UNBORN WORD of the day

November 1, 2007, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Religion


Today, Friday, November 2nd is All Souls Day, and the Psalm for today’s Mass is the one and only Psalm 23. My childhood was not very religious, but my grade two class did memorize Psalm 23 (King James Version, KJV). It left a formative and lasting impression upon my little eight year old mind. I would suggest to parents and teachers alike that this is one of the best religious passages for a child to memorize.

While only six verses in length, it is chock full of positive and healthy images for the childlike. Let’s look at a few (KJV) verses:

“The Lord is my shepherd” – this suggests a one-on-one relationship of simple dependency. But the shepherd is the one who CARES ‘for’ the sheep and ‘about’ the sheep.

He leads me “beside the still waters” and “makes me to lie down in green pastures”. For the childlike mind these are calm and peaceful images of a little innocent sheep being cared for.

“He restoreth my soul” – now we drift into the spiritual ever so gently. The child might wonder what is “my soul” and he is left with a beautiful image to guide his questioning.

“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”. Perhaps this is now stretching the child’s moral framework, but that is a good thing. God, my shepherd is leading me somewhere “for His name’s sake”. There is a purpose behind His leading, it is not aimless, it is for my good (whatever that might be).

Even in a dark valley (“the valley of the shadow of death”) He is with me so I need not be afraid. He even comforts me.

He prepares a meal for me and pours mysterious oil upon my head. These are profound images that the child can ponder without fully understanding them. That is a good thing. The child doesn’t need to understand all of this like some dumbed-down cartoon. The child can be left wondering about such mysterious images.

“Goodness and mercy shall follow me” all through my life “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” – that is, His door is open and He invites me into His house. The Shepherd’s house is a place of safety, refuge and hope for me.

We do not think about God in simple childlike ways often enough. There are passages and stories in the Bible that are especially poignant for children (and the childlike). Let’s cherish them and pass them on.


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