Friday, 18 April 2014

Thursday 17th April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
We have reached the end of our journey with the Psalmist.  In the past few weeks we have experienced the depths of despair, as those who should have been supportive were not.  We have seen elation and delight, when the Psalmist knew the love and mercy of God.  Finally we have seen the Psalmist’s profound enunciation of the faith.
St Francis of Assisi, the complier of the Psalms we have been using for this study, knew what he was looking for when he chose the verses he did.  The Biblical Psalms are, and should always be, an integral part of a rich and fulfilling prayer life.




Comment

Through these past weeks, there have been challenges for us to face.  Perhaps some difficult questions we’d prefer to avoid, or not think about.  Yet, our faith is never static.  It, like the Scriptures we know and love, moulds us. When we get a new insight, or different perspective on what we have read, or experienced previously; we should not be concerned.  Rather we should rejoice that we have a new awareness of the ever revealing nature of God.

Reflection


Do you worry if you get a different perspective on the scriptures each time you read them?  If so, why?

Thursday 10 th to Wednesday 16 th April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.



Psalm 6










1. All you who pass by the way, look and see if there is any sorrow like to my sorrow; for many dogs have surrounded me and I am besieged by the schemes of the wicked.

2. They have examined and scrutinised me, and they have divided my garments between them, and they have gambled for my tunic.

Comment

Great pain indeed and familiar words.

Reflection  

Does the fact that the words are placed on the lips of this psalmist rather than narrated help you to  understand them more fully?

Psalm 6

Friday 11th April 2014

3. They have pierced my hands and my feet they were able to count all my bones.
4. They have opened their mouth at me like some lion that snatches its prey.

Comment

Again, the piercing of nails, the starvation in death, the psalmist is consumed by the crowd as though the prey of a lion

Reflection

Can you imagine this at all, where is he?


Psalm  6

Saturday 12th April 2014


5. I am poured out like water- all my bones are out of joint, my heart is melted within me like wax, my strength is dried up like a potsherd, my tongue sticks to my jaws.

6. They have given me gall for my food, and in my thirst they made me drink vinegar.

Reflection

Within the terror of the psalmists experience he understand that to suffer silently, to shut us out of his mind will not help us understand his broken body and the stumbling attempts at mercy. Do you believe that where mercy is shown mercy is given?


Psalm 6

Sunday 13th April 2014

7. They have led me down into the dust of death, and they have added more suffering to the pain of my wounds.

8. But I have slept, and I have arisen, and my Most Holy Father has taken me up to glory.

Comment

What glory! After such pain the psalmist is resurrected and assumed into heaven, his most Holy Father has come to his aid.

Reflection

Through such great suffering would you keep your eyes and heart constantly on your Redeemer?


Psalm 6

Monday 14th April 2014

9            Holy Father, you have held me by the hand, you have willed to lead me out, and you have assumed me into glory.

10          For what have I in Heaven, and what have I on earth apart from you?

Reflection

All the Psalmist wants and seeks will be found in the company and presence of God.  There is no doubt of in the mind of the Psalmist.  Do you also think like this?

Psalm 6

Tuesday 15th April 2014

11          Look and see that I am God, says the Lord- I shall be exalted among the nations and exalted on earth.

Comment

Finally the Psalmist gives a voice; God.  In the trials and tribulations of the 6 psalms, the psalmist has never given up the faith in, and devotion to, God.

Reflection

Are we so diligent, that we never waver in our devotion to, and faith in, God?  Somehow I suspect not.

Wednesday 16th April 2014

Psalm 6

12          Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who redeems the souls of His servants with His own Most Holy Blood, and never abandons those who place their trust in Him.

13          And we know that He is coming, He is coming to bring us true justice.

Comment

The core of the psalmist’s beliefs and convictions are revealed in these verses.  A simple enunciation, yet so profound in the perception of the faith, we profess.

Reflection


When was the last time, you were asked to make a similar declaration?  Where you as clear?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Wednesday 9th April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
Psalm 5



13          You are my most Holy Father-my King and my God.
14          Turn to me and to my aid, Lord God of my salvation.








Comment

The psalmist knows that the source of mercy, strength and love is God; and is giving voice to that belief.

Reflection

Are you also sure that you know this?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Tuesday 8th April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
                              Psalm 5



11          Evil witnesses who did not know me got up and questioned me.
12          They repaid me evil for good, and dragged me down for following the right path.






Comment


False witnesses combine in a vain attempt to lead our psalmist away from the path that leads to God.  But the psalmist knows what the people are doing and so is aware of the pitfalls placed along the path.

Reflection
We struggle to remain unmoved when faced with people who twist and manipulate the truth for their own purposes. How do you deal with these people?


Monday, 7 April 2014

Monday 7th April

Psalm 5
“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.



9     And they have come against me rejoicing, plying their whips over my innocent head.
10  Those who hate me for no reason are more than the hairs of my head; my enemies who persecuted me without cause have been comforted and I unloosed those whom I did not plunder.





Comment


There seems to be little in the way of fairness and justice here.  The psalmist is being swamped by those who seek nothing but ridicule and punishment.

Reflection



It is sometimes very difficult to continue, in the face of opposition such as this.  Yet, all through the psalm, the psalmist has remained focused on God.  This will not change.  Are you also as resolute?

Sunday 6th April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
Psalm 5



7      I have become an outsider to my brothers, and a stranger to my mother's sons.
8   O my Father, zeal for your House has eaten into me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.






Comment

The psalmist is estranged even from family members.  But rather than lamenting this situation, the psalmist sees that the persecution is similar as those who are rejected for their faith in God.

Reflection


Families can be multifaceted, intricate and convoluted relationships.  Occasionally fraught with misunderstandings, conflicting emotions and sadly at times with little love.  How do you react when family members walk away from you?

Saturday 5th April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
Psalm 5




5            I could not flee, and there was nobody to look after my soul.
6            It is for you I have endured reproach, and shame has covered my face.





Reflection



The psalmist is embarrassed by the situation, but there is no doubt that God is not blamed, but remains the focus of praise and worship.  Would you do the same?

Friday 4th April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
Psalm 5




    







3 On the way that I was walking, proud men had hidden a snare for me.
    4    I looked on my right and I saw-there was no one who knew me.



Reflection


On one side are those who would trap, and on the other side, strangers.  A seemingly difficult and lonely place.  But in these verses, we espy glimpses of Psalm 23: “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”.  It takes faith and perseverance to continue when all seems lost. Remember the psalmist and keep going.

Thursday 3rd April

 
“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
Psalm 5













1 With all my voice I have cried to the Lord with all my voice I have entreated Him;

I pour out my prayers in His sight and I give voice to my troubles before Him..


2 When my spirit faints within me, you have known my path.



Comment

The psalmist is not being silent, nor stoic. But is making sure that by raising prayers and supplications, God will hear them.

Reflection


We may fall into the habit of being meek and mild in raising our prayers to God.  Have a look at some of the prophets of old.  There are not many who remained silent. Rather they called, argued and debated with God.  Can you do this?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Wednesday 2nd April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
Psalm 4

11          Turn your eyes to me and help me.
12          Bend down and help me, Lord God of my salvation.









Comment

When we turn to look and make eye contact with someone, we acknowledge that we are aware of them.  This helps us and the other person to communicate and perhaps engage in a meaningful dialogue together.  The psalmist is looking for this connection from God.

Reflection


How good are you at turning your eyes towards people?

Tuesday 1st April

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.

Psalm 4


9            Above all my enemies, I have become a reproach to my neighbours, and an object of fear to my friends.
10          Holy Father, do not let your help be far from me.






Comment

Those closest to the psalmist have turned away in fear.  Abandoning the person, one would expect they would support.  Fear can do much damage. Yet the psalmist does not reject them, rather preferring, as always, to go to God for help.

Reflection


When we rest in God’s love, fear can be overcome.

Monday 31st March

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
Psalm 4

7            All those who saw me derided me with their jeering lips and tossing heads.
8            For I am a worm, and not a man at all.-the reproach of men and outcast of the people.







Comment


The words and actions of the people around the psalmist have been driven the psalmist into a deep despair. When we allow others to deride us, we can also fall into despair. When this happens we also have a tendency to think of ourselves as being worthless, or of little value.  This of course is our self-centred thinking and we, and the psalmist, know it is not how God sees us.

Reflection


In despair, do you only look inwards?  Have you, instead, looked towards God?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sunday 30th March

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.

Psalm 4



5            Those who were in charge of my soul came together to make their plans.
6            They went out to discuss them together.









Reflection


When we know something is being planned around us, but we are excluded from the conversations, it makes us cautious and perhaps nervous.  One response we may have is to try and find ways into knowing what is happening.  Is that what you do?


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Saturday 29th March

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”.
Psalm 4


3            My enemies have trampled on me all day long-there were many of    them warring against me!
4            My enemies were all planning evil things against me, and they said terrible things about me.








Reflection


I suspect we've all been here at some point in our lives.  How do you react, when you hear terrible things about yourself?

Friday 28th March

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”

Psalm 4



1            Have mercy on me, God, for men have trampled me underfoot.
2            All day long they have fought me and oppressed me.









Comment

The psalmist has been struggling and seeks nothing but mercy from God.  God’s mercy will sustain and strengthen in the difficult times.

Reflection

When faced with a similar situation, which do we seek, mercy or to be rescued

Thursday 27th March

“St Francis Rejecting the World 
and Embracing Christ”


Psalm 3

15          O God. You are exalted above the Heavens, and your Glory is above the earth.







Comment

There is no question about or where and who God is. A statement of faith, belief but also one of knowledge.

Reflection


We know this, instinctively, but do we actually give voice to it?