in a besieged city

I like encountering verses in the Daily Hours that have had personal meaning for me. Lately I have encountered these old friends:

"Blessed be the Lord for he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city." ~Ps 31:21

I love that picture of a quiet moment of love in the midst of a fierce battle. The city is besieged, overrun by the enemy. Sounds of war and death and violence all around. And yet there is a quiet space where love and friendship exists.

I think of the moment between Gandalf and Pippin in the Return of the King movie. Orcs and monsters are shattering stone and splintering wood. Pippin is terrified. His little hobbit ears are better tuned to jokes and songs than the sound of battle cries, screams of death and pain, or the relentless pound of battering rams. It's desperate. They are clearly outnumbered and will soon be killed. Gandalf spends a minute comforting his friend, describing life after death as peaceful and beautiful. The quiet moment gives Pippin the courage to face monsters, pain, and death. And they get up to rejoin the battle.

My life often feels like a besieged city. I am overrun with orcs and monsters and evil forces. And broken people. And a******s. All around me this battle rages and at times seems hopeless. Yet in the midst of it, if I quiet myself and listen, God comforts me with his presence, his word, and his love. I have experienced deep love and goodness in my soul, even when everything is an epic mess.

Another "old friend" I read this morning: "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and will save those whose spirits are crushed." ~Ps 34:18

A besieged city of a life means getting your heart broken and your spirit crushed. That's just how it is. And God doesn't snap his fingers and just make it all better. Life here and now is a mixed bag of joy and sorrow. But he is near. He has loved and held and comforted me over these years of battle.

The wonders of his love in a besieged city. I am thankful.


hear, read, mark, learn, digest

The prayer for this week:

"Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant me so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that I may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

I have been musing and meditating all week on what new ways I can hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest God's word.


prayer for a Monday in November

The Prayer of the Week from The Divine Hours says:

"O God, whose blessed son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, I may purify myself as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, I may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, Amen."

The two phrases that stuck out for me as I read this morning were "purify myself as he is pure" and "that I may be made like him." These two phrases spurred me to ask the Lord my own questions.

How do I need to be purified?
What things in my life distract or corrupt me?
What things in my life pull me from your love, your kingdom, and the work you have for me to do?
In what ways, during this season, do I need to be made more like Christ?

Lord, in my reading of Luke* show me the parts of Jesus' character that you want me to admire and long for. Help me to relinquish myself to you so that you can bring that character trait (more likely traits) to fruition in me.

I'm gonna think on these things this week every time this prayer comes up in the liturgy. Hope I get some good ideas/answers.

*My boyfriend (!) and I are reading through Luke for our first (!) spiritual exercise together (!). Why Luke? Because I am lame. When MM asked me what my favorite book of the Bible was, I was tired and though my brain thought, "James," my mouth said, "Luke." Pfft! Oh well. Lord willing, we'll do James another time. :) And Luke will be cool to read during Advent, Epiphany, and Lent.