Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Sacraments in Psalm 23 + weekly Q&A

Welcome, new blog followers Karinann and Brian Eugene Lim, OP.

Just had to share with you this amazing post about the allegorical meaning of Psalm 23. It's by the astute and interesting Stacy Trasancos. Here's a sample:

 Liturgical historians say that the psalm was sung by the newly-baptized as they processed in the Paschal night, what we now call the Easter Vigil, into the church where they were about to receive their first communion. It is a summary of Christian initiation, the process they used then, the process we use now. This psalm of the Old Testament is a typological interpretation of the progression of the Sacraments of Initiation.
Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion are all represented in it. It is a catechesis...
The shepherd is of course a reference to Christ. The pasture is the fresh and green words of scripture that nourishes the hearts of believers and gives them spiritual strength, a place of repose. The cool, still water is the water of Baptism where sin is destroyed and a new creature is born. The sacraments, being protective, lead on a sure path safe from fear or harm from demons.

And now, it's weekly Q&A time. Although you may ask breviary-related questions after any post, this one is particularly dedicated to that purpose. Just help yourself to a comment box.

13 comments:

  1. Why isn't Psalm 23 used in the LOTH?

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    1. It is, but not in Morning or Evening Prayer. It is part of Daytime Prayer on Sundays of Weeks II and IV. Also, in Daytime Prayer for the feast of Corpus Christi.

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    2. Thanks! I forgot to check my Daytime Prayer!

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  2. Thank you so much Daria. A copy of your wonderful book, an answer to my own prayers, now resides on Kindle so I can start reading it right away. Thank you again.

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  3. Hi Daria, can you or your readers can answer this question, and if you've already answered it, I apologize for asking it again: Should a person make the sign of the cross when praying the Glory Be?

    The research I've done online suggests that crossing/not crossing oneself during this prayer is largely based on geography. Some parts of the world do it, others do not.

    Thank you for answering.

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    1. The traditional rubric for the Glory Be is to bow. This is in honor of the Trinity. Even during the opening hymn, if the last verse metions the Trinity--and most of them do--you should bow whenever you hear "Father Son and Holy Spirit" or words to that effect. This is, by the way, a slight, head and shoulders bow. You don't have to bow at the waist.

      I'm not sure where the local practice of crossing for each Glory Be comes from. Perhaps if the group who does this is influenced by the eastern rite, which does lots of crossing during the divine liturgy (mass). I've never witnessed eastern rite liturgical hours being recited, so this is only a guess.

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    2. I agree with Daria (who wouldn't? :).

      Benedictines bow at the Gloria Patri, low enough that they could touch their knees (and some do, to make sure they're going low enough, or for uniformity, or just to get a good stretch).

      However deeply one bows, it's normally done during the time it takes to finish mentioning the Names of the Three Persons. In hymns, sometimes that's the whole final stanza, or just one or two. I agree that crossing oneself (while of course there's nothing wrong with it) isn't normally part of Western tradition in the Gloria Patri, but it might be done frequently in Byzantine or Eastern Orthodox liturgy at the Gloria Patri or its equivalent.

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    3. And by "one or two," I meant to say one or two lines of the final stanza. Often, its three lines.

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  4. Thank you for taking the time to respond and for your help in clarifying this issue, Daria and Scott. I believe you are probably correct about the influences of crossing oneself coming from the eastern rite and, as Scott points out, there's nothing wrong with it. When questioned about it, our parish priest mentioned that crossing oneself was mostly a monastic practice, possibly referring to the Benedictines(?), as Scott pointed out.

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  5. Just a short question about the Revised Grail Psalms translation - do you know why "Zion" has been revised to "Sion" (Psalm 9 and throughout the Revised Grail translation)? The RSV,NRSV,JB,NJB,NAB,Roman Missal, etc. all use the traditional spelling, "Zion"?

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    1. I don't know exactly why Revised Grail went with "Sion", except that this is how it is rendered in Latin, which has no letter Z. If you look at Latin texts, like the Easter sequence (Laude Sion) you'll see this. And--here's another guess--the psalms are chanted when monks and nuns pray the hours. Maybe those with a fine musical ear would find the voiced "z-z-z" sound less attractive than a "s-s-s". But that's just guess.

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    2. Thanks Daria. I believe you identified the right answer. The Vulgate translates "Zion" as "Sion". Also, congratulations on being #1 with your book on praying the Hours. The book is excellent and is not surprising to me that anyone who wishes to enter more deeply into the Psalms through praying the Hours would need and want a copy of this book. Getting around the brievary is now much easier and I feel I'm really praying the Office with the Church. Alas, your next book has a hard act, if not an impossible act, to follow.

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    3. Thanks, Mike. If there is a next book, it will be on a totally different topic, so it would be hard to compare it with the current book.
      By the way, looking at my breviary--the African one which uses the Revised Grail--I see that the Z has been put back in Zion.
      So I guess that might be under discussion as the US bishops put our new translation together: "To Z or not to Z, that is the question!"

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