One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
Did you ever jump in the car,
head off and forget where you
were going? I have.
I start off for work the route I always
take and suddenly remember that I’m
not going to work, I have a dentist
appointment. I’m going south when I
need to go west. I knew, but I was not
mindful of where I was going. I forgot
That’s a parable of life. Like Martha
in the Gospel, I get busy about so many
things that I neglect really important
relationships with God, family and
It is easy to be sidetracked by the cares
and worries of life. When we lose a job, a
friend, our health, a marriage, we may
also lose our way. Worries may preoccupy
us so we are distracted, thrown off track,
diverted from our real destination. But
in my deepest, wisest self, my destination
is clear. Psalm 27 expresses it well.
First the Sorrow
The psalmist was sidetracked and discouraged
by “enemies on every side”
(verse 6). “False witnesses have risen
against me, and such as breathe out
violence” (verse 12). But he believed
that “I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living” (verse 13).
The psalmist’s heart turned to the Temple
where he had experienced God. Our
hearts turn to God who makes the whole
world his temple: “In him we live and
move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
In the heavenly temple we will see God
My deepest longing is to be with
God. “Never let me be separated from
you,” the priest prays privately before
Communion. “Hide not your face from
me. Forsake me not, O God my savior,”
David pleads in verse 9. Hell is being
separated from God.
We long “to dwell in the house of the
Lord.” This isn’t selfishly limiting our
vision to just God and me. When I am
with God, I am with all my sisters and
brothers. We are at the great banquet
Don’t we long to be with those we
love and who love us, with our family
or close friends? Among my life’s greatest
joys are to be with my Franciscan
brothers and to be with fellow believers
at the Eucharist.
We all dread being separated from
those we love. Our hearts go out to
families when a parent or spouse is
serving in Iraq. We shudder when we
remember horror stories of parents and
children being separated in the Holocaust
or hear the experience of today’s
refugees in Darfur.
Jesus is with us now and assures us
he will not leave us orphans. “I go and
prepare a place for you...that where I
am you also may be” (John 14:3).
Our human gatherings can be
marred by misunderstandings or hurts.
But in heaven we will have been purified
of anger, envy, selfishness—all that
keeps us from loving and being loved.
St. Bonaventure urges us to desire
heaven, to long to be with God because
that opens our hearts wider and helps
us keep our final destination in focus.
As the psalmist begins, “The Lord is
my light and salvation; whom should
Next: Psalm 104:22-28