Prayer comes in three basic forms: oral, meditative, and contemplative. The Lectionary begins with oral prayer, a one-way conversation between the Faithful and God. In human relations, one-way conversations are unacceptable exercises in power. Peasants did not invent language to speak to the king, but the king had language invented to tell the peasants what to do. A loving relationship among and between anyone, however, must be in more than one direction. Prayer needs to get beyond the Lectionary.
In prayer, the relationship with God is in more than one direction. Through the gift of language, God enables the Faithful to enter into a dialogic relationship with him. The acrostic Psalms deliberately celebrate that gift of language. Logic is the intellectual tool used in Western Civilization to draw closer to God. In a loving relationship, language enables the lovers to share and to unravel their experiences of life. Sharing and unraveling day-to-day issues with God offers peace, contentment, and joy. Simply “reporting” what has happened in an examination of conscience is too limiting.
Contemplative prayer gets beyond the need to dialogue. In human terms, contemplation consists in soul coasting in a comfortable silence with the beloved, because there is nothing to say. The mind is at peace. These Personal Notes intend to frame topics of meditation and contemplation.
This week, the Lectionary begins with the Book
of Wisdom offering individual insightful prayer. The first words, Wisdom 7:7, the Lectionary
uses are, “I prayed.” The focus on
individuals, “I prayed,” caused
Despite its egocentric focus, Wisdom involves prudence
and insight, but not necessarily material wealth. Just the same, if
Psalm 90 is a lamentation prayer, reflecting on how
short life is. Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to
number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” The Church uses Psalm 90 in its care for the
Racism is a form of sickness. While one suffering from racial prejudice can
hope for an exodus from that situation, as
Despite difficulties, the Responsorial Antiphon, Psalm 90:14, prays, “Fill us with your love, O lord, and we will sing for joy!” Married couples can also get through lamentable situations with loving joy, if they are willing to communicate with one another, as they communicate with God. Rhetoric is but another name for good communication. As examples of good rhetoric, the Psalms exhibit ancient Jewish religiosity. Paul also strives to use language well.
Getting to the rhetoric of good language, Hebrews 4:12-13 is only two verses. The ancient Jewish community identified religiosity with good language, with rhetoric. Hebrews is about the Holy Word of God being good enough rhetoric to penetrate the soul, to reveal character.
The Greek language used to describe how the Word exposes the Faithful is a metaphor drawn from the literal bending back of the neck of the sacrificial victim for slaughter and complete exposure. That is what the Lectionary means by holding the Faithful accountable to the Word of God. Accountability before God is a topic for prayer.
Second, what insight does queer theory offer into the
life of Jesus? With no home and family,
Did the devotion of
Once again, in Mark 10:28-30, queer theory offers yet another
non-traditional insight. To the extent
he had no household,
There is no word family
in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. The best one
can do is house. According to Gospel evidence,
By having no house,
Another intriguing question from Mark 10:28-30 is in the matter of rewards. To begin with, Jesus is emphatic, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters … who will not receive a hundredfold …” (Mark 10:29). “Amen” is the same emphasis Jesus gave to the poor widow putting all she had in the temple treasury (Mark 12:43) and to “whoever gives you a cup of water” (Mark 9:41). That, however, is not all.
In conclusion, Wisdom is about individuals letting truth determine the politics of what they love. Ultimately, Wisdom is about loving and praying with God. Psalm 90 is about finding joy in knowing God. Hebrews is about finding insight into the meaning of life from the Word of God. Mark is about loving God, above all things, the way in which a married couple can love, one the other.
For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes
 The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and Published by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: Approved for use in the dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See: Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy: a Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1983) 294.
 Alan C. Mitchell, S.J., “The Use of prepein and Rhetorical Propriety in Hebrews 2:10,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 4 (October 1992) 693.
 C. Clifton Black, review of George Keerankeri, S.J., The Love Commandment in Mark: An Exegetico-Theological Study of Mk 12, 28-34 in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 4 (October 2005) 717.
 Joseph Plevnik, “`The Eleven and Those with Them’ According to Luke,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 2 (April 1978) 210.
 Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, “The Poor Widow in Mark and Her Poor Rich Readers,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 4 (October 1991) 601.