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A strange thing happened just now as I went to the USCCB website for the lectionary readings of the day (always my first stop upon arising). When I clicked on the calendar, an empty space appeared. Thinking it was my recalcitrant phone, I did the same with my computer. Same result: empty page. I clicked on February 4th and 6th and both showed the readings of the day but today was empty. I’m supposing it was some kind of a glitch at the Bishops’ office but decided to treat it as “reader’s choice.”

I opened my trusty Ancient Songs Sung Anew – not exactly at random. Today I am participating in an event at the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Schenectady, NY, a place where I spent several graced weekends leading retreats some years ago. One of my favorites was based on Psalm 46. As I opened to it this morning, I was not disappointed to find the title, God’s Presence in a World Torn Apart. Here are some of the hopeful lines.

God is for us a place of refuge and a mighty strength always present to us in our time of need…Though storms may blow and the seas themselves begin to foam, and the foundations of the world are shaken to their core…like a stronghold to our ancestors, our God is with us now…And like the light of morning, God’s presence breaks as dawn, and nothing is ever shaken there or broken down…Be silent, then, and in the stillness know the transcendence of our God. Know too the immanence of the One present in each being…Like a stronghold to our ancestors, our God is with us now. (p. 115)

I will hope to remember these words as I watch the State of the Union address this evening.