Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sunny Day 1876

Someone lives in this house; there are chickens in the yard. Imagining relief from the complexities of our own lives, we sometimes romanticize scenes like this. But this house wouldn't have been insulated, you could die from the flu, the food was rough, you wouldn't know how to read or write, the infant mortality rate was high.

Still, Levitan is right, it is a Sunny Day, and that would have mattered a great deal to the strugglers who live here. Struggle is proper to each person, in every place and every time. We hear of people who have the world at their feet who suffer terrible inner pain. We could all do with a sunny day at one time or another. Indeed, doesn't the world need a sunny day? Now we can pray.

In the darkness of lies,
the shadows cast by power,
people hiding in fear,
O God,
we need a sunny day.

In the death-decisions,
the weaponization of hearts,
in the false reports
concealing what really happened,
O God, 
we need a sunny day.

Where desperate people aren't helped,
in the obstruction and delay,
where religion is perverted,
O God,
we need a sunny day.

In the deflecting and defending,
in the threats and extinctions,
in the ramping up and swagger
the big talk and the vanity,
O God,
we need a sunny day. 

In the heaping up of secrets
the resource-rape and greed,
the national pain-killer addiction,
the neglect of children,
O God,
we need a sunny day. 

So instead of just lamenting the news of the day, we can turn it into prayer. We need to read the psalms more than we do. The folks who put the Mass-lectionary together excised all the psalm laments (infidelity, lies, being away from Jerusalem, sickness) leaving us with only the cheery bits. That's unrealistic. Every time the psalmist sounds depressed for all the oppression and suffering the world can dish up, the last verse or two ends with a bright and confident turning to God who secures us in love. It's a good model for our own prayer.

We might add our own verse or two, reflective of what you know or experience personally. But let us  end brightly: O God, we need a sunny day.


  1. There does seem to be a lot of confusion in our world today, even our church but you are right about the power of prayer. For this I am grateful to the church for bringing its message of prayer, the mass, confession, novenas, the rosary, Holy Hour, retreats, visits to the sick. I am grateful for the little chapels that are available for sneak in visits. I know this is not available everywhere for some in our world but I can use the power of prayer which the church encourages for the less fortunate.

  2. I think it is important to remember that everyone suffers their own way. Even the happiest person we know has their own personal struggles.