“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.” Ps 64:69
Sometimes the psalms startle and stop us. Because they are prayer songs which we often recite by rote like a litany or the rosary, we can forget that they contain countless images that help us understand God, our faith and ourselves better. When Psalm 64 reminds us that God sees us in our lowliness and hears our confusion and upset, the scripture helps us remember that God draws closer to us when we are suffering. It is not that God will take away our pain. Rather, God will walk, stand or sit with us as we endure and eventually embrace the trials that come to all in life.
A friar friend, Tom Murphy, who died a couple of weeks ago, was a shining example of this. Tom spent the majority of ministerial life as a hospital chaplain. Not one to wait to be called to the bed of a sick person, Tom walked the halls of the hospitals and nursing home where he served. Seeking out those who were struggling the most, he would sit, listen, offer a word of consolation and pray with them. Because Tom was bilingual, he was able to attend to the large Latino population with a special tenderness.
Tom did all this while enduring his own demons which not only did not deter him from walking with the sick, they made him more compassionate. Tom, and so many others like him, remind us that God will not only not abandon us in our confusion, God will will seek us out and assure us we are not alone.
Today, seek out someone who is sick and listen.
Who or what most helps you when you are wrestling with life?