This morning I’m playing “catch-up” because yesterday I was participating in an overnight retreat where the internet was not available to me. What I would have chosen we actually did discuss and I find it a suitable introductory prayer for today – as perhaps any day. The gospel acclamation for yesterday pleaded, “Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.”
Today I am drawn again to the direct address of the psalmist. Punctuated by the refrain: Teach me your ways, O Lord, Psalm 25 has an interesting nuance in its reasoning and instruction to God. Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord. (vs. 6-7) As if God needed help to remember or encouragement to teach, the psalmist seems to cajole by mentioning some of God’s significant virtues. My interest lies in the last phrase. The psalmist does not ask anything because of any goodness in humanity but because of the goodness of God. I might ask for a remembrance from God by listing all the good things I have tried to do. (It’s sometimes hard to remember we don’t have to “earn” everything.) But, when prompted, I know that the God I trust cannot wait to shower us with love, kindness, compassion…simply because God is love, kindness, compassion, goodness. It is God’s very being that is at play here, a fact that the psalmist seems to know well. Today, then, as I try to live God’s ways I will open my heart to that goodness, knowing that God is cheering me on to an understanding that it’s not about success but rather about a receptivity that will take me all the way home.