Below you will find reflections and prayers for every day this Seventh Week of Easter. This week we will reflect on the Responsorial Psalm for Sunday and draw out from it some thoughts and suggestions for reflection and prayer for each day. If you are picking this up after Sunday, you may like to read Sundays reflection first.

Sunday / Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday

Sunday

Making or listening to music is a great way of expressing how we feel. We all know that some songs or pieces of music can express our joy or our sadness. Some of the music that is special to us is also associated with particular places or people. You might like to think about your favourite pieces of music and what associations they have for you; which ones remind you of happy times and which of sad moments. The psalms are poetry and many of them were undoubtedly sung by the people of Israel. They had been handed down over the centuries and were the treasured “hymn/prayer book” of Israel. Jesus would undoubtedly have known them well and probably knew many, if not all of them, by heart.

Like all poetry, the psalms are less about what things are like than how things feel. So, we have psalms of thanksgiving, of trust, of sorrow, of joy. Some were used by everyone at special moments (rather like the songs we use at moments of national importance such as a coronation or state funeral) and some were used by individuals. In addition, like poetry today, some were very old and some more recent.

What we have this week in the Missal is part of a much longer psalm. (Psalm 27). The part we are using is a prayer of three things, longing, trust and hope. Let’s take it bit by bit. We will use the response as our prayer for the week. So, let’s start with that:

“I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living”

There are three important messages for us in this one line.

  1. The psalmist says, “I am sure I shall see”, not “perhaps I might see” or “I think I might see”. There is an element of certainty here. I am certain, sure, convinced that I shall see the Lord’s goodness.
  2. And what I see is good. We see the goodness of the Lord all around us, perhaps especially at this time we see the goodness of God in the acts of kindness with which we are surrounded.
  3. Thirdly, we see this goodness in the here and now (the land of the living) not in the afterlife. We can see it today in the circumstances in which we are, however limited they may be at the moment.

Pray: Reflect on the goodness of God around you and pray for those who come to mind. (Take you time over this).

Pray: for all those who find it hard to see anything good around them, for those who are depressed or who are finding the isolation caused by the pandemic difficult to bear.

Prayer for the week
You might like to try and memorize the response to the psalm and use it throughout the day each day this week:

“I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living”

Monday
“The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?”

Two thoughts:

  1. In the Bible, the very first words God speaks are “Let there be light”. Light is a symbol of so much in our inner world. It is about seeing with clarity, being guided and walking with certainty, among so many other things.
  2. It is being in the light that helps us to say “whom shall I fear”. What is there to be afraid of if I walk in the light of God?

Ponder and pray: You might like to light a candle and sit with it for a while. What does the word light mean to you?  What are you afraid of? Don’t be fearful about talking to the Lord about this. (take your time)

Pray:   for all who are afraid at this time.
Pray:   for all scientists that the Spirit will grant them light to discover new ways to combat the virus.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

Tuesday
“The 
Lord is the stronghold of my life, before whom shall I shrink?”

Yesterday the psalmist talked about the Lord as “my light and help”. Today it is as “the stronghold of my life”.

  1. The word for “stronghold” also means a place of security and a place of retreat. So, it is in God that we discover a sense of security for life. God is also the one to whom I can “retreat”.
  2. When everything falls apart the Lord is the one security who can be relied on. Therefore, before whom, or what, shall I shrink? God wants to work in us to help us grow, so we are not to fear anything that wants to diminish (or shrink) our inner life with the Lord.

Ponder and Pray: how do you experience the Lord as your stronghold? Use the picture if it helps. (take your time over this) Thank God for his care of you.
Pray: for all care and keyworkers that they may be given the security and strength they need.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

Wednesday
“There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long,”

  1. What one thing do you ask of the Lord? This is not about us being allowed to ask for only one thing; it is about what, in our heart of hearts, is the one thing we truly desire above all else. This question is central to our spirituality. What is it that we most deeply want?
  2. The psalmist talks about longing. What do you long for at the moment? Most of us are probably longing to meet up with families and friends, to be able to hug those we love and from whom we’ve been separated and for life to get back to some sort of new “normal”. But deep down in us we also have a longing which we sometimes find difficult to put into words.

Ponder and Pray: What is the deepest, most central desire of your inner life? Speak to the Lord about this. (take your time over this)

Pray: for family and friends, especially for those separated from us at this time.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

Thursday
“to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to savour the sweetness of the Lord, to behold his temple”

  1. To live in the house of the Lord refers to the Temple in Jerusalem which the psalmist will have known. But for us it can also mean to live in the presence of God, to be where God is. And, of course, that presence isn’t found only in church. We can experience the closeness of the presence of God who is with us everywhere and at all times.
  2. If we can be conscious of the presence of God (to be in his house) wherever we are, we will also be able to savour the sweetness of the Lord. In other words, knowing we are in God’s presence gives sweetness and flavour to our lives.

Ponder and Pray: How does your faith give sweetness to your life? Thank God for the gifts given. (take your time over this)

Pray: for all those whose creative work gives sweetness to life, for all artists, writers, musicians and actors.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

Friday
“O Lord hear my voice when I call; have mercy and answer.”

1. The psalmist now requests that God will hear the prayer that is made. It’s a phrase that occurs often in the psalms. Our faith tells us that God always hears our prayers but sometimes we may feel he doesn’t so this prayer requesting that he hears our cry and answers can become ours too.
2. The prayer is that God will answer but it is also that God will have mercy. The word in Hebrew for mercy is linked very strongly to the word for womb, in fact, they have the same root. So, for God to have mercy is for God to be “motherly” to have compassion as a mother does for her child. It is, therefore, a very intimate word. When God has mercy, it has this element of intimacy within it. Do you think of mercy in this way?
Pray: Look at the picture. What does it say to you about God’s attitude to us? Pray with it:

Pray: for those who feel burdened by guilt
Pray: for those who find it hard to pray at this time.

You may like to say the prayer for the week

Saturday
Of you my heart has spoken; ‘Seek his face’.”

  1. St John Henry Newman’s motto was “Heart speaks to heart”. In a way this is what the spiritual life is all about, our heart speaking to God’s heart and God’s heart speaking to ours. What does our heart say?…
  2. …“Seek his face”. This is a prayer to be able to do what Moses and the prophets could never do, to see the face of God; something so holy that it was believed that no one could do so and live. Yet we do see the face of God in Jesus. His coming made God visible for us and we, who have never seen the Lord with our physical eyes, can see him as heart speaks to heart.

Ponder and Pray: How do you “image” God? If it helps, ask yourself what colour God is for you? (take your time over this) With this image in mind, say the whole psalm together with the response at the start:

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
 
The Lord is my light and my help;
  whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
  before whom shall I shrink?
 
There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
  for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
  all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
  to behold his temple.
 
O Lord, hear my voice when I call;
  have mercy and answer.
Of you my heart has spoken:
  ‘Seek his face.’
 
7th Sunday of Easter
Tagged on: