Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God
Through the Prayers of the Church
This online supplemental material coordinates with the lesson that can be found on pages 52–55 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church. The study is based on The Revised Grail Psalms, the English translation of the Psalms approved by the Church for liturgical use. In addition to differences in wording of the biblical texts, other translations also may vary in the way that they number some Psalms and verses.
welcome to our study of the Book of the Psalms
We invite groups and individuals doing this 28-lesson Turning to God’s Word Catholic Bible study to take advantage of our supplemental online study pages. Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church has been granted an imprimatur and can be purchased from our website shop. If you have a question for the author, click on the “ask us your question” button on our supplemental pages.
the name of the LORD can be seen as well as heard
Tami Palladino’s drawing for this lesson is formed from titles for God found in the Book of the Psalms, and it reflects the lesson title—”Our Help Is in the Name of the LORD.” Click on the image to enlarge Tami’s illustration, which appears on page 53 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church. Tami relied on the use of white space to connect these Old Testament titles of God with the New Testament sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus, something that’s readily apparent even in the thumbnail version of her illustration.
WHAT DO YOU THINK about calling on God’s name?
? In Psalm 124, what expectations do you think that the Psalmist has about how the name of the LORD can help him?
? What might make the LORD’s name carry so much power?
? When in the past have you consciously called upon the name of the LORD?
? What situation in your life right now might improve if you called upon the name of the LORD?
? Which of God’s titles best fits what you know about God’s current action in your own life?
the Divine Praises
Many Catholics are familiar with the Divine Praises, which incorporate God’s holy name and often are recited following Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. This litany may be prayerfully recited at any time, however. Not all Catholics realize that the Divine Praises were written with the specific purpose of serving as reparation for blasphemy and profane language. One Catholic we know is in the habit, when others take the Lord’s name in vain, of immediately responding with “Blessed be God,” the first words of the litany. Another person recites the first two praises—”Blessed be God; blessed be his holy name”—when tempted to utter profanities. The entire litany can be found on page 52 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church. Consider some ways in which you might include the Divine Praises in your prayer life.
you could look it up—let’s look at this idea of God’s name
Psalm 124 addresses issues relevant to the power of God’s name. To learn more about the significance that Old Testament men and women associated with a name, read Lost in Translation, an online column in which Turning to God’s Word author Matthew Phelps helps readers connect with ancient ideas expressed in the original Scriptures. New entries are posted on Tuesdays. If you’d like to receive Matthew’s comments about biblical languages by email each week, there’s a sign-up form next to the searchable archives.
the popes inspire us—a Psalm to pray in times of distress
Psalm 41, in which the Psalmist is besieged by false friends, served as inspiration for “Prayer of a Man Betrayed” on page 52 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church. In this general audience, Pope St. John Paul II reflects on the strong hope expressed by the Psalmist even when facing extreme hostility from those he once counted among his friends.
read the Catechism—a preferential option for the poor
The opening verses of Psalm 41 support the Church’s longstanding preferential option for the poor. What blessings are promised in Psalm 41 to those who show love for the poor? Paragraph 1435 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that showing special regard for the poor can be considered an act of penance.
1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.
DO YOU KNOW how our relationship with Christ can be weakened or lost?
See paragraph 1420 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
DO YOU KNOW how the sacrament of Reconciliation brings about healing?
Refer to paragraphs 1468 and 1469 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn what the Church teaches.
DO YOU KNOW the theology behind how the second sacrament of healing works?
The answer can be found in paragraph 1499 of Catechism of the Catholic Church.
DO YOU KNOW one positive effect that can come about as a result of illness?
See paragraph 1501 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
another penitential Psalm
Another link to penance in this lesson appears in the choice of Psalm 130 as one of the Psalms to be prayed at Friday Vespers (Week I). Psalm 130, often referred to as De Profundis (“out of the depths”) from the Latin translation of its opening words, is considered one of the seven penitential Psalms. What do you think of when you consider that the Psalmist is addressing God “out of the depths”? (All seven penitential Psalms are listed at the bottom of page 36 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church.)
close with a Psalms-based prayer for Friday Vespers (Week I)
Many of our Catholic study groups like to conclude their discussions with a prayer based on the scriptural focus of their lesson. If you’re uncomfortable composing your own Bible-based prayers, you can follow our four easy steps. If you prefer, you can pray any of the Psalms in this lesson, or you can use the following short prayer.
O God of heaven and earth,
you hear the prayers of those who call on your name.
Raise the spirits of all those suffering depression.
Come to the aid of all who have been betrayed
by those they trusted.
Show your loving mercy to those who hope in you.
We ask these things in the name of of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
start a Turning to God’s Word Bible study
Thank you for your interest in Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church. A wealth of information about beginning a Turning to God’s Word individual or group Bible study can be found on this website at start a Bible study. Tami, Matthew, and I are available to answer your questions about Turning to God’s Word and to offer support. You may use this email to contact us directly. —Jennifer