Wednesday, April 23, 2014

50 Days of Easter - Day 4

Today, we turn to Psalm 118 (117*), the great Paschal Psalm of the Psalter. It is a song of triumph, of praise to God for deliverance from one's enemies. Several verses have been incorporated into the Church's liturgy (we'll look at these over the next few days).

Read through the Psalm in one sitting. The pace increases and swells. The translation in the Liturgy of the Hours comes from the Grail Psalter. The Revised Grail Psalter is now authorized for use in the liturgy. (However, the liturgical books have not yet been updated, so this isn't the version clergy and others who pray the Liturgy of the Hours regularly actually pray. Yes it's terribly confusing.) Here is a section:

I called to the LORD in my distress;
he has answered and freed me.
The LORD is at my side; I do not fear.
What can mankind do against me?
The LORD is at my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on my foes. 
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man;
it is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes. 
The nations all encircled me;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
They encircled me all around;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
They encircled me about like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns. 
In the name of the LORD I cut them off.
I was thrust down, thrust down and falling,
but the LORD was my helper.
The LORD is my strength and my song;
he was my savior.
Every Psalm havs a Messianic quality. Some are explicitly Messianic, that is, referring in some explicit way to the Messiah (Such as Psalm 110), whereas others are implicity. The Church understands them as being the prayers of Christ, either the Head, or the Body. Reading this Psalm, one can hear Jesus praying to His Father in the events of the Passion.
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount the deeds of the LORD.
The LORD punished me, punished me severely,
 but did not hand me over to death. 
Open to me the gates of justice:
I will enter and thank the LORD.
This is the LORD’s own gate,
where the just enter.
I will thank you, for you have answered,
and you are my savior. 
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done,
a marvel in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice in it and be glad.
Pray the whole Psalm today!

*An interesting note on the numbering of Psalms from Jimmy Akin.

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