St Aloysius Gonzaga

Preserve me, O God, I take refuge in you.
 I say to the Lord: ‘You are my God.’
Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
 it is you yourself who are my prize.

You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness forever.

                                     Psalm 16 [15]: 1-2, 11

.        .        .

I made a conscious effort in my early 20’s to memorize this psalm. (The final verse, 16.11, is the reason for the number appearing in my twitter handle and email address. Nothing to do with the King James Bible.) I struggled constantly against the sense that what I really needed to be happy was something ‘out there’, somewhere beyond me. If only I could reach it–the right job, the right guy, the right whatever–then I would really be happy.

No. I saw in this psalm that real happiness comes from somewhere else entirely. It’s not from out there, but originates in here. It is the peace that surpasses all understanding, not the perfect situation, that settles the soul. In comparison to many, the storms in my life are just light rain showers. Still, I need shelter, and the psalmist reminds me that the only shelter I can count on is God: preserve me O God, I take refuge in you.

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