This is another part of the talk I gave a couple of Sundays ago regarding a retreat with the Psalms that I participated in/led at Nellis Air Force Base’s Catholic Chapel. We actually experienced 5 psalms in total. The post below is about 2 of them. I already posted about 2 others previously. So, if you missed those, you can go back and read them when you get the chance! God bless you for being here!
Bless the Lord, O My Soul!!!
We also experienced a Praise Psalm yesterday, Psalm 103, that entailed the movement of our bodies. It begins, “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and all that is within me joins to bless His holy name…” And we talked about the fact that we are physical and spiritual beings. We can praise God with our bodies in many different ways – kneeling, raising our arms, bowing, lying prostrate on the floor as priests and deacons do during ordination. And then we just did a few simple positions using the first 6 verses of the 103rd Psalm, a personal favorite of mine.
Sometimes, we can be so filled with our joy in the Lord that we simply must praise Him by moving our whole physical being! I know whenever I dance, I feel God’s presence! And that can also happen when I’m running! It’s always a perfect time to praise God, when we feel so alive physically. It can be a prayer of gratitude for our existence, also, and for being healthy enough to move this temple of the Holy Spirit we’ve been gifted with! At other times, life seems a murky mystery that makes little sense to us. Movement can help us to release some of the tension that we hold in our bodies due to this situation…
To help us grapple with the tensions in our faith and in our lived experience, sometimes we have to release unknowable answers to our questions. And sometimes we may be given an answer that gives us much peace. Honest seeking with our hearts open and oriented to the Lord will help us to figure out what our next move is and that is called wisdom.
Nothing Is Beyond You
The last Psalm type that we experienced yesterday was the Wisdom psalm, 139, in which the Psalmist asks, “Where could I run?” For he knows that God sees him no matter where he goes, or even if he tries to hide. Nothing is beyond God’s vision, nor can we ever step outside of His love. It’s beautiful and we had a wonderful meditation for that Psalm (that I did not write). A pithy way to think about that kind of psalm is, ‘A wise person knows who he is and whose he is.’ Or ‘A wise person knows who she is and whose she is.’
Who are you? You are a child of God, loved into being by the One who will never leave you or forsake you.
Whose are you? The Triune God’s. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Those two beliefs should carry us through this earthly life. Every single person matters to God. He loves each of us as if there were only one of us.
Something my dad used to say when I was a kid, and I don’t know who said it first, but it’s this: “If God stopped thinking about you for a second, you’d disappear.” Or words to that effect!
Because the Creator of all beholds us all constantly; it’s why the universe, why Creation is here. God sustains it all through His will and love for us. If He didn’t, it would all cease to be.
God With Us
It’s so important, crucial really, to remember God is with us all the time. God with us, “Emmanuel,” right? Just like the angel Gabriel said at the Annunciation. And just like Jesus promises at the other end of His earthly life, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (That’s in Matthew’s Gospel.)
It’s the bookends of the Gospel. Jesus is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and Mary is informed that He shall be called “God with us.” And then, at the end of His time physically on this earth Jesus says the same to His disciples. “I am with you.” I love that!
May that reality always bring us peace and joy. God is with you. The Holy Spirit is in us. Right now! By our baptism and our confirmation. In the Eucharist and in the Church. Jesus is in your heart.
During this time of Lent, let’s make a bigger space for God in our hearts. Let’s surrender our minds and hearts to Him. Let Jesus increase within us and let our own self-centeredness decrease. Let’s rely more on God and less on ourselves. We are not strong enough to do any of this earthly life alone. But God is. He is more than powerful enough. He made it all; He sustains it all; He loves it all – especially you and me!
Here’s the song I shared for the Wisdom Psalm, number 139.