This week I have continued to work my way through the Psalms, progressing from Psalm 122, which held some personal meaning for me, to Psalm 126, which also held some personal meaning for me. Especially meaning was Verse 5 of this psalm, which reads: "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy." What a wonderful promise! When we are sowing in tears, joy is pretty far from our minds, yet how often do those tears ultimately turn to joy? Maybe not immediately and maybe not very soon at all, but over time things often change. More important, while in this life we may end up stockpiling the harvest of those tears, we know that we are promised that the harvest of the next life will be abundant joy.
Reading: Psalm 126
Meditation: The words in verse 5 brought back a memory that is three decades old. Back in my college days, I was invited by a professor of English who liked my writing to take a highly popular senior-level poetry writing course that would not otherwise be open to freshmen, if not because of prerequisites then because it was always oversubscribed. Nonetheless, my freshman composition teacher got me into it, and then I had the audacity to approach the professor and ask him to make an exception for another freshman, Al, a good friend of mine from Saudi Arabia whose poetry had been published in France (which he wrote in good French), Saudia Arabia (which he wrote in his native Arabic), and in the USA (in which he wrote in good English, more sophisticated and sensitive than most native speakers of English I knew were capable of writing). The professor agreed, and Al and I became partners, the two "babies" in the class, spending most of that semester together on the roof of my dormitory, writing poetry. (For those who might be wondering, I did not know my husband, Donnie, at that time.)
While my poetry was passable enough to get a good grade, Al's was brilliant. The one image that has never left my head after all these decades is his description of a woman in Vietnam (at the time, the US was deeply involved in that country, in the war that was called a conflict). In his poem, which he called "Lon Nui" (the name he gave to the woman), the woman, who had lost many friends and family members, as well as livelihood, to the war, was, in Al's words, "creeping about the fields gathering satchels of weeping."
Those "satchels of weeping" have come to mind upon occasion when some sad circumstance has evoked the memory of Al's poignant description. Now, having read Psalm 126, I see more than the woman creeping about the fields, I see her handing them over to God and God opening them to release rainbows of joy.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer, repenting for all those times I thought that the satchels of weeping were the harvest, not thinking that God's harvest would never be one of weeping, to thank God for the rainbows of joy that we can always ultimately expect, to praise God for caring always about what not only goes into our satchels but also what comes out of them, and to ask Him to help me remember that, regardless of what happens in my life, joy is what God wants for me. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.