December 13, 2021
by Nancy Shirley
Creighton University's College of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 187

Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17a
Psalm 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9
Matthew 21:23-27

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Reconciliation and Healing

The responsorial psalm for today immediately got my attention as I first reviewed the readings. Such a simple request: Teach me your ways, O Lord.  Yet, in many aspects this simple request becomes the mantra for a life that is dedicated to living as we were intended.

As a cradle Catholic and educated with the Baltimore Catechism, my prayers growing up were the “usual” using the printed words.  As I grew up, I gradually felt comfortable to add my needs and concerns to these printed words and to embellish with what was on my heart. I’m sure that changes brought forth by the Second Ecumenical Council encouraged this perspective for me.  I was hearing so much more in the language I understand.  And . . . I wanted to read/hear more. My heart was open to ask (certainly not this eloquently):

Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
    teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my savior

It seems that we are constantly bombarded with things, events, and, even, people that detour us from that path that is the Truth and the Way. It is so easy to follow the road that leads to the material aspects of life and forget the most important “things” (that usually are not things at all) along the way. 

I was curious about St. Lucy since the early martyrs always seemed to follow the “right path.” She clearly was not inclined to take the path of most young women of her time.  Rather than be married and, as a wealthy daughter, provide a sizable dowery to her new husband, she convinced her mother to donate those funds to the poor.  Needless to say it was not well received by her betrothed and the persecution began.  How does anyone find that courage to do the “right thing” no matter what the consequences?  Where does that inner strength live in each us and how do we harness it? Our psalm conveys the answer if we are willing to open our hearts and trust.

Good and upright is the LORD;
    thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
    he teaches the humble his way.

This past week, I found myself needing to have a challenging discussion. I felt it was “the right thing” to do, however difficult it may be. I always pray to my guardian angel to fortify me in these situations.  However, I had reinforcements this time – one of my friends who knew this was going to happen gave me an early Christmas present, a bracelet with the inscription: God is in her. She will not fall. It was all I could do to not tear up (as I am as I write this).  I immediately put it on!  The card that came with it was all I needed – then and in any situation I will face:

Wear this band as your reminder that you are never alone.
Let these words reassure you and echo in your soul that God is always with you.
His love will fill your heart.  If you leap, He will catch you.  

With God at your side, you will not fall. You are supported and protected in all that you do.

Of course, a song for your continued reflection:
Less like meZach Williams   

*** By the way, the discussion went amazingly well.  Better than I could have expected!!  God Wink - AGAIN!! ***

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