15th June

Yesterday I returned from Kerry to Donegal after attending my cousin Neilie’s funeral. The first photo is a shot of the Bonane valley from the ‘Big Tunnel’ which I took on an earlier trip. My home is tucked away behind the hillside to the left of center. My home itself is the second photo.

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As I was sitting it out on yesterday’s bus ride I found myself pondering the opening lines of the Concluding Prayer for the Divine Office which also serves as the Opening Prayer for Mass.

Lord God, strength of those who hope in you,
  support us in our prayer:
because we are weak and can do nothing without you,
  give us always the help of your grace
  so that, in fulfilling your commandments,
  we may please you in all we desire and do.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.
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What caught my attention was that our strength comes from hoping in God! This is followed by the realisation that we are in absolute need God’s help if we are to live lives pleasing to him and be faithful to his commandments.
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Today’s Psalm 70/71 from Midday Prayer is a reflection on hoping in God.
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In you, Lord, I have placed my hope:
  I shall never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, free me and rescue me;
  turn your ear to my pleas and save me.
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Be my rock, Lord, be my refuge,
  a stronghold where I can be safe.
For you are my strength
  and you are my refuge.
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My God, rescue me from the hands of the wicked,
  from the power of the unjust, the law-breakers.
For you, O Lord, are my hope;
  Lord, my hope from my youth.
From birth I have leant on you,
  from my mother’s womb you have been my support:
  I praise you unceasingly.
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Many people look at me in wonder,
  but you are my strength and my helper.
May my mouth be full of your praises,
  with your greatness all the day long.
Do not throw me out now I am old;
  now I am weak, do not abandon me.

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God, do not distance yourself:
  my God, hurry to my help.

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But I will always have hope.
  I will heap praise upon praise of you.
My mouth will proclaim your righteousness,
  your saving power all the day long,
  and your mercies, impossible to count.
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I will turn to the power of the Lord
  and recall only your righteousness.
God, from my youth you have taught me;
  I am still proclaiming your marvels.
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O God, do not abandon me,
  now I have come to be old,
before I have proclaimed the strength of your arm
  to every generation that is to come.
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Your power, O God, and your righteousness
  rise to the heights.
You have done great things,
  for who, O God, is like you?
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How many tribulations you have given me!
  How many, and how severe!
But you have brought me to life again,
  led me back up from the abyss.
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You will lift me on high once again.
  You will turn and console me.
I in my turn will proclaim you, my God:
  on the lyre I will sing of your faithfulness,
  on the harp I will praise you, O Holy One of Israel.
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My lips will rejoice as I sing;
  my soul will rejoice, for you have saved it.
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