Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Psalms Are Songs of Faith - Part 5

Continuing sharing this emphasis on psalms (which began here). It is not enough just to know these things we have learned about the psalms. We must consider what it means for all of us and for us individually.

Faith becomes especially evident when people assemble for worship. The worship experience assumes faith. Our words for those who gather for worship are "the assembly of believers." Psalms achieve their ultimate richness when sung by the community of believers. No one person exhausts the wealth of a psalm, nor does any psalm exhaust the wealth of a faith community.

When Christians gather together to sing the psalms, they realize the significance of the Church and witness their faith to the world. These "faith hymns" are not only a glad sound for the world, which may stand back in open-mouthed disbelief. By the power of the Spirit these songs forge deeper belief in the hearts of the singers.

It is the will of Jesus that the attitudes of the psalms will penetrate the hearts of the singers and move them to witness their faith to others. Psalm singing is not meant to be an aesthetic pastime for the esoteric, nor a mere emotional jag. The psalms stand on the plains of battle. They are more than sweet sounds to charm the heavens, or emotional releases for the indiscriminate. The psalms serve as a battle cry to stir the heart of the Christian offering Christ's love and mercy to a reluctant world.

For Dialogue
What has been your experience with the psalms? When you participate in the responsorial psalms at Mass, what impact do they have on you. How much do you experience the psalms as prayer?

What is your favorite form of prayer? How do the psalms compare to it? What would you like to know about the psalms?

Since the psalms are a revealed form of prayer, why might they be a special source of faith for you? If you love the psalms, which ones are your favorites and why?

Lord, show me how to pray your psalms with a fervent heart and a willing mind. Remind me that Jesus and Mary regularly prayed the psalms. Open their treasures of prayer to me.

The book of Psalms is a complete gymnasium for the soul, a stadium for all the virtues. All who read it aloud may find the cure for their own individual findings.
St. Ambrose
Fr. McBride's Guide to the Bible by Alfred McBride, P. Praem

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