Sometimes I think I would have done quite well in the era of oral tradition. While I like to read, listening to someone else read often makes words or phrases stand out that otherwise wouldn’t. That’s what happened today.
I often listen to the daily scripture readings at the Verbum Domini site. There’s no commentary, just a simple rendering of the daily readings. Because the USCCB site is the only place authorized to use the New American Bible, Verbum Domini uses the Revised Standard version and today I’m glad they did.
The ever familiar Psalm 23 was the responsorial psalm today. As I listened to it, these first lines stood out:
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
Still waters. I thought about what that looked like, like a sea of smooth glass reflecting the sky, the trees, whatever happens to be around. There is much that lurks beneath still waters. Fish. Insects. Turtles. Plant life. The still waters contain many signs of vibrant life and yet they are quiet (New St. James version), restful (New American version), peaceful.
I thought back to the phrase, He makes me, in referring to "He makes me to lie down in green pastures" and it helped me to make sense of something I’ve been pondering for a while and even talked about with my spiritual mother last night.
I mentioned to her that I wondered sometimes why my life was so serene right now, restful with few worries and responsibilities. My creative life is blooming and I feel more alive than I have in many years. Yes, I did come from a long, drawn out battle that was my mother’s illness and passing, but I wonder about my life being so easy now. Somehow it doesn’t feel right (much as I enjoy it).
And my dear, wise friend told me to graciously accept this grace from God and not worry. There would be trials ahead but right now, accept, enjoy, and go along with it. Today’s psalm was an affirmation of her words: God wants me to lie down in the green grass next to the still waters.
The famous Ecclesiastes 3 ("To everything there is a season . . .") really rings true for me today. This is my season to heal, my season of peace.
As the leper in today’s Gospel runs to Jesus, prostrates himself at His feet and thanks him for his healing, so I must do the same: accept the gift and be thankful for it and put away all worry. Live in the present moment and let the future take care of itself.
Thank you, Jesus.
Copyright 2010 Susan Bailey
About the Author
Susan Bailey is the author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times (Ave Maria Press), and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications), part of their Literary Portals to Prayer series. Along with her blogs Be as One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion, Susan writes for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press.