How Can We End the Cycle of Violence

In today’s First Reading from 1 Samuel 18:6-9, 19:1-7, we read about King Saul who is angry and jealous because David is rising in popularity, since he is better in battle than the king. We read a song sung by the people:

Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

He is angry enough to become murderous. And at the end of all the stories about King Saul, his son Jonathon, and King David, and all his sons, we really don’t see a happy ending – except that we can always count on the faithfulness of God in spite of our faithlessness, greed, lust, or violence. And these stories in the books of Samuel and Kings present a rather unvarnished picture of sin. In the face of all these monumental failings, we see the unfailing grace of God that reaches us wherever we are.

We are also presented in these stories with the truth that violence begets violence. Saul, and David who followed him (as well as his progeny) were trapped in the cycle of violence. They sanctified their violence and wars by claiming that God was on their God . . . . on their side, so to speak.

When will it be possible for us to lay down our weapons and stop the cycle of violence in its tracks?

This is a tomahawk missile on display at the Smithsonian in D.C.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the only weapons were those on display in museums? What would a world like that be like?

A New Assignment

This week I have the privilege to be subbing for Sister Cathryn who is the resident manager of Rose Court, our affordable housing complex in San Francisco. I noticed that Sister Cathryn had a framed quote by Meister Eckhart, the German Dominican mystic from the 14th century. I share it today.

Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God.

Every peacock feather is a book about God.

God Fills the Earth with Joy

The third psalm in our morning prayer today is Psalm 65

You still the tumult of the seas
(the roaring of their waves)
and the tumult of the people.

The ends of the earth stand in awe
at the sight of your wonders.
the lands of sunrise and sunset
You fill with Your joy.

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As the Deer Longs for Springs of Water . . . .

The first psalm for our morning prayer today is Psalm 42.

Like a deer that longs for springs of water,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirst for God, the living God:
when shall I come and stand before the face of God?

One of our San Rafael deer

Come and You Will See

Today’s Gospel passage (John 1:35-42) tells of Jesus inviting the disciples to follow him by inviting them to “Come and See.” He’s not asking them to make a commitment. He’s not saying they should follow him. He’s not telling them how they should live their lives. He is simply inviting them to investigate . . . to observe . . . to see for themselves just who he is and what he is about.

We, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, are hosting a Come and See Day on February 4th. We’re not  asking for a commitment either, we are simply inviting single Catholic women, between the ages of 20 and 45 to come . . . to investigate . . . to observe . . . to ask questions . . . and to find out for themselves just what being a sister might be like.

Why don’t you come? Why don’t you encourage someone?

Come and You Will See

Sometimes Poetry is Preaching

I read this poem the other day in an email from Panhala.net. They always share wonderful poetry.

I should be content
to look at a mountain
for what it is
and not a commentary on my life.

– David Ignatow.

Atop a 12,000 foot mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park

Forever We Will Sing the Goodness of God

Today our responsorial psalm is Psalm 89, and we read:

Blessed are the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O Lord, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day
and through your justice they are exalted.

Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

All creation sings the Goodness of God.

Let Us Awaken the Dawn

It’s back again to an early morning thought . . . let us awaken the dawn.  One of our psalms in morning prayer is Psalm 57, and our antiphon says it all.

Awake, lyre and harp: I will awaken the dawn.

This was a dawn well worth awakening

Here I Am, Your Servant Is Listening

Our Scripture readings continue with the theme of call. Yesterday’s was the calling of Jesus’ disciples, and today, in the First Book of Samuel, we read about the calling of the prophet Samuel.

Then Eli [the prophet] understood that God was calling the youth. So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the Lord came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

And in today’s response from Psalm 40 we read:

Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

We will only be able to answer God when we have learned to recognize God's voice. So we need to take time for solitued, prayer, and reflection.

Those Who Fish, Rise Early

It is a New Year . . . has been for ten days now. Our Christmas Season ended on Sunday, the Feast of the Epiphany . . . yesterday we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord . . . and today Jesus calls his followers and invites them to go fishing.

Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of people.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.

Fishing boat leaving the Bolinas Lagoon

This shot of a boat going out to fish was taken in the early morning, just as the sun was rising. Those who fish, must start early. Photographers rise early for the good shots. So must we who are are also called to fish. My friends who are not early risers would argue with me about the rising early. And they are right . . . they see an earlier morning than I do, for they stay up sometimes till the morning. Reminds me of a Rumi poem, “Sometime, stay up all night.”

Late or early, let us find our God in the silence of that time, and may it speed us on our way to where each one of us is called to “fish.”