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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Psalms

The Psalms are the masterwork of prayer in the Old Testament. The psalms present both the personal and communal aspects of prayer. They are suitable to men and women of every condition and time.

The Fathers of the church were firmly convinced that the Psalms speak of Christ. Jesus applied the psalms to himself when he said "Everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." (Lk 24:44)

They went further by adding that by praying the psalms not only is it Christ who is spoken to but it is Christ who speaks through us as the members of His body.

If prayer is our entering into communion with God then it is in the psalms where we find the most eloquent expression of that communion.

The psalms are the communal prayer of the Church manifested in the "Liturgy of the Hours." By praying the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day the entire Church enters into communion with Christ through the psalms.

The Psalter is the "school" that teaches us to trust in God. It is in the psalms, which cover every "condition and time," that we come into communion with god and learn to trust Him. Simply put, the psalms teach us how to pray. No matter what our present condition or circumstance we can find consolation in the psalms and the voice of Christ speaking to us.

How many psalms are in the Bible?


Are there different kinds of psalms?

Yes, Psalms of:

Praise, Thanksgiving, Lament (Sorrow), Wisdom, Instruction, Trust

Isn't a psalm really a song?

Yes, and the majority of the psalms were composed originally precisely for liturgical worship.

The psalms are God's gift to us.

They are God's way of reaching out to us, Jesus thirsts for us as we thirst for Him.

Prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours.

It is the heart that prays, and in the heart is where we encounter God. It is the place of covenant. Prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ.

Prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice holy God and in communion with Him. This is possible through our baptism which unites us with Christ. Christian prayer is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is His Body.

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