Friday, February 26, 2010

Psalm 23.

Last Friday I attended the Stations of the Cross at church.  Since I had Isabel with me and since it was the first time I had been to the Stations in more years than I could remember, I was distracted.  I tried to pay attention, but between helping Isabel follow along in a picture book version of the Stations, and trying to keep up with where we were in my own book, my mind would wander. 

I was listening to Isabel (two months shy of 4 years old) recite the Our Father and the Hail Mary effortlessly.  My heart beamed in a motherly way that she has already picked up these two beautiful prayers and knows them by heart...and that she will join in without being asked when she hears them being prayed.  But my mind wandered....

When do children normally learn these prayers?....When did I learn these prayers?
Was it in 6th grade??  No!!...6th grade?  Of course you already know them by then...that's right, I was remembering when I memorized Psalm 23 and recited it in front of my Sunday school class in 6th grade...It must be in 1st or 2nd grade that kids typically learn those prayers, I continued thinking.

Well after that I was able to get back into the Stations of the Cross and fell in love with the beauty of pondering Christ's passion.  It is my intention to continue to go as often as possible this Lent.

So after the Stations were over, guess who would come up from behind us to say "hello", but my 6th grade Sunday school teacher!  And I had no idea he was there; hadn't seen the guy in years!

You'll never guess this next part!

The first words out of his mouth were, "Psalm 23!"  (He virtually exclaimed this.  I'm not joking, he was so loud that we had to leave the sanctuary because some people were silent in prayer.)  And he went on to say, "I remember when you got up in the front of my class and recited the entire 23rd Psalm!"

I told him that he wouldn't believe it, but I had JUST been recalling that same event literally moments before.  

And I don't think he did believe me. 

But it was true!  And I wondered what God could mean by it.  Why was He reminding me about Psalm 23?

I pushed it aside Saturday and Sunday...but Monday morning at Mass, there He goes again bringing it back up again.  As if telling me, My Word cannot be pushed aside.  

Here is the Responsorial Psalm that was read in all Catholic churches during Mass this past Monday:

R.  (1)  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Oh Lord, how many times have we heard this Psalm?  What does it mean?  What do You want me to know from it?

*Now stop here.  I had typed up to this point and thought, "now what? I don't have the answer."  I repeated the question to myself, "Lord, what do You want me to know from Psalm 23?"*

And my eyes began to fill with tears as He let me know.  

I lived Psalm 23 this year.

God has been teaching me this Psalm all year long. 
I have walked through that dark valley. 
I have drawn courage from the Lord.
He spread the feast of His mercy, love and peace before me.
He has anointed me with the oil of His grace.
The cup of my love and gratitude overflows.
The goodness and kindness of the Lord follow me, even and especially even in my times of suffering.
And through my suffering I draw close to the house of the Lord.

Lord, You are my shepherd.  There is nothing I shall want.


Meredith said...

Girl, you truely are such a beautiful writer. It is a gift and you should write a book! What a place of peace we have when we honestly feel or want for nothing besides our Lord and Saviour!!

StumblingServant said...

What a wonderful post! I love how the Bible is the LIVING Word. That even though it means something historically (that is very important, of course), it still means something different to us each time we read or hear it. Because it is alive, and God speaks to us each time we read it. Makes me think about how bad I am at reading my Bible regularly. I'm missing out on so much he could be speaking to me! Looks like there's another Lenten prayer resolution for me. :)