Alison Marie Smith

Life, Leadership & Spiritual Formation in Lonely Places

What Allegri Understands About Mercy: An Advent Reflection


Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam. (Have mercy on me, O God, after thy great goodness.)

Gregorio Allegri, a 17th century composer and priest, is most well-known for his Miserere mei, Deus, a choral setting of Psalm 51. For several hundred years, Miserere was only permitted to be performed in the Sistine Chapel during Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter. A mysterious and beautiful composition, several composers tried and failed to transcribe the piece. Today, the ban has been lifted and many choirs around the world have performed Miserere.

Psalm 51 is most recognized as the lament penned by David after his affair with Bathsheba and murder of her husband. Have mercy on me, O God… cleanse me from my sin… create in me a pure heart… restore to me the joy of your salvation. 

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Two Terrible “Friends” and Being God’s Beloved

One of the lines on my about page is, “I have felt loneliness deeply, I am called to care for other lonely people. I am convinced that in the deserted places of our souls, God desires to bring us water.”

In November, loneliness paid me an unexpected and LONG visit once again. It’s more than a little ironic that I became the person I was called to care for.  My visitor was a new form of loneliness. It wasn’t because I didn’t have friends (I did and still do have amazing friends!). It wasn’t because Sean was traveling for work. It wasn’t even because I felt distant from God. On the contrary, I’ve never felt more intimately connected with God than in the last two years.

Though I’ve never shared this openly on my website, many of my loved ones know that I’ve dealt with mild anxiety for several years. Since moving to Utah, it has ebbed and flowed. What I mean by anxiety isn’t simply worrying about things.

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A Long Silence

If you look at the date of my last post, you’ll notice that I haven’t shared anything for the last 5 months. So I suppose this is my obligatory, “Where Have I Been” post.

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Treasuring & Pondering: The First Day of Christmas

_But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.- Luke 2:19

It’s easy to miss this brief sentence, buried amid Mary & Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the birth of the Christ child, a host of angels, and shepherds visiting the newborn child. Read it again.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.- Luke 2:19

How are we supposed to ponder when there is so much to do? Presents needing to be wrapped. Food demanding to be prepared. Children sneaking peaks into presents and nicking treats from the kitchen. Last minute cleaning and organizing to ready our homes for visitors.

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