I was at home cleaning and doing a bit of laundry this afternoon. I hadn’t planned to do washing, but our top altar cloth in chapel had a soot stain I was trying to remove.
I had applied a series of treatments to it, starting with an overnight setting with OxiClean, followed by treatment with other chemicals, including alcohol and bleach. The final step, I hoped, was to wash it in the machine.
So home I went and put it and some other white items in the machine. Meanwhile, I went to work cleaning. We had decorated for the upcoming celebration of Christmas the other evening, and there was evidence of this in the tinsel that lined the carpet in places.
While I was doing my cleaning, a song somehow came to mind that I learned back when I was involved with my parish youth program. Some of the words include: “Sing to the Lord a song of praise; with new hearts bless His name.” Amidst vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting, it’s good to lift the heart and mind in prayer, praise, and gratitude. (I could, after all, be wheelchair-bound and unable to do this cleaning.) Thinking of, or listening to, such music as this song can help put words of thanks and praise into our hearts and minds.
When I tried searching for the full lyrics later, I realized that it is based on the very psalm that I am preparing to sing for our Mass Christmas night: Psalm 96.
Prayers would be appreciated that I can make it through that psalm of praise despite my nervousness at the amount of people present. (I have never led the psalm for as large a group as we expect Thursday.). We end up hauling chairs and scurrying around to help seat a little over a hundred people in our chapel for the occasion each year.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF