Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Devotion for today: Sing psalms of praise and petition

Today we look at the Responsorial Psalm, said or sung after the first reading at Mass.

Scripture for meditation: Ephesians 5:18-19
Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another (in) psalms and hymns and spiritual songs ….

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: 2579 David is par excellence the king "after God's own heart," the shepherd who prays for his people and prays in their name. His submission to the will of God, his praise, and his repentance, will be a model for the prayer of the people. His prayer, the prayer of God's Anointed, is a faithful adherence to the divine promise and expresses a loving and joyful trust in God, the only King and Lord. In the Psalms David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the first prophet of Jewish and Christian prayer. The prayer of Christ, the true Messiah and Son of David, will reveal and fulfill the meaning of this prayer.

I found the following explanation on the internet and I think it is quite good: The Psalms are prayers of Praise, Thanksgiving and Petition we inherited from the service of the synagogue and we pray them [recited or sung] after the first reading from Scripture in order to join prayer to instruction. The Psalm chosen usually echoes or "responds" to the message contained in the Scripture reading. Liturgical use of the Psalms dates from the time of Christ and His Apostles. The gospels tell us Jesus and His Apostles recited chants of praise (Psalms 113 through 118) during His last Passover meal, “Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Jesus also quoted His dying words from Psalm 22 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” The Book of Psalms consists of 150 sacred poems expressing virtually the full range of Israel's faith…. Mary and Joseph would have taught the Psalms to Jesus and they were committed to memory. Therefore, even if they were unable to attend temple, they would be able to worship the Lord by singing the Psalms. The tradition of singing prayers of thanksgiving to God can be traced back to the prophets of Israel, e.g. the prophetess Miriam (Exod. 15:20-21), Isaiah (Isa.26:1-6) and Ezekiel (Ezek. 33:32). Today when we either recite or sing the responsorial Psalm, we do so following St. Paul's dictum “give thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father” (Ephesians 5:20). http://icsalem.org/Mass_Topic_-_The_Psalms.pdf

My thoughts: The events of this past weekend in Connecticut have left us all shaken and confused. Our hearts are troubled and our spirits cannot rest. Sadness fills us all, and we feel united in grief with the victims’ families. Where can we go to put voice to our sadness and pleading for answers? Go to the Psalms. David captures the essence of sadness, joy, despair and promise in the Psalms. We hear them at Mass as pleadings, repentance, thankfulness and praise. We must always pay attention to the Psalm at Mass. It is a beautiful prayer which goes back and forth between the reader and the congregation, an antiphonal movement with roots in our Jewish ancestors. It was a common form of prayer for them, and one we retain in our Mass, to hear an exaltation and then to respond. In this troubled time, listen to the Psalms at Mass, and read them on your own. You will find a voice for your soul.

Letter from Archbishop Lori,
Former Bishop of Bridgeport
Read at all Masses today (December 16) at St. Rose of Lima Parish

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Along with you, and along with the rest of our nation and, indeed, the rest of the world, I was shocked and horrified to learn of what had taken place in Newtown so suddenly and terribly on Friday morning. I was in Rome for meetings, and it was early evening there when I heard.

Since that moment, my heart has been heavy, and I can't stop thinking about everyone in Newtown, especially the victims, the children, and their families. So I just wanted to say very sincerely and simply that I am close to all of you in my thoughts and prayers right now.

Coming at this time of year, so close to Christmas, the tragedy is all the more difficult to bear. I can only say that, especially for the sake of the victims and their families, we cannot allow ourselves to lose hope, but indeed, now more than ever, must strengthen one another through our friendships in Christ, and our unity of faith in him and his resurrection.

I have been thinking very much of the words of Blessed John Paul II, who once said, "To receive Jesus Christ means believing that in the history of humanity, even though it is marked by evil and suffering, the final word belongs to life, and to love, because God came to dwell among us, so we might dwell in Him."

So in these days of Advent, let us not forget that, as we read in Saint John's Gospel, "The light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Our lives will never be the same. But neither will we have to face a single day without the strength and peace that only Christ can give to us. In that strength and in that peace I am very much united with you today.

Most Reverend William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore http://www.bridgeportdiocese.com/index.php/fcc/article/letter_from_archbishop_lori

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