January 21, 2022
Feast of Saint Agnes
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord,
Welcome to Disciples Together on the Way. This is our third and final week focusing on the theme of praise. In our first week, we learned how praise puts us into right relationship with God and, as a result, also into right relationship with our brothers and sisters. In week two, we learned to pray the Blessed Virgin Mary’s great canticle of praise, the Magnificat, and realized that through such docility in prayer, God can make mighty that what is presently lowly. This week, we turn our song of praise to the Book of Psalms.
The Book of Psalms contains 150 songs. Seventy-three of the Psalms are attributed to King David. The majority were composed for liturgical worship. Many of them are songs of praise and thanksgiving. So why pray the psalms? In short, because Jesus himself prayed the psalms and he is our model of prayer.
Even while dying on the cross, the psalms remained on the lips of our Blessed Lord. In the words of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And then from Psalm 31: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
As with Christ, so too with his Church. In Chapter 4 of the Acts of the Apostles, what language do the persecuted Christians employ to express their joy at the release of Peter and John? The Psalms! And, in particularly, Psalm 2, which reads:
“Why do the nations protest and the peoples conspire in vain? Kings on earth rise up and princes plot together against the LORD and against His Anointed One.”
After they prayed this psalm, we are told that the place where these early disciples were meeting was shaken; that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit; and that they then spoke the word of God boldly. That is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that:
“The Psalms constitute the masterwork of prayer in the Old Testament…Prayed and fulfilled in Christ, the Psalms are an essential and permanent element of the prayer of the Church. They are suitable for men of every condition and time.” (CCC 2596-7)
And so, to this week’s challenge: Over the next seven days, starting Sunday, I would like you to pray seven different psalms.
Each of these seven psalms is a beautiful song of praise. What is more, as you pray each psalm, I would like you to place yourself into the midst of the text. Place your own life, your own experiences, and those of the people around you, into those ancient yet timeless poems. Allow yourself to be inspired; to be helped; and to be healed, as you praise of God for all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do in your life. Here’s our list:
On Sunday, pray Psalm 19; Monday, Psalm 29; Tuesday, Psalm 33; Wednesday, Psalm 47; Thursday, Psalm 48; Friday, Psalm 65; and on Saturday conclude with Psalm 66. Those details are also attached below.
It has been rightly said that the Psalms are “a school of prayer.” If the public ministry of Christ was sustained by the Psalms and the evangelization efforts of the early Church was also fueled by the Psalms, then we too must pray the psalms if we are to be Christ’s disciples in contemporary society.
So, enjoy this week’s challenge as we continue our pilgrimage as Disciples Together on The Way. And May God bless in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
+ Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing
* The Seven Psalms:
Sunday, Psalm 19: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/psalms/19
Monday, Psalm 29: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/psalms/29
Tuesday, Psalm 33: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/psalms/33
Wednesday, Psalm 47: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/psalms/47
Thursday, Psalm 48: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/psalms/48
Friday, Psalm 65: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/psalms/65
Saturday conclude Psalm 66: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/psalms/66