Friday, August 6, 2021(Day 62)

Katie Snipes Lancaster

Psalm 62 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation)
Only in God is my being quiet.
From God is my rescue.
Only God is my rock and my rescue,
my stronghold—I shall not stumble…
Only in God be quiet, my being,
for from God is my hope.
Only God is my rock and my rescue,
my fortress—I shall not stumble.
From God is my rescue and glory,
my strength’s rock and my shelter.
Trust in God at all times, O people.
Pour out your hearts before God.
God is our shelter.

An Opening Word
Psalm 62 is full of help and rescue. It is confident in the presence of God. Its circular repetition offers over and over these themes of strength and shelter. It is a welcome reprieve after a dozen Psalms seemed to name the horrors of human life instead of the virtues of God. We know what is hard. Just open up a newspaper. What we need (what I need) from the Psalms is reassurance that God is trustworthy, the one who will shelter and save.

Today’s mystic Gemma Galgani was born to a wealthy family. Her father was a chemist. She was sent to private boarding school as a toddler, not just because she expressed academic aptitude at an early age, but because her mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis and needed the children to be out of the house, safe and cared for. Gemma was close with her mother who taught her to pray and was devastated when her mother had succumb to an illness when Gemma was just eight years old.

Gemma herself suffered spinal meningitis at age 16 in an era where medical treatment, at best included ether and chloroform as pain relief. She however refused any palliative care and felt the pain of her illness intensely. After nearing death she was delivered back to life and dedicated her life to God. She suffered mentally and physically but her deep abiding trust in God sustained her.

Prayer from the Mystics: Gemma Galgani (1878–1903)
When I place myself to meditate, I use no effort.
My soul immediately feels itself absorbed,
in the immense greatness of God…
in a moment, it seems that my soul flies away to God,
loses the weight of the body, and finding myself in the presence of Jesus,
I lose myself totally in Christ… a divine light and a sun of eternal brightness.

May we meditate with ease, like Gemma, on the immense greatness of God. Amen.