Dear Friends,

At this time of year when the Church asks us to pray for immigrants and refugees in a focused way, welcoming them and sharing our resources with them, we hear the presidential candidates talk about “self-deportation.”

The thinking is that if only those who are here illegally would go back to their own countries (self-deportation) it would save legal processes and fees of officially deporting them and end America’s unemployment problems and solve other social ills. The Church’s message is countercultural: it would be good if the bishops took the lead and spoke out about this. It prompts me to ask why do we so much fear the other, fear people who are different from us? We are called to share what we have with those who have less—that adds another meaning to the way we deport ourselves.

Enter Gertrude the Great, a philosopher-theologian-mystic born in 1256 who lived in a Benedictine monastery. In the midst of very rational readings offered for this Sunday’s Liturgy, we have chosen Gertrude’s poetic hymn of thanksgiving for our second reading. Women have been channeling God’s revelation to us for centuries; here is a wonderful example.

Excerpt from Hymn of Thanksgiving; Spiritual Exercises, Gertrude the Great

“May my soul bless You, O God, my Creator! May my soul bless You from my very marrow.
I’ll shout Your mercies and extravagant, embracing love! Thank You for Your great mercy.
Humbly I praise and adore Your amazing excellence and mercy and goodness, Father of Mercies.
Even when I was leading my unproductive, peaceless life, you were thinking thoughts of peace toward me and not of pain.
You were lifting me up with Your countless generous gifts, as though I were better than any other mortal,
and my life on earth were one of angelic innocence.
What am I, my God, love of my heart? I’m not like You.
I’m just a tiny drop of Your goodness while You’re an ocean of gentleness.
Love, open on me—for I am very tiny—the viscera of Your love and kindness.
Pour on me the cataracts of Your gracious fatherly nurturing. Break over me fountains of unlimited mercy.
Absorb me in the depths of Your love. Drown me in the flood of Your living love, like a drop loses itself in the ocean’s fullness. Let me die in the tsunami of your immense compassion, as a little spark of fire fizzles in the stream’s surging current.
Let the raindrops of Your kind love make me cling to You."

Come and join us as we journey together supporting each other as we continue to reveal God’s loving presence in our little corner of the world today.

Ron & Jean