Franciscan Spirit Blog

Seven Days with the Psalms: When the Branches Catch It All

On my cell phone, I keep my “to do” list of all the things I need to keep track of to keep my life running smoothly, and I check it, add to it, or delete things dozens of times a day. I also keep affirmations to read during the busy days, as a way of “ordering my steps in thy word.”

I don’t know where this came from, but every time I put something on the list or cross it off, I read, “Gentleness of Christ within. God seeking me instead of me seeking God.” I must have read this hundreds of times, alongside that other favorite quote from John O’Donohue, “May you take the time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.” Now, combined with the psalms, it seems there are more tender things in this world. Were they always here? If so, where was I?

I’ve noticed that when I read the psalms in the morning now, when I hear that soft sound of the pages turning, so tissue-thin, that it’s not just my fingertips, but even tinier—my fingerprints can flip them.

Gentle: as in, dove-like.

I’m curious, how do all the words fit together? When I wake up, I begin my day by pulling back the curtains and thinking my favorite line, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad” (Ps 118:24). I have this day now.

The snow fell last night when I was dreaming, just enough, airy enough, to cling to the trees on top, not fall beneath them, only land in a scallop beyond the wide arms of the branches. There’s no white underneath, just the copper of the dead needles. I want a God like the softest of snowfalls when the branches can catch it all. A God as tiny as the letter “e” at the end of a word, turning “breath” to “breathe.”

Wisdom from the Psalms

The psalms are somehow able to cover the wide stretch of human experience and emotions, from deepest inner heartache to airborne joy. And yet they also remind us, no matter where we are in our lives, all we have is now, and it’s wonderful. Today, see if you can let go and appreciate that truth.

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad” (Ps 118:24).

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