It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. ― G.K. Chesterton
This weekend I offered a retreat on prayer for a community of permanent deacons and their wives. What a faithful group of people, true servants of the servants of God. It was filled with many unexpected graces for me!
Among those graces, I received a deeper insight into the beauty and power of the psalms. In fact yesterday two friends, both within a short amount of time of each other, sent me a text/email sharing desperate situations they both were facing. After reading these, I went into the chapel to wait for the Vigil Mass to begin and opened by happenstance to Psalm 69. I started praying it slowly, for them. It was overwhelmingly clear to me 69:2-3 & 14 was what the Spirit wanted to pray in me for each of them:
Save me, O God, for the waters
have risen to my neck.
I have sunk into the mud of the deep,
where there is no foothold.
I have entered the waters of the deep,
where the flood overwhelms me.
But I pray to you, O LORD,
for a time of your favor.
In your great mercy, answer me, O God,
with your salvation that never fails.
I had asked those on retreat during one of my talks to pray in their quiet time with a favorite psalm. To pray with it very slowly, asking the Spirit to open the psalm’s meaning afresh for them. In particular, I asked them to ask the Holy Spirit to open to them something of the spirit and intention of the original Jewish author of the psalm, what he had in his heart when he wrote it.
Later that evening, a number of the retreatants shared with me their experience in praying thus with their psalm — so remarkable. Wow. One in particular stood out to me, so I asked him if I could share his words in my teaching. He agreed.
I had played a sung version of psalm 104 during one of my talks, and so he said he decided to use that psalm since he loved the music that went along with it. He told me,
I have prayed the psalms [in the Breviary] for years and years, but when I opened myself up to what you recommended it was like fireworks. A whole new meaning opened to me. So deep.
Here’s what happened. As I walked through the fields around the monastery praying aloud the psalm’s words, I felt the whole world around me suddenly transform from nature to a sacrament. You know what I mean? It become transparent. God was all around me, playing in the world He had made — it was chilling. Gave me chills.
I say He was playing, but He was also powerful beyond all words. I sensed the whole universe being held up by His power, yet there He was playing around me — in the wind, on the clouds, with the birds. I could hear inside me that music from the video you showed, and I swear, He was dancing to it.
It sounds loony now that I am saying it out loud to you, but during that stretch of time it was so real. Scary, almost.