Psalm 42, our Responsorial Psalm for today, says, “Athirst is my soul for the living God.”
In the Psalm David compares your soul to a deer that travels on through great weariness thirsting for God. It is possible that David in the mountains with his flock had witnessed such a panting deer, struggling in from the desert, consumed with thirst, and giving no notice to the shepherd boy.
I suppose it is true that we all have surface-selves that monopolize our waking thoughts, muffling the desires of our deeper selves that too rarely get noticed. I have a couple of memories that support that.
One story involved a Catholic girl from Port Arthur Texas who drifted away from the Church in her college years in Austin, going on to partner up with a non-believing young man. Years into their relationship his job brought them here, and she go a teaching position. One Christmas she got a ride to a party with her principal who wanted to catch Mass on the way. This teacher went in to sit and wait, when suddenly her true self asserted itself, telling her, “This the real me here in church!
My other story started one Saturday afternoon on Amelia Island. I was watching Chrissie and Evert and Martina Navratilova’s great play, but I had to go out to my car to think out a homily for Sunday. Unbelievably, sitting in the back of my car I heard myself being paged. Getting back into the stadium, I was brought to minister to a middle aged gent slobbering in the aisle with his handsome daughter and son-in-law along with eight thousand strangers looking on. I felt so sorry for the sick man’s embarrassment.
He surprised me when I checked on him two days later. Lying there, he said, “It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I had got myself so involved in the market and in club life that I lost my self altogether. This has allowed the real me to take charge.”