They help create an environment to support the kinds of animals and plants that exist in the forest. This is a perfect definition of God’s care for his creation. When I struggle and sometimes suffer, I need eyes to see and a heart to comprehend the complexity of my need and the answer of a loving God.