Leonardo Boff is a Brazilian theologian who has written many books including The Prayer of Saint Francis and Praying with Jesus and Mary. In this inspirational and cogent paperback, he deciphers the many meanings of the 23rd Psalm, which has been a guiding light for millions of people for centuries. In three sections Praying Amid Contradictions, The Song of the Shepherd, and The Song of the Host Boff brings together human helplessness and divine grace. We receive solace on the perilous journey through life by knowing that God is with us. In the metaphors of the shepherd and the host, we discover the preciousness of care-taking and the importance of hospitality.
Boff describes this psalm as a spiritual X-ray; it zeroes in on human fears and the yearning for holy protection:
"Fear reveals the human condition, which is made of fears and hopes, of helplessness and the search for consolation. We fail to realize that we are not masters of our destiny. We are at the mercy of forces and situations beyond our control.
"Fear nullifies the joy of life, hinders freedom, and clouds the future. Who or what will free us from this nightmare? It won't be relaxation exercises, self-help strategies, or anti-depressants that will free us from the sword hanging over our head.
"Who knows a spiritual route that will enable us to transcend this situation and open us to the prospect of divine protection? Perhaps here is where we might find a path to liberation.
"In any case, we are called to trust in a Greater One, who is infinitely good, who knows us by name, who knows the secrets of our hearts, and who is the true master of our life's fate."
Best of all, this Brazilian theologian always gives equal emphasis in his discussions to humans, nature, and other living beings. Boff reverences the Earth and wants us to stop our pillaging, our assault on ecosystems, and our indifference to animal life. He also pleads for us to let the Earth rest and be refreshed. Christians are called to care as much for polluted streams and savaged rain forests as for our own families. In The Lord Is My Shepherd Leonardo Boff mines the many meanings in this famous psalm and opens our eyes to the challenges we face as the Earth's caretakers.