Reading 1 Prv 21:1-6, 10-13
wherever it pleases him, he directs it.
All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes,
but it is the LORD who proves hearts.
To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart–
the tillage of the wicked is sin.
The plans of the diligent are sure of profit,
but all rash haste leads certainly to poverty.
Whoever makes a fortune by a lying tongue
is chasing a bubble over deadly snares.
The soul of the wicked man desires evil;
his neighbor finds no pity in his eyes.
When the arrogant man is punished, the simple are the wiser;
when the wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
The just man appraises the house of the wicked:
there is one who brings down the wicked to ruin.
He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself also call and not be heard.
will himself also call and not be heard.”
We know the old refrain that once our consciousness is raised to a new level it is hard to lower it again. This is the reality of both our prayer and our service. Once we feel the tenderness of God’s mercy, then we see mercy in every relationship and act in our world.
This painting is meant to show the self that comes to life as we listen to God and listen to our neighbor. We are not fully developed people of prayer and action. There is always more to become. We rest in the assurance that God has more in store for us. When we open our ears and eyes, the beauty of God’s call becomes the action that the Holy Spirit wants of us. We emerge from darkness, sin and division, hatred and violence, to the beauty and light, hope and wonder of our relationship with God challenging us to live in the world.
Our prayer is not just for ourselves, our own benefit or our own salvation. Our prayer is meant to change our hearts to make them more of a home for God’s love and tenderness. This tenderness rests in God’s hands and is the source and fruit of our service to other people.
Our prayer and service are never separate realities. We cannot lower our awareness to make them separate, apart from love of God and others.