Saturday, February 5, 2011

An intimate relationship

The Psalm Response for today’s Mass recalls to my mind a story I heard recently that really touched my heart. I am not sure if it is true but in any event it has a wonderful point to make:

A famous actor and orator was appearing on stage to a large audience and was reciting various readings in his rich, trained, cultured voice. One of the readings was the famous Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” When he had finished his performance of the psalm the people applauded heartily – except for one man, sitting in the front row. He was elderly, poorly dressed and as he looked at the actor he had a serene smile on his face. The actor noticed him and when the applause settled he looked at the man and asked why he had not clapped. He called the elderly man to the stage and he stood before the actor who asked him, quite haughtily why he was not moved by the reading. He wondered whether the old man could recite it any better. Timidly the old man approached the microphone and began to recite the 23rd psalm. As he did, the audience was quiet and then moved to tears. When the old man had finished, the audience stood and applauded. The actor was stunned. He asked the old man why did he think he was able to touch the hearts of the audience. The old man said quite simply to the actor: “You know the Psalm but I know the Shepherd."
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.
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.
You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
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.

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