Order of Friars Minor Franciscans of Canada

I Love You, O Lord, My Strength

I Love You, O Lord, My Strength

Have you ever been interviewed before?

It’s an interesting experience. It calls you to be reflective of your life and actions in very real way having to answer for actions and thoughts shared beyond a journal or the privacy of one’s home. It allows your life to been seen through another’s eyes. I was interviewed today along with my Brother Michael, by a student in a creative writing class at a local university. Our interviewer (a man the same age as us) asked us good questions from all aspects of our life and was one of the most attentive people I have ever met. He probed not only heart questions, but the Franciscan way of life, our formation, our day to day living, how we live out the call to evangelize and even his clarification questions led us into deeper discussion.

Our interviewer asked questions about reflections I have written on this blog. To have someone in real life ask you questions about what you write in reflection is a whole new experience. It is different than a teacher commenting on a paper, or a letter from a friend. For me there was a greater sense of awareness of what my simple words can do or say in the big world. There was also accountability as in do I truly believe what I write and how do I put into action/live it out. Do my words match my actions? I sure hope so, for what I write on this blog comes from my heart and my lived experience as a Christian and a Franciscan. What you read and what you see is what you get I try to be as authentic here as I am in real life.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have sat down in an interview. I think I’m still processing the whole experience of bearing a bit more of my soul, but also the gift of putting more framework around what I write here. This blog is an extension of my prayer and contemplation. As my Brother Michael shared today “contemplation is more than meditation it is wonder and awe.”  That is a perfect description of what is my prayer life that feeds and fuels this written journey. It truly is wonder and awe (a beautiful gift of the Holy Spirit) that pulls me in and out of prayer. It is in my stepping aside to pray and contemplate and write that I am filled with this gift of wonder and awe and the desire to share it and live it out as a follower of Christ. Prayer is never about turning in on myself. Yes, I step away from the world and spend time with my Source when I pray, however prayer always thrusts me back into the world saying:  “live it, breath it, be aware of God in your life and the lives of people around you and continually discover the gifts of wonder and awe that is yours and for all people.”  To prayer and from prayer… I live my life trying to be a vessel of the Gospel in my words and in my living. 

Thank you S. our interviewer, for this opportunity and for the gift to reflect, to ponder, to be reminded of wonder and awe and the gift of writing.

Which leads me to my reflection for this week, Psalm 18 is a psalm that indeed filled me with wonder and awe.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.

My strength, my freedom, my deliverer, my refuge, my salvation, my stronghold.

It seems this psalmist knows my story and knows my prayers.

God is my all and my source and in this I find strength, shelter, freedom, comfort, hope and love. In turn I am in a covenant with God, this sacred relationship calls me to love God and love my neighbour. As the words, “I love you, O Lord, my strength” cross my lips in professing the golden rule of loving God with all my heart and soul and mind; then it should be the anthem that leads me to loving my neighbour as myself. To be able to say: “I love you my neighbour, my friend, my family, my sister, my brother, the persons I encounter, the strangers I meet, those whose lives are so different then my own, those who challenge me, those both near and far… declares  “I love you for you belong to God.”

The golden rule of loving God and loving neighbour calls me into right relationship with God, humanity and all creation. How well do I love? Do I share love in return? Do I share love when it is difficult? Do I share love when it is not shared with me? It is not always easy. It is only by proclaiming and living out that God is my strength, refuge and stronghold that love becomes the concrete steps I take to build the kingdom, to be in right relationship, to be Christ in the world and trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding my ways.

 

I Love You, O Lord, My Strength.

 

Be praised O God for your endless love,

which calls me to everlasting life,

which wraps me in the covenant of witness,

which challenges me to be a true witness.

 

For you save me from my own ways,

you hear my voice in prayer and praise,

you reach out to me in love

for your love is my refuge.

 

Blessed may you be O Lord,

who shows me what love truly is,

whose steadfast love is endless,

you who triumph with life over death.

 

You are my rock and shelter,

you send me forth and call me home,

you are wonder and awe,

you imprint on my heart life and love.

 

Be praised my God for you are good,

and in your goodness you see my goodness,

I am called to love you and neighbour

and I can do so only because you are my strength.

 

I love you, O Lord, my life.

I love you, O Lord, my way.

I love you, O Lord, my truth.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.