Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The earth is the Lord's...

Here is the opening verse of psalm 24 as found in an 18th century Anglican Book of Common Prayer:

The earth is the Lord's and all that therein is;
 the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein.

The compass of the world - the translator is featuring the world's round-ness. And here's this neat NASA picture of our round planet gently and so beautifully rotating morning into night, into morning again. I'm thinking while watching the earth turn: what an invitation to prayer! As they come into view, pray for the places you've perhaps visited or about which you know something. See what thoughts come to mind.

I see Florida and I know the LaLeche shrine is there - where couples pilgrim, asking for the gift of conceiving.

I ask the blessings of conversion over my own country where there is hatred, bigotry and violence. Contention in this political time.

I ask for the gift of rain where I know terribly destructive fires burn in the western states.

I see Mexico, the Guadalupe's home. Giving thanks for my visits to her shrine, I ask blessings for the beautiful Mexican people, and the healing of fears and hatred where I see the border between Mexico and the United States.

I see Central America, aware of its unrest and poverty. A terrible hurricane is sweeping across the Caribbean island-countries.

I see South America and Brazil with its threatened rain forests which give the planet so much of its oxygen. 

I see the great Pacific Ocean and ask for us to be wise in our treatment of the earth's waters and all they contain. That we would be healed of our greed and exploitation.

I see Japan through the clouds and ask that the world would put away all the bombs. No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis.

I see Australia - "down under" and pray that no one would be forgotten because they are out of sight.

I see Africa and remember discovering the wonder and beauty of this continent in 3rd grade when we were introduced to the encyclopedia. The difference between African and Asian elephants! Oh God, keep me in the mind of discovery!

I see Egypt where Coptic Christians suffer, and the Middle East so troubled with violence, and now the twisting-up of Islam in many places. Give us new hearts!

I see Israel of the Holy Land. If you will, Lord, that I would visit Bethlehem some day.

I see Europe and where Medjugorje is and recall my visit there at the end of the terrible and costly war. Heal that land; heal us of our preparations for more war. Forgive and convert those who make huge profits off of war.

I see where Lourdes is on the Pyrenees Mountain line between France and Spain. Prayers for pilgrims everywhere. We're all on a pilgrimage to goodness, conversion of heart, to eternal life.

I see Russia and my 1996 visit to Kizhi Island in the center of Lake Onega. Waking up and putting my head out the portal of the river ship and seeing the cluster of silvery-wooden, medieval churches. My boyhood dream come true.

And knowing that as the globe turns there are children being born and others who wake up to more bombs and hunger, fear and worries. Oh God, that they would all begin the new day in peace and safety, healthy and fed, with parental love in their lives and a happy school to attend. 


  1. I see Italy where people are still recovering from the terrible earthquake. A moment in the news for us, a lifetime of repair for them.

    1. Yes, and in today's news, an account of Pope Francis visiting Amatrice, which no longer exists after the recent earthquake. the survivors living in tent villages. And our news here, fussing about a reality TV "star" whose jewelry was stolen.

  2. As the earth spins around and around, you can see clearly how the continents once fit together nicely. A reminder that we should all live as one unit, the children of God.

  3. I see Mexico, and I recall my Spanish class trip when I was 16. We stayed in a gorgeous Acapulco hotel, but then, heartbroken, I saw the extreme poverty in the outlying areas. The poor Mexican children begging each time we got off the bus...I pray for the beautiful children of Mexico.

    I see Malaysia, and think of my over 30 year friendship with the Ling family. How, at first, I was shy and a little uncomfortable never knowing anyone from that country. But then soon after...falling in love with their faith, their laughter, and their stories over Chin Ai's amazing homemade Chinese meals. They taught me so much about Malaysia, but more importantly that we're all the same on the inside, really! May God keep reminding me of that, whenever I meet someone who speaks a different language, or looks differently than I do!

  4. I just love that you can see all the countries of the world come into view. We all walk on common ground, on this speck in the universe. Yes how much diversity there is. I see country after country with human beings, just like us, all deserving of God's love. I pray for more unity amongst men.

  5. Great post Father Stephen. I found myself looking at the different places and thinking about memories or things I know about them. Get your mind going in many directions.

  6. I would like to see more of this beautiful world and have my children travel it with us. There is such unrest all over and it seems unwise to leave the country. I think of all the good experiences and learning opportunities lost. As this earth spins before me I will think of more peaceful times for all of us.

  7. I understand: it's a dangerous world. But friends took a family trip to Italy this summer, aware that something dangerous could happen just going to a show in Manhattan. Or any place for that matter. Staying home is no guarantee of anything. But of course, all parents make these decisions for themselves, sensing what is best. God bless your family.

  8. I have a defined fear of confident, successful people, which is born of a bad combination of social anxiety and jealousy. But I try to remember that life is not perfect for any one of us on this planet. Everyone has trials and struggles. Looking at the earth is a reminder to me that we are but small beings on this big earth.

  9. From psalm 85, my favorite verse of peace:

    The Lord is God, the mighty God,
    the great king over all the gods.
    He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
    and the highest mountains as well
    He made the sea; it belongs to him,
    the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

  10. This will be a memorable post for sure. The power of God is so vivid here. I also see God using man to build these magnificent bridges that span across the waters enabling so many good things to come together. The scenery is awesome when you are at the top. God is so good to us.

  11. Notice too, there are no dividing lines from God's view - no border crossings, no check-points, no your-side/our-side.