Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
A LENTEN PSALMODY
By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB
This Wednesday, we once again begin our sacred season of Lent. As a parish, I am asking each of us to journey with the Psalms, for they voice our dialogue with God and speak of the intimacy between God’s creation and its Creator.
Over the last few months, we have begun to quietly reintroduce ourselves to the Liturgy of the Hours, which centers around the Psalms. They are shouts of gladness, cries of lamentation, offerings of praise, prayers for our community, invitations to repentance and so much more. The Psalms are unlike the rest of the Bible, for they do not advance the story of our salvation; rather they offer the people a chance to respond to all that God has done. They give us permission to have a voice.
St. Basil writes, “A psalm implies serenity of soul; it is the author of peace, which calms bewildering and seething thoughts. For, it softens the wrath of the soul, and what is unbridled it chastens. A psalm forms friendships, unites those separated, conciliates those at enmity. Who, indeed, can still consider as an enemy him with whom he has uttered the same prayer to God?
So that psalmody, bringing about choral singing, a bond, as it were, toward unity, and joining the people into a harmonious union of one choir, produces also the greatest of blessings, charity. A psalm is a city of refuge from the demons, a means of inducing help from the angels, a weapon in fears by night, a rest from toils by day, a safeguard for infants, an adornment for those at the height of their vigor, a consolation for the elders, a most fitting ornament for women.
It peoples the solitudes; it rids the market place of excesses; it is the elementary exposition of beginners, the improvement of those advancing, the solid support of the perfect, the voice of the Church. It brightens the feast days; it creates a sorrow which is in accordance with God.
For, a psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense.”
So as we begin this Lenten season, let us begin by uniting our voice with the voices of others; let us begin with the Psalms.