In my seminary (Conception Seminary College, in Conception, Missouri), we have a one-day retreat every month. This month, our retreat master was Fr. Scott Boeckman, from the Diocese of Oklahoma City. The theme of the retreat was psalm 23, which portrays God as a shepherd and the psalmist (the author of the psalm) as a sheep. This is perhaps the best known of the 150 psalms, but it has a great depth. It is a great prayer of trust in God.
The psalm begins, The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Father Boeckman noted that the psalmist refers to God in third person. He is my shepherd… he gives me repose… he revives my soul… he guides me along the right path. But then, something happens. The psalmist encounters the valley of the shadow of death, and the psalm changes. Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death, no evil would I fear, for you are with me. The psalmist refers to God in second person from then until the psalm ends. Fr. Boeckman then told us that our weaknesses and frailties are the place where God encounters us. It is then that God becomes for us a You instead of a he.
In my discernment towards the priesthood, I can say that truly the Lord encounters me in my weaknesses. After all, as a priest I will still be a weak man, but God’s power shines forth through our weakness (2 Cor 12,9).