The psalms are prayer, in which God Himself teaches us how to pray; for they were written under tile direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Herein we have the answer to the question: "What prayers shall I say?" Why the prayers of Holy Scripture itself! "There is no need to scrape together endless man-made prayers when Sacred Scripture frames tile very thoughts of God." The psalms are the vital presentation of God's inspirations and man's aspirations; they are the ideal manifestations of man's hunger and thirst after God and of God's loving response to man. Of great age, they are ever new and appropriate. They are as satisfying and stimulating to us of the twentieth century as they were to men before the birth of Christ and down through the Apostolic and Middle Ages.
In His Apostolic Letter authorizing the new translation of the Psalms, The Vicar of Christ writes: "Following the example of her Divine Redeemer and His Apostles, the Church, from her earliest beginnings, has made constant use of these illustrious songs, which the holy prophet David and other sacred writers composed under the inspiration of the Divine Spirit. They occupy a place apart in the official prayer that priests recite each day in praise of God's goodness and majesty, for their own needs, and for those of the universal Church and of the entire world."
[The] book of Psalms is for all times, all circumstances and all needs. It is for everybody. The psalms rhyme with every mood of man. No longing of the soul, no craving of the mind, no bodily want exists which cannot be expressed in the sublime phrases of the psalms. Prayers in the morning, during the day, for guidance in work, of repentance for sin, of thanksgiving, of adoration, prayers for loved ones and for all the world, prayers in the evening, prayers in time of trouble or sickness and countless others are to be found in this Book of Psalms. This perfect Prayer Book was the book of praise and prayer used by the ancient Jews in tile worship of the Temple and in that of the home. It was the prayer book of Our Lord and Our Lady, of tile Apostles and the first Christians, of all the Popes from St. Peter to [the current Pope], of all the Blessed from St. Stephen to Mother Cabrini, of the clergy and the laity of the ages.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass enshrines any quotations from the Book of Psalms. Hence the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrifice of Praise, which Is the Divine Office, are closely allied, so that the Missal and the Psalm Book are companion-volumes. As members of Holy Mother Church, all Catholics share in the privilege and duty of adoring God through Christ. Let us then offer our praises and prayers to God in the spirit of Holy Mother Church and in active union with her perfect worship by making use of that divinely- Inspired volume which she has been using for two thousand years, the Book of Psalms. Praying the psalms unites us with the unending and perfect p raise and prayer of heaven and earth. The Psalter is truly the primary and best Catholic prayer book.
Rev. Joseph B. Frey; July 16, 1947.
From the same author, see the Prayer Guide for the Psalms, part one, and part two.
This page is the responsibility of Rev. Roger J. Smith, pastor of
Sacred Heart Catholic
Church and St. Yves Mission.
Be sure to look at the complete list of all the pages that the parish sponsors at the main index, or site map. Especially, if you did not arrive here from our page on prayer, look at Awaken to prayer: How to pray as a Catholic authored by Rev. Roger J. Smith. Some of the contents and supportive pages are:
Pages at our site on prayer: