Sunday, August 21, 2016

St. Pius X has no Memorial this year, but...

Due to today being a Sunday, we don't do the memorial of St. Pius X.

But if you have the time, check out the Office of Readings, second reading for his memorial. It's all about the psalter and the value of praying the Psalms. There are a handful of readings throughout the year with this topic. They are priceless reminders of what it is we are doing when we observe the liturgical hours.  Since we layfolk have no canonical obligation to do this, it is easy to let this practice fall by the wayside when life gets busy, or when we get bored with it. (That happens to everyone now and then.) We need the occasional shot in the arm to get us over that hump of boredom or distraction. So look St. Pius X up in your breviary and get inspired.

Or if you have no breviary, just read it here:

The collection of psalms found in Scripture, composed as it was under divine inspiration, has, from the very beginnings of the Church, shown a wonderful power of fostering devotion among Christians as they offer to God a continuous sacrifice of praise, the harvest of lips blessing his name. Following a custom already established in the Old Law, the psalms have played a conspicuous part in the sacred liturgy itself, and in the divine office. Thus was born what Basil calls the voice of the Church, that singing of psalms, which is the daughter of that hymn of praise (to use the words of our predecessor, Urban VIII) which goes up unceasingly before the throne of God and of the Lamb, and which teaches those especially charged with the duty of divine worship, as Athanasius says, the way to praise God, and the fitting words in which to bless him. Augustine expresses this well when he says: God praised himself so that man might give him fitting praise; because God chose to praise himself man found the way in which to bless God.
  The psalms have also a wonderful power to awaken in our hearts the desire for every virtue. Athanasius says: Though all Scripture, both old and new, is divinely inspired and has its use in teaching, as we read in Scripture itself, yet the Book of Psalms, like a garden enclosing the fruits of all the other books, produces its fruits in song, and in the process of singing brings forth its own special fruits to take their place beside them. In the same place Athanasius rightly adds: The psalms seem to me to be like a mirror, in which the person using them can see himself, and the stirrings of his own heart; he can recite them against the background of his own emotions. Augustine says in his Confessions: How I wept when I heard your hymns and canticles, being deeply moved by the sweet singing of your Church. Those voices flowed into my ears, truth filtered into my heart, and from my heart surged waves of devotion. Tears ran down, and I was happy in my tears.
  Indeed, who could fail to be moved by those many passages in the psalms which set forth so profoundly the infinite majesty of God, his omnipotence, his justice and goodness and clemency, too deep for words, and all the other infinite qualities of his that deserve our praise? Who could fail to be roused to the same emotions by the prayers of thanksgiving to God for blessings received, by the petitions, so humble and confident, for blessings still awaited, by the cries of a soul in sorrow for sin committed? Who would not be fired with love as he looks on the likeness of Christ, the redeemer, here so lovingly foretold? His was the voice Augustine heard in every psalm, the voice of praise, of suffering, of joyful expectation, of present distress.


11 comments:

  1. Thanks Daria! I'm afraid my breviary doesn't come with the Office Reading, but I looked at the Universalis apps on my Cel and took the date back to 08/21/2015 and there it was!!!

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  2. I have a question:
    If I used a different translation of the Psalms would it still be considered praying with the Church? I'd like to use my RSV-2CE New Testament and Psalms, for a while at least. I know that the RSV is/was approved for liturgy, and it's considered a sound translation. I also know that as a lay person I'm under no obligation to pray it at all. I guess I'm just curious to know how much freedom we have before it becomes a private devotion.

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    1. Ed, I'm afraid I can't answer that in an authoritative way. On the surface of it, it makes sense that you can do this for private recitation. As you say, RSV is approved. I think they use it for the lectionary in Canada and probably England. But I have no Church document that addresses this question in any way.

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    2. Daria, Thanks for taking the time to answer. I'm going to try it for a bit, mainly to add variety. The only thing that's repetitive that doesn't seem to get down after a while is the Rosary. The mind works in weird ways sometimes!

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    3. ^Should say "get me down." Still struggle with just using the thumbs to type.

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    4. Ed, my (amateur layman's) understanding is that in order for the prayer to qualify as liturgical (as opposed to private devotion), it needs to follow either the authorized Latin, or a translation *approved for use in your region* by your local ordinary or bishops' conference. So, assuming you're in the U.S., that would mean the Grail Psalter as published in the current U.S. edition of the LOTH, or the Neo-Vulgate Psalter in Latin that the editio typica uses (available for free on the Vatican's website at http://www.vatican.va/archive/bible/nova_vulgata/documents/nova-vulgata_vt_psalmorum_lt.html).

      But if I were you, I wouldn't get too hung up on the distinction.

      FWIW, my personal preference when it comes to English psalters is the Coverdale Psalter in course from the Customary of Our Lady of Walshingham (the UK Anglican Ordinariate's approved Daily Office -- we're still waiting for an official Divine Worship: The Office here in the U.S.)

      (Also, the RSV-2CE is also the approved lectionary of the American Ordinariate!)

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    5. The Revised Grail Psalm translation has also been approved for liturgical use--although we won't see it in a USA-published breviary for a while. But giventhis approval, you could buy the psalter and juggle it with your breviary/breviary app, or buy the 2009 Kenyan breviary which already has the Revised Grail within.

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    6. I had a hunch that in order to be liturgy the approved texts have to be used. I tried Evening Prayer with the RSV-CE psalms a few times, and it seemed.... odd. There is a definite rhythm to the Grail psalms that is lacking in the RSV. Oh, and juggling more than one book...not for me. I also tried to just pray the psalms themselves, which was nice, but it's not the same as the official prayer and worship of the Church. It was interesting to try though, and there's now a new appreciation for the Grail Psalter.

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  3. That's especially appropriate since Pius X led the 1911 reforms that increased the use of the full psalter in the Breviary compared to how it had been before.

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    1. It's just sad that the baby (the 1,500-year-old Benedictine psalter arrangement) had to be thrown out with the bathwater (the overgrowth of Double-class feasts for every saint and their cousin, with proper offices that practically prevented the psalter from being recited in full each week).

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  4. EARTHQUAKE IN CENTRAL ITALY

    Hi Daria, please look at the mails I sent you. The Monks of Norcia are asking for prayers...

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