Lenten Reflection: A True and Faithful Shepherd

But for the sound of the piano playing Psalm 23 I woke up to a very quiet Maundy Thursday morning.  So, I thought, the pianist is in residence.  The home is just across the street from mine.  The house comes alive only on Christmas when people in big cars I don’t know if they are the owners show up. The rest of the year, it’s just the caretaker and the son. I don’t know who the pianist is, could be the caretaker’s son after all, but he or she, on occasion, plays beautiful pieces, and always on mornings. The songs come to me full and clear as if it’s just outside my living room window.

I didn’t get up from the sofa where I’m sleeping these days, instead I let the notes stir up my still sleepy senses.  I haven’t heard the song for some time.

The Lord is my Shepherd;

He is Lord and I am His guest…

He guides me on the safe path,

He will always do His part.

If I should ever walk

In the valley of darkness,

Your crook and your staff

They will lead me to the day.

Feelings associated with the song streamed into my present.  I wanted to weep but as always on such occasions I steel myself up.  I fear that if I let loose these feelings I’d not be able to bring myself back which I can’t afford to do at this time.  Maybe when I’m fifty.

But this is what makes me weepy:  My experience of God is that He has been unfailingly true and faithful to me whereas I wasn’t always such toward Him.  I could see that this is a kind of betrayal, like Peter betraying his Master after everything, but the resounding knowledge that hit me was the conviction that He loves me through it all.

How could human beings limited in every thing ever thank this God adequately?  I couldn’t.  I don’t have the gift for praying or praising God aloud so I really admire people who, in behalf of a group or a community, could go on praying aloud for fifteen minutes or so.  I’m more of silent words passing from myself to God and back.  When I can’t translate into words what I have in mind to say my being kind of takes over by simply exhaling a limited sigh of thanks.  But apparently most people would want to hear a bit more words of edification.

(In the convent, we performed interpretative dances at offertory in the Mass as symbolic offering of ourselves.  The priests and brothers had their usual poker face on but I could tell they were shell-shocked.  It amused me to see their reaction because if only they paid more attention to the song, The Lord of the Dance, they’d be dancing along with us.  I believe that if they learned to dance more, to express themselves more honestly and creatively to their God, there’d be less propensity to be cruel like sexually abuse children for one.)

As the pianist played the final notes, I realized and believe that God is quite laid back toward human failure and weakness because didn’t He say to forgive seventy times seven, which is above and beyond the instances Peter betrayed Him, and according to holy books what He was willing to do for Judas, if only he had asked for forgiveness (which goes to say that Judas’ ultimate downfall was not selling out Jesus but believing that sin cannot be conquered by God’s forgiveness and love).  Though again it’s when you thought you know the man that you don’t, not entirely.  I guess it’s common sense that no human being can categorize a god into this-is-Him pin boards, specifically this God.  Human minds obviously cannot contain God.

I was convinced that this faithful God wants to renew His promise despite lapses on my end.  I’m alerted at once because no giver of gifts likes an ungracious receiver hence I ought to cast off my feelings of inadequacy and receive the proffered gift with thankfulness and renewed commitment.

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