Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thoughts on the Psalms by Pope Pius X

I found this interesting little bit in my research today. I thought it was quite thought beautiful.
-The Archer
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FROM THE BEGINNING of the Church the
divinely inspired psalms in the Bible have
had a remarkable influence in deepening the
devotion f the faithful as they offered to God
a continue sacrifice of praise, that is the
tribute of lips that acknowledge his name.
moreover, following the custom of the old
law, they have played a major part in the
sacred liturgy itself and in the divine office.
From this there derived what Saint Basil
calls ‘the voice of the Church’, and the
psalmody, which our predecessor Urban VIII
describes as ‘the daughter of the sacred
chant which is sung without ceasing before
the throne of God and the Lamb’, the sacred
chant which, as Saint Athanasius says,
teaches those whose primary concern is the
worship of God how they should praise him,
and in what words they can glorify him worthily.
Saint Augustine puts it beautifully: ‘To
show men how to praise him worthily, God
first praised himself; and since he has
deigned to praise himself, man has discovered
how to praise him.’

Moreover, the psalms have the power to fire
our souls with zeal for all the virtues. ‘All our
scripture, both Old and New Testaments, is
divinely inspired and is useful for teaching,
as the apostle says. But the book of psalms
is like a garden which contains the fruits of
all the other books, grows a crop of song
and so adds its own special fruit to the rest’
These are the words of Saint Athanasius,
and he goes on: ‘It seems to me that for him
who recites them the psalms are like a mirror,
in which a man may see himself and the
movements of his heart and mind and then
give voice to them.’

The Liturgical Year - Why Psalms?

Thus in his Confessions
Saint Augustine says: ‘I wept at the beauty
of your hymns and canticles, and was powerfully
moved at the sweet sound of your
Church’s singing. These sounds flowed into
my ears, and the truth streamed into my
heart: so that my feelings of devotion overflowed,
and the tears ran from my eyes, and
I was happy in them.’
Who can remain unmoved by the many
places in the psalms where the immense
majesty of God, his omnipotence, his inexpressible
holiness, his goodness, his mercy,
his other infinite perfections are so sublimely
proclaimed? Who is not similarly
stirred by the acts of thanksgiving for God’s
blessing, by the humble, trusting prayers for
favours desired, by the cries of repentance
of the sinful soul? Who is not fired with love
by the faithful portrait of Christ the Redeemer
whose voice Saint Augustine heard
in all the psalms, singing, sorrowing, rejoicing
in hope, sighing distress?

From the Apostolic Constitution on the
Psalter in the Divine Office

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