Recently, while looking for a certain document in my files, I was drawn to a file entitled, PSALM—In Praise and Gratitude. As I opened the file and began reading the psalm, I had the vague memory that I had written it. Yet, I heard the nagging voice saying to me, “No, you didn’t write this Cherry.” I reached into my memory, searching for when I might have written it. I was led to look at some notes I took over a year ago while participating in a course on the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. There I found the psalm written in my own handwriting. So, I did write it. Or, God wrote it as a gift to me. This spiritual “find” happened as I was attending (virtually) a weekend directed retreat. It felt like another sweet love touch from God—a way God was romancing me. The scripture passage that I was living with for the weekend was Hosea 2:16-18— “Behold I (God) will allure her and will lead her into the wilderness; and I will speak to her heart.” I was pondering how God’s sustaining love permeates my entire being and my entire life story. How God has transformed me from a survivor to one who is thriving. His shaping and re-shaping sometimes come in the form of suffering and sometimes in the form of pure joy.
As we are living in the season of Lent, let us spend some time alone with God in the wilderness, and let Him speak to our hearts. I share my psalm with you for reflection. Allowing God to love me, and then to love others through me, has been a grace for which I have prayed for many years. In those moments when I feel overshadowed by God’s mysterious love, I know that I’m standing on holy ground. Awe and wonder abound. All I can do is to praise God in gratitude.
In Praise and Gratitude
Yahweh, God of Wonder,
May your gaze be upon me,
Your creation, the one
You call “very good”.
You are my constant companion,
My all-in-all, the Beyond beyond me.
It is you who animates me,
Shaping and re-shaping me.
You favor me, beckon me near you,
And invite me to surrender.
You remind me that I am a
Human expression of your goodness and majesty.
I can rest in serenity
In harmony with my
Creator, my resting place.
I contemplate you in
the beauty of nature,
in my beauty, and in the
grandeur of the cosmos.
In your grace, Yahweh, I can
let myself be loved, be given to,
And be worked upon.
I stand in awe of you.
I pray that we will all allow God to draw us nearer to Him this Lenten season, perhaps in a new way. Maybe even write a psalm to Him. Or let Him write one to you. Let’s lay down some of those things that hinder this closeness to God. So that on Easter Sunday, we all would look a little more like Christ, and desire to work to make this world look a bit more like He would want it to look. May we experience God’s tenderness to us, and may we mimic that tenderness in our relationships with others. May we see ourselves as God sees us, and see others and the world as God meant them to be. I believe both will please God.
I’ll leave us with this thoughtful prayer written so may years ago by Pierre Teilhard De Chardin :
Enfold Me in Your Heart
Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart;
and there hold me, refine, purge, and set me on fire,
raise me aloft, until my own self knows utter annihilation.