The ammas understood that the book of Psalms, perhaps more than any other book of the Bible, carries our collective memory as people who have sought the presence of God in every circumstance. The psalms give voice to the full range of human emotion. Desire, rage, hope, vindictiveness, love, despair: nearly everything we are capable of, both exalted and base, is at play in their pages. The psalmists incorporate it all, with no visible fear of judgment for bringing their emotions into God’s presence. It reminds me of one of the desert fathers, Abba Poemen, who wisely counseled us, “Teach your mouth to say that which you have in your heart.” The psalmists did. A lot.
—Jan L. Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Reflection and Prayer (Upper Room Books, 2010)
What insights about human emotion do you gain from reading the Psalms?
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In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
—Psalm 77:2 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
We are waking, God.
We are waking,
and we pray
that we may know you
as manna in the desert,
wellsprings in the wilderness,
honey from the rock,
O God our habitation
and our way.
—Jan L. Richardson, “Prayer for the Morning,” In the Sanctuary of Women
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Aren’t sure if spiritual direction is for you? Sacred Conversation, the latest release from Upper Room Books, explains what spiritual direction is and what it isn’t. Author Marsha Crockett invites you to experience the possibility of transformation as you ponder the gifts offered by the grace of God with the help of a spiritual director. Learn more here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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