Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Comparing Psalm Translations- Grail vs. Revised Grail

There will be a new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours some time in the future, which will include a revision of the Grail Psalms that we currently have in place. (You can read about the proposed changes to the breviary here if you missed my post last November.) I already use the Revised Grail psalms when I pray, thanks to a breviary from  Kenya  purchased last year. I've written before about some of the positive features to this  new version of the psalms.

Often, I'll come upon a verse in the Revised Grail, and be taken aback, because it seems like something I'd never read before. I stop and compare the two translations. Occasionally this new version strikes me as odd, since, after all, I've been using the other one for decades. But most of the time the change seems so much better. It tells me much more about God than the current  version of the psalter.

Take, for example, Psalm 42, which we had at Lauds this morning. Verse 9 of the current version says,
by night I will sing to him, praise the God of my life.
in contrast, the Revised Grail version is:
by night his song is with me, prayer to the God of my life.

His song. A tiny change that says a lot. It jumped out at me because those two little words reminded me of what the Liturgy of the Hours is: the eternal praise of Jesus Christ to His Father. As the Church puts it:
 "Christ Jesus, High Priest of the new and eternal covenant, taking human nature, introduced into this earthly exile the hymn of praise that is sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven." [quoting  Vatican II Decree on the Liturgy] From then on in Christ's heart the praise of God assumes a human sound in words of adoration, expiation, and intercession, presented to the Father by the Head of the new humanity, the Mediator between God and his people, in the name of all and for the good of all. (from the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours)

So three cheer for the Revised Grail Psalms, and here's hoping that the Holy Spirit will guide the US Bishops' worship committee to complete their work quickly and well!

If you are curious about the Revised Grail Psalms, you can view them on this website for free. Or you can purchase them in book form.