Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 (Day 66)

Katie Snipes Lancaster

Psalm 66 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation)
…Say to God, “How awesome Your deeds.
Before Your great strength Your enemies quail.”
All the earth bows down to You,
and they hymn to You, hymn Your name.
Come and see the acts of God, awesome in works over humankind.
God turned sea to dry land, the torrent they crossed on foot.
There we rejoiced in God. God rules in might forever.
God eyes probe the nations.
Let the wayward not rise up.
Bless, O peoples, our God, and make heard the sound of God’s praise,
who has kept us in life, and not let our foot stumble.
For You tested us, God, You refined us as silver refined.
You trapped us in a net, placed heavy cords round our loins.
You let people ride over us.
We came into fire and water—
and You brought us out to great ease.
I shall come to Your house with burnt-offerings.
I shall pay to You my vows that my lips uttered,
that my mouth spoke in my straits.
Come listen and let me recount, all you who fear God,
what God did for me…God indeed has listened,
has hearkened to the sound of my prayer.

An Opening Word
I’m sure it’s meant to be this way. After the set of Psalms from chapter 49–61, it is so very relaxing and inviting to open the Psalms and encounter praise, hymn, rejoicing, good news. Those Psalms from the last few weeks seemed to be full of enemies, pain, suffering. The Psalmists could not find a way out. Then finally, Psalm 66 brings relief. The enemies of the Psalmist “quail,” cower, get cold feet. The “awesome” works of God make the Psalmist rejoice. Yes there was hardship, but finally God brought the people out “to great ease.” No wonder the Psalmist ends with praise and with a sharing: “let me recount.” They know in a new way, “God indeed has listened.”

Today’s mystic is Maria Faustina Kowalska who wrote “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” a diary published posthumously. From Poland she was born to poor and pious peasant parents, one of ten children, and was baptized in the Archdiocese of Cracow as a child. At an early age she was attentive to the practice of prayer and was sensitive: she sought mercy for anyone in harms way. At the age of seven she already showed interest in joining a religious order but was not allowed to join until she was twenty. She died of what was probably tuberculous at the age of 33, and in her suffering (as is often the case for people of faith with prolonged pain) she identified with Jesus on the cross, writing for example, in her diary a few months before her death “Today, I saw the suffering of the Lord Jesus. He leaned down toward me and whispered softly.” The prayer below could be used in any situation life brings your way, and I love the simplicity of her images for Jesus’ protection and peace.

Prayer from the Mystics: Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)
Jesus, Friend of a lonely heart,
You are my haven,
You are my peace.

You are my salvation,
You are my serenity
in moments of struggle
and amid oceans of doubt.

You are the bright ray
that lights up the path of my life.

You are everything to a lonely soul.
You understand the soul
even though it remains silent.

You know our weaknesses,
and like a good physician,
You comfort and heal,
sparing us sufferings—expert that You are.

August 10, 2021

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