Today it was the psalm that caught me unawares and has provided a rich seam of meditation throughout the day:
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Some have suggested that this is a grim time to be a Catholic. I have to say I disagree. The Church has done some very necessary spring cleaning and is proving to be no place where the deceitful, the manipulative and the abusive can hide. This is involving the Church bringing herself to her knees. This is painful but it is the pain of mortification and growing self-awareness, it will bare fruit.
We ARE being asked for tears of repentance and contrition BUT we are also being asked to sow, because there will be a harvest. Never has there been a better time to sow. A good hard winter and a late spring clear the ground of nasty bugs, life is pent up and waiting to spring into action, no matter how bleak and drab things may look.
The Holy Father's Letter to the Irish Faithful stresses the need for us all to do penance and to go back to the basics of our faith with renewed vigour, never was that psalm more appropriate.
Now, about that sowing:
The Pope speaks to the young in Ireland and in effect speaks to the young everywhere. Those of us who are not so young, must allow the idealism and enthusiasm of the young to germinate and set examples with solid faith well lived.
I'm reminded of St Aloysius. High born but from a very early age dedicating himself to the service of the Lord. Was he brought up in some secluded, sheltered and holy place far from any of the temptations of the world. He was not. Did he never hear swearing and lewd talk or see lewd behaviour? He was not so lucky. Was he able to devote himself ceaselessly to high and holy things? Probably not. The Oxford Oratory has a very interesting relic of his, a letter of St Aloysius, writing to one of his father's creditors trying to come to some agreement over the repayment of a loan. This is not overtly romantic, it is very human and very contemporary.
St Aloysius is like our young. They must desire to take on the Lord's work for themselves. We can not protect our youth from the world. We must however guide them to find the spiritual armour that St Paul talks about in his letter to the Ephesians that make our toil, tears, the sweat and pain bare fruit.
Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice,
And on your feet shod with the gospel of peace:
In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.
This is a real time for optimism.
Then again it is easy for me to say that. My doctor's are very worried about me, apparently I am very ill (I certainly feel it), but they are not quite sure what with. It is obscure and is involving professors and experts scratching their heads. Husband is still ill, and awaiting treatment, the delay is callous. I'm all out of strength, completely KO'd and not a natural optimist but God is with me and the light and hope are blinding.