Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 11

Psalm Day My Prince Will Come: Meeting Jesus in the Psalms Fr.

Andrew Counts, CJ Abbot General, Company of Jesus Opus Dei and the Psalms The term Opus Dei or Work of God signifies the chanting of the canonical hours the prayer of the monastic community. This choral office is made up above all of the Psalms. (Thomas Merton, Bread in the Wilderness,(BTW) pg. 15). The Good Ole Days St. Benedict urges that the Psalms form the basis of the communitys prayer: we read that our holy Fathers strenuously [chanted the whole Psalter] in a single day. May we, lukewarm that we are, perform it at least in a whole week! (RB ch.18). Benedict was a stickler for chanting the whole Psalter every week, but it is typical of his moderate tone that he allowed for others to arrange the Psalms in a different way: We strongly recommend, however, that if this distribution of the Psalms is displeasing to anyone, he/she should arrange them otherwise, in whatever way she/he considers better, but taking care in any case that the Psalter with its full number of 150 Psalms be chanted every week and begun again every Sunday at the Night Office. (RB Ch. 18). The rest of chapter 18 is devoted to the specific listing of the Psalms, but an example would be from Compline: At Compline the same Psalms are to be repeated every day, namely Psalms 4, 91, and 134 (RB 18).
Psalm Day 1

This indicates not only that there are certain Psalms appropriate to the various times of day, but that it is strongly to be preferred that they be said every night in order to encourage memorization. Thomas Merton also indicates to us the essential purpose of saying or singing the Psalms: .we must know how to find Christ in the Psalmsit is typology that reveals Christ to us, even in some of the most unexpected lines of the Psalms. ( BW, pg. 82) Merton goes on to explain what he means by typology: Not only do many of the Psalms literally foretell the suffering and glory of Christ, but David is a type of the New Testament as a whole and often the particular sentiments of the Psalmist aretypical of the sentiments in the Heart of the Divine Redeemer. (BW pg. 37) In other words, the Heart of God is revealed to us in the Psalms in a very personal way, but also a way that reveals Jesus to us in a way that mere prose cannot accomplish. Because the Psalms often difficult contain difficult or angry sentiments, we must look beyond the letter of the words to the Spirit of God revealed by the words. Merton again: The real meaning of the psalms is held to be a spiritual kernel which must be arrived at by penetration of the letter. To cling to the literal meaning alone is, according to this line of thought to miss the whole significance of the Psalms. (BTW pg. 37). |A good example of this is Psalm 137:8, 9 in which we read: Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy are those who repay you according to what you have done to us. Happy are those who seize your infants and dash them against the rocks. (ESV)

Psalm Day 2

Benedict translates this in Chapter IV (50) of the Rule to mean that we should: dash at once against Christ the evil thoughts which rise in one's heart. Here we see Benedict doing exactly what Merton recommends looking beyond the mere literal word and extracting a spiritual meaning typical of our understanding of and relationship with Jesus Christ. This understanding of the Psalms is somewhat different than our current habit of mind in regard to texts. There is a liberty to see a deeper meaning and to proclaim it unapologetically in the service of deepening our awareness of Christ. The Psalms were seen by the Apostles to be the utterances not only of David but of the future Christ, God Himself, says Merton ( BTW pg. 43). We could even say that there is an eschatological element present in this type of reading. But not only do the Psalms reveal Christ, but they are The songs of the City of God. They are therefore the voice of the Mystical Body of Christ. They are the songs of Christ. They are the songs of God in this world. Singing them, we become more fully incorporated into the mystery of Gods action in human history. (BW pg. 59) We, the body of Christ, sing to Christ and become incorporated into Him in so doing. This is also the essential action of the Eucharist, in which we become what we are. Gods Self-Giving There is a promise from God that he will meet us in the recitation of the Psalms. God will give Himself to us through the Psalter if we give ourselves to Him without reserve, in our recitation of the Psalm. (BTW pg. 64).
Psalm Day 3

This is love in action, in which the lovers give themselves without reserve to one another. But the Scripture is quick to remind us that we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (Rom. 8:26). Merton expresses it this way: The Holy Ghost prays in the Liturgy and when we pray with the Liturgy the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ prays in us. He teaches us how to pray by praying in us. He not only gives us words to say and sing, He also sings them in our hearts. (BTW pg. 56) John Cassian, one of Benedicts forerunners and spiritual heroes speaks of the Prayer of Fire. Fire is, of course, symbolic of the Holy Spirits work and presence. It not only inflames us or inspires us, but also purges and cleanses us. Those who chant the Psalms regularly invite the Fire of God to come upon them. Then too, we can think of the Psalms as Nourishment. Those whose vocation in the Church is prayer find that they live on the Psalms for the Psalms enter into every department of their lifethe Psalm are the nourishment of his interior life and form the material of his meditations and of his own personal prayer, so that at last he comes to live them and experience them as if they were his own songs, his own prayers. (BTW pg. 7). Psalm Formats with examples: The Book of Common Prayer includes the full text of the Psalms, assigned to the days of the month is such a way that one could work through them all in a month, morning and evening. The Hymnal 1982 lists various ways of either chanting the Psalms with points, or singing them in the Anglican Chant style of four part harmony. The Gelineau chants of the Grail Translation preserve the song structure of the Psalms, grouping them according to stanzas of four to six lines and assigning a number of beats to each line. A number of
Psalm Day 4

different modes are given as appropriate to the metric structure of the various Psalms. Canticles or Scripture Songs: The following are a list of actual songs which are sung in Scripture: Song of Moses, Exodus 15:1-6, 11-13,17,18 Song of Mary, Luke 1:46-55 Song of Zechariah, Luke 1:68-79 Song of Simeon, Luke 2:29-32 A Song of the Lamb, Revelation 4:11, 5:9-10,13 It is especially appropriate to sing these songs. The Book of Common Prayer lists which of these canticles are especially suited as responses to the readings of morning and evening prayer. I include my own listing at the end of this paper. Types of Psalms with Examples: Invitatory: 95 : Come let us sing to the Lord 100: Be joyful in the Lord all ye lands 122: I was glad when they said to me Psalms of Ascent or Gradual Psalms Typically sung by pilgrims on their way up to Jerusalem: #s 120-134

Psalm Day 5

Pentitential, 6:1: Lord do not rebuke me in your anger (cf. Ps. 38:1) 32:1: Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven 38:18: I will confess my iniquity and be sorry for my sin 51:1:Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness 102:4 My heart is smitten like grass and withered 130: 1: Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord 143:2:Enter not into judgment with your servant Notice especially number 51, composed after Davids affair with Bathsheba : Create in me a clean heart O God Hallel or Praise Psalms 105-107, 111-118, - 146-150 Typically include the actual word Hallel or Hallelujah. Christological Psalms Contain actual prophetic references to Christ: 2:7 You are my Son; this day have I begotten you 22: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? 23: The Lord is my Shepherd 110: 4: You are a priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek

Psalm Day 6

Royal Psalms Typically in praise of the King: 45: My heart is stirring with a noble song; let me recite what I have fashioned for the king 72: Give the King your justice, O God 110: Princely state has been yours from the day of your birth 144: I will exalt you, O God my King Wisdom: 1: They are like trees planted by the streams of water 32:9 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go 34:11 Come Childeren, and listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 37:27 The righteous are always generousand their children shall be a blessing 49:2 My mouth shall speak of wisdom 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? Hymns 103-104Bless the Lord, O my soul 117:1Praise the Lord all you nations Songs of Zion: (Sing us one of thosePs. 46:5:There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God..
Psalm Day 7

48:2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mt. Zion 84:1:How dear to me is your dwelling O Lord of hosts! 87: 2 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of our God 122:2 Now our feet are standing, within your gates of Jerusalem Enthronement Hymns: 47:8 God reigns over the nations; God sits upon his holy throne. 93:3Ever since the world began, your throne has been established 95-98 Theme: Let us sing to the Lord a new song. 99:1:The Lord is King; let the people tremble; he is enthroned Thanksgiving 18:48You rescued me from the fury of my enemies; you exalted me above those who rose against me; you saved me 30:1:I will exalt you O Lord, because you have lifted me up 40:2: He lifted me out of the desolate pit, our of the mire and clay 66:14:Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for me. 100:3: Enter his gates with thanksgiving 116:1: I love the Lord because he has heard the voice of my supplication 118:1: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: Laments: 22:1 My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? 42:3:My tears have been my food day and night
Psalm Day 8

43:2:why have you put me from you? And why do I go so heavily 44:15:My humiliation is daily before me, and shame has covered my face. 69:1 Save me O God for the waters have risen up 74:1: O God, why have you utterly cast us off? 79: 1:O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance, they have profaned your holy temple; they have made Jerusalem a heap of rubble. Liturgical Psalms: Oracles: 50:2:Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory. 75:1:calling upon your Name and declaring all your wonderful deeds. 85:7Show us your mercy O Lord, and grant us your salvation Psalms and Canticles for the Daily Offices: Morning: Psalms 3,5,67,95,100,122 Canticles: Song of the Three Young Men, vv 29-34 Ted Deum Laudamus: We Praise Thee O God First Song of Isaiah: Is. 12:2-6 Second Song of Isaiah: Is. 55:6-11 Third Song of Isaiah: Is. 60:1-3, 11a, 14c,18-19

Psalm Day 9

NoonDay Psalms: 119:105-112; 113; 121; 126 Canticles: A Song of Praise (STYM, 29-34 Kyrie Pantocrator: A Song of Penitence, (Prayer of Manasseh, 1-2,4,6-7, 11) Evening: Psalms: 141, 110, 117, 127 Canticles: Magnificat: Luke 1:46-55 Song of Zechariah, Luke 1:68-79 A Song of the Lamb, Rev. 4:11, 5:10-13 The Song of the Redeemed, Rev. 15:3-4 Compline: Psalms 4, 63, 91, 134 Canticles: Song of Simeon, Luke 2:39-32 The Psalmathon One interesting way of celebrating the Psalms in a concentrated way is to have a Psalmathon a continuous responsive reading or singing of the Psalms from first to last. This would be particularly appropriate for use during a summer work camp or weekend retreat. In this practice, a small number of readers take shifts of 15-30 minutes and read tag-team style. It is also appropriate for use in a House of Prayer Burn during say a 72, hour Prayer Burn.
Psalm Day 10

The Psalms are our heritage as believers. In them we not only see Jesus revealed prophetically, but we meet him as he prays through us, for us and with us. Brothers and Sisters, this is a great privilege and a great heritage. Let us continue the tradition for the sake of Jesus, and for all those faithful Psalm singers who have gone before us. AMEN. Bibliography: Gelineau, Joseph. The Psalms, A New Translation, Singing Version. 1963 Paulist Press, New York. Lewis, CS. Reflections on the Psalms. 1986, Harcourt Inc. San Diego. Merton, Thomas. Bread in the Wilderness. 1953. The Liturgical Press. Collegeville 1979 Book of Common Prayer The Hymnal 1982

Psalm Day 11