Strength for the Divorced & Hurting Psalm 23

Big Horn Sheep
Let Jesus be Your Shepherd.

I often post about the Sunday’s Gospel Bible reading on Monday morning, but this week’s readings were so intent and struck me so hard, each offering something for so many families of divorce and in crisis, that I wanted to devote a day to each.

This is Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm. It has long been one of my favorites, and I hope you find it comforting and strengthening as have I.

Responsorial Psalm PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R/ (6cd) I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

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.

Right away, this Psalm takes away our arguments. The marriage, the family, the car, the health insurance, the dreams of the house with the white picket fence…all of it are gone, and yet, the Lord tells us not to want. This verse reminds me of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. When the Good Son asked his father why he hadn’t received the good the sinful brother had, the father replied, “all that I have is already yours.”

All that God has he gives to us: plans for your welfare, not your woe! plans to give you a future full of Hope (Jer 29:11), forgiveness for which we are not worthy, the Love we seek from human sources now comes undyingly from the Divine; through Him we receive Peace and Freedom and Strength.

What more could we ask for that God does not give us when we turn to Him?

R/ I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
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.

God is our guide. He will not force us down the right path. We must choose to follow Him, to walk beside Him when things are going well. We must never run ahead, wordlessly but meaningfully criticizing the Father’s pace or His timing because we wish things moved faster, because we are anxious to move beyond this uphill stretch of road, because we want to see the view on the other side.

We must, with humility, let Him pick us up and carry us when we fall, when feel we are too tired to move any farther, and when distractions cause us to want to stop and wander off the trail others have blazened for us or when He asks us to forge ahead into the wilderness away from the path our friends and family would prefer we travel, the way “normal” people are headed.

We must remember that whatever we meet, God is at our sides, and with Him all things are possible, that with Him, even the greatest agonies of this life are temporary. We must remember that the dark valleys of this life are nothing compared to the dark valleys of the next if we fail in our following of His ways, if we fail to ask for His mercy, if we accept only the doctrine that makes us feel good. We must remember that even in today’s deepest darkness, the Holy Spirit is ever present, providing our Light.

R/ I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Our enemies keep watch on us. Although they would like to pretend indifference, they are ever watchful, waiting not only for us to slip and fall, but, at times, hoping for our complete and utter destruction. When we walk in peace with God, in the Light of the Holy Spirit, those watchful eyes see the battles we face, conflicts, worries, troubles and a small part of them must admit that those battles would destroy them, while we handle them with Grace and Dignity. Even to our enemies, it appears that we are Blessed, not so much with our actions or with the ease of our lifestyle, but with those around us, those helping to share the burden. Our enemies might say we are manipulative or lucky or be critical of those standing nearby calling them gullible for being misled by who we “really” are, but even in those moments God helps them see the success we are learning to handle. Even in those moments, God may be using our challenges to help unblind our enemies to what is accomplishable with His power. Even in those momennts, God is hoping to turn their hearts as well.

R/ I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

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.

Only gododness and kindness follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.

That bares repeating. Is there anything more peaceful, more restful to a Mother than to have goodness and kindness in her household for years to come? To picture her house as the house of the Lord, to know her children will grow up in God’s Grace and that the chaos of this world is easily overcome by God’s Goodness and Grace?

What more could we ask for?

R/ I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Ask God to give you strength, Post the Psalm somewhere where everyone can see if, from the small child struggling with nightmares to the teenager struggling with peer pressure and self esteem and sexual  and material distractions, to the spouse who struggles with abandonment, neglect, worthlessness, and all the pressures of being the sole provider. The Father is Shepherd of All. Invite Him to Live in your house, so you may Live in His.

The Lord is your shepherd. Let Him guide you.

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God Bless…

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1 thought on “Strength for the Divorced & Hurting Psalm 23”

  1. Pingback: The Greatest Commandment - A Challenge to the Divorced & Separated - Single Mom Smiling

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