As the Deer Longs

Before living in Texas I don’t think I truly understood what it meant to long for rain. I know there are climates much drier than Southwest Texas. However, growing up in the Midwest inclines one to take rain for granted. We may have had dry spells, but nothing like the oppressive and unrelenting heat of a Texas summer. A summer which, for those unfamiliar, can start as early as April and last well into October. The ground is so dry the wind can blow dust into a haze which is capable of blocking the sun. The grass crunches like potato chips underfoot.

Drooping basil in our front yard

Just a few days ago when a tropical storm hit Houston, a stray cloud still carrying water manages to open up over our house. My children were delighted. They threw on their rain boots and hurried to find puddles of any size before they evaporated back into the hot air. As I stood in the brief sun shower, a Psalm refrain came to mind

“As the deer longs for running streams, so my soul longs for you O Lord”

Psalm 42:1

Standing in the rain, after months without it, it felt as if my soul was pierced with understanding. I felt relief, joy, wonder and a desire to raise my hands and face to welcome the water. I laughed at myself, because how many movies have we seen where a character has done just this when a long awaited rain finally comes. But genuinely, this seems to be the most appropriate action. The thing I didn’t realize I was waiting for, longing for, had finally come.

As the deer longs – what am I longing for? For rain, obvious. But what else? What is my soul thirsting for, and what am I using to quench my thirst? As human beings made of mostly water, we can only survive 3-4 days without it. Water is a critical element to our existence and to the existence of all creatures. It’s not surprising then that the Psalmist chooses to use this image of water when describing how our souls yearn for God.

If you are feeling run down, tired, perhaps stressed out, take a few minutes to ponder this verse. Perhaps even repeat the first part a few times as you identify with your own thirsts. As the deer longs for running streams….so my soul longs for you O God. Then, let those thirsts go, recognizing that only God can truly satisfy all your wants and needs. You might also take this refrain to adoration, or perhaps use it to focus the few minutes before the start of Mass. No matter where you are in life, this simple verse can help calm your thoughts and focus the moment on He who matters most.

Even the smallest puddles nourish the soul

Catholicmom.com May Post – Live the Good

If I were ever going to get a tattoo, it would be a toss up between St. Julian of Norwich’s “All will be well” or St. Julie Billiart’s “Live the Good.” Probably one of those script ones, either on the inside of my wrist or along the top of my foot or something. I feel like either of these two phrases would stand the test of time and would have something to say to me for years to come. However, I am also a chicken, so it also probably won’t be happening anytime soon! I have known about St. Julie for a while, having studied some of her writings in school. Only recently have I heard about St. Julie, her Order, and her story.

– Continue reading at Catholicmom.com

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

December 18, 2016 – Lord and Ruler

O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!

A longer version of this antiphon is as follows:

O Lord and Ruler of the house of Israel, You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave him Your Law. Come, and with an outstretched arm redeem us.

This antiphon seeks to strongly and undisputably connect Jesus with God’s action in the Old Testament. Jesus is clearly the Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel – He is the head of the family. This means it is right and proper to say that Jesus appeared to Moses in the burning bush and on Mt. Sinai when Moses received the 10 Commandments.

I would like to hone in on the call for “an outstretched arm.” This is a very specific Old Testament phrase and is most often linked with the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt.

  • Therefore, say to the Israelites: I am the LORD. I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery. I will redeem you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment (Exodus 6:6).
  • Then the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders, and brought us to this place, and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey (Deuteronomy 26:8).

This antiphon emphasizes that Jesus, who in a specific time in history becomes the Paschal Lamb (through the gift of His Body and Blood as instituted at the Last Supper/Passover), not only participated but orchestrated the original Passover. Jesus was active in the Old Testament just as much as He is present in the New Testament.

This is incredible news for us. It reassures us and inspires us to hold fast to not just the promises of the Old Testament but also the promises Jesus makes in the New Testament. Some of the promises of Jesus comfort us – “Amen I say to you today you shall be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43 – said to the Good Thief who repents of his sins). Others are meant to challenge us to commit ourselves more fully to the Gospel – “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil falsely against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven (Matthew 5:10-12a).

We can trust in Jesus. He has a good track record.

*** Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook pageDaily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com