Summer is upon us. A time, in principle, when things are more quiet, when we are less busy, and hopefully, less stressed. A golden opportunity to “store up treasures in Heaven”.
We all need faith, and trust, hope, and confidence in God, so badly. Sooner or later in our lives, dark clouds gather, bad things happen, and when they do, unless we live our lives in a habitual way, in faith and trust and hope in God, these virtues might not be there to sustain us. Let us then, make hay while the sun shines. Let us place ourselves in the wind, so as to optimize the odds of receiving the graces of faith, and trust, and confidence, and hope. Because when all is said and done, they are all a matter of grace. Yet, we can expose ourselves to grace. We can position ourselves in such a way as to receive the grace. One of the best ways I know of doing this is by exposing ourselves to eloquent Biblical expressions of these virtues. These expressions of faith and hope and trust and confidence in God are everywhere in Scripture, but present, in particular, in the psalms, scattered here and there.
Since we are a church of pilgrimage this summer, it occurred to me that I should refer you to what we call the “Psalms of ascent”. They are called psalms of ascent because they are the psalms that pious Jews would sing as they made their way to Jerusalem for the annual feast of Passover, or for any other important feast. Since Jerusalem is built on a mountain, going to Jerusalem from any direction involves going upward, rising in altitude, hence the name, the psalms of ascent. These psalms, numbered 120 to 135, contain some of the very finest, most eloquent, most powerful expressions we have of the faith, trust, hope, and confidence of the Jewish people in God. I have gleaned from this series of psalms the finest texts, and gathered them together for you on a few sheets of paper that you will find on the rack in the foyer, alongside the “Songs of the Suffering Servant”, and “I am the Lord you God”. For good measure, I have added excerpts from psalms 3,4, and 5, which, while they aren’t psalms of ascent, also contain beautiful expressions of trust and hope. If you prefer, you can access all of these psalms from the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website. They have a very good Bible section. Enter usccb on Google. You will be suggested a heading: “Bible – United States conference of Catholic Bishops.” Click on “Bible”, then “Books of the Bible”, then “Psalms”, and finally, click on the psalm number that you are looking for, and the text will appear before you.
This summer, take time to read, re-read, meditate, and if possible, consign to memory these beautiful expressions of faith, trust, hope, and confidence. If you do, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I am confident that the next time that clouds gather overhead in your life, these expressions of trust will spring up in your mind and heart, like the angels that appeared and ministered to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani.
As for me, I leave this Monday, July 2nd, for three weeks vacation with my family in Saskatchewan and Alberta. I promise to take you all with me in prayer. May we all have a blessed summer. May our Lady of Namacpacan hear all the prayers that will be lifted up to her in St. Mary’s Parish Church this summer and may she lift them up in turn, effectively, to Jesus her Son.
Have a great summer and God bless,