Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
Like the deer that yearns for running streams,
so my soul is yearning for you, my God; my soul is thirsting for God, the living God
This short prayer is used as the Communion Antiphon this weekend, prayed aloud by the Congregation (or the lector) at Mass just before Holy Communion, and will be recited most days at Mass this week. Taken from the 42nd psalm, these lines were written by one who had obviously had an intimate experience of God at some time and now feels separated by time and space from Him. Does it strike a chord in you?
Many of us would say we don’t experience this kind of longing for God on a regular basis, and we would be likely to say that our prayer seldom reaches the intensity that this psalm reflects. It sounds like something a holy monk or a saint like Mother Teresa would say, but not the ordinary Catholic in the pew, as the saying goes. But we might be surprised if we were to ask God if He has ever heard a prayer like this from us? Let’s take a moment to look deep within and test our prayer….
Have you ever felt like you needed to pour out your soul to God asking for help in a moment of desperation—like when a child, your child, was critically ill? Did you ever pray, ‘My God, where ARE you? I need you so much now!’ Or did you ever cry out to Him in anger, “Why are You letting this happen?” Did you ever bang on His chest and yell, ‘YOU have to get me out of this mess!!’ Have you ever sobbed in silence because you can’t seem to understand what He is doing in your life? Then you’ve prayed like the psalmist who says, My soul is yearning for You, is thirsting for You to help me.
Or have you ever made a wonderful retreat and felt so close to God, finding it easy to pray and to find God in the everyday moments, until suddenly you realize you’ve lost that feeling? Did you think (or pray), ‘How did I lose You, Lord?’ Have you experienced His great mercy after a sincere confession, promising Him and yourself, in the wake of the glow of His compassion, that you will never commit that sin again, then found yourself sinking back into the same pattern of sinfulness, crying out, ‘God, what happened? I thought you were going to help me!’ If you’ve found yourself talking to Him like that, then you aren’t very far from the prayer of today’s antiphon, Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning, longing for You, My God.
By the way, it’s at times like that that the Lord listens with a sweet mercy to you. He loves to hear your most sincere prayer, even when it comes from a place of anger or feeling betrayed. As long as you are speaking to Him—even ‘raising your voice’ to Him—you are pleasing to Him because He listens between the lines and hears you saying, ‘I have expected more of You, my God. I need more of You. I can’t do this without You, My God.’
Oh my, what a beautiful prayer He hears you saying:
I’m thirsting for You to be God for me, my Lord.
Pray Psalm 42 in good times and in bad. It is most comforting, to Him and to you. Have a blessed week.