“The Beloved Waiting in the Heart of Darkness” Part III
A Quick Note on the Psalms
by Kaitlyn Willy, Chaplain’s Apprentice
The last of my series on the retreat. Originally posted at http://butlercatholiccommunity.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-quick-note-on-psalms.html
First of all, thank you to everyone who sent me supportive emails and texts after my last blog. I am still processing my grief. I appreciate continued prayers.
I wanted to talk about one more thing that happened at my retreat, a tool that I believe many of us forget about when it comes to praying through darkness: the psalms.
During my first Echo Summer, before I came to Butler, I took a class on the Psalms. Ever since, I have loved them. And really, why shouldn’t we love the psalms? They are the prayer, not only of Christians, but of our Jewish brothers and sisters as well. Jesus himself was taught and prayed the Psalms. If they’re good enough for Christ, they’re good enough for me.
Throughout the retreat, we kept coming back to the psalms. We talked about how the psalms can give words to our emotions. There are so many about so many different things. There are psalms of lament and psalms of praise. Some end happily, some are just angry all the way through. Our director of formation reminded us that when praying a psalm of lament, it’s always good to pair it with a psalm of hope. Or, you can do one that covers both. My personal favorites are 23 and 42. Then, rarely, when I’m really angry and refuse to be consoled, I go to 77.
Since the early church, it has been a tradition to sing the psalms daily. Monks used to have to memorize the psalter before they were allowed to officially join the monastery. St. Augustine says: “Singing is for the one who loves.” The Psalms were the most common songs of the early church and Augustine wrote hundreds of commentaries on them. I’m not certain, but I think that the only thing in scripture with more commentaries than the psalms is the Lord’s Prayer.
So, my invitation to you is to open up your Bible to the Psalms and give them a try. They’re good consolation in times of distress.