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 56–59 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.
what does it mean to you that God’s majesty knows no limits?
The theme of this lesson is taken from Psalm 8. Tami Palladino’s illustration captures a sense of the immensity of God’s Creation, which extends beyond earthly boundaries and even beyond the boundaries of the known universe. It comes as no surprise that Psalm 8 was the Scripture passage chosen in 1969 by Pope Paul VI to accompany American astronauts on their trip to the moon. Thousands of years after this Psalm was composed, its words continue to speak of the mystery surrounding the smallness of our human existence in contrast to the majesty of the God who created all things. What aspects of Creation most inspire you to praise God? Click on the image to enlarge Tami’s illustration, which appears on page 57 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church.
what is nature wearing?
The Psalms frequently are anthropomorphic, ascribing human attributes to God. In Psalm 65, however the Psalmist describes features of the earth in terms of festive human attire. What do these terms suggest about the how the Psalmist views nature? What do they suggest about the attitude we should adopt when worshiping God? Read the Gospel According to Matthew 6:29 to learn how Jesus builds on the Psalmist’s idea of nature’s clothing to teach his followers an important truth about God.
you could look it up—God has extended authority to his Son
It’s not difficult to see how Psalm 65 and Psalm 8 point ahead to the authority of Jesus Christ. To learn more about the authority given to Jesus, and to consider where you see it operating in your life, 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 each week, there’s a sign-up form next to the searchable archives.
WHAT DO YOU THINK about why God created the world?
The Psalms for Saturday Lauds (Week I), Psalm 65 and Psalm 8, combine to praise God for the many ways in which he cares for Creation.
? Without consulting the following citations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, do you know or can you guess the reason that God created the world?
read the Catechism—to learn two surprising things about Creation
Paragraph 760 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains Church teaching regarding the rather unexpected reason why God created the world. Many people assume that the world was created in a state of perfect completion, but paragraph 302 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches differently.
760 Christians of the first centuries said, “The world was created for the sake of the Church.” God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the “convocation” of men in Christ, and this “Convocation” is the Church. The Church is the goal of all things, and God permitted such painful upheavals as the angels’ fall and man’s sin only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the world: Just as God’s will is creation and is called “the world,” so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called “the Church.”
302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created “in a state of journeying” (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call “divine providence” the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection.
By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well.” For “all are open and laid bare to his eyes,” even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.
? What implications do these Catechism paragraphs have on the way that you view the Church and your relationship to it?
? What implications do they have on the way that you view Creation?
the popes inspire us—sovereignty of love
“A Sovereign Who Serves” on page 59 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church is an excerpt from a general audience in which Pope St. John Paul II reflected on the power that God has given men and women over the works of his hands. The Holy Father sees in this a foreshadowing of Jesus, a sovereign who consecrates himself in order to serve others.
a related Bible study—Psalm 8 as an apologetic argument
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews cites Psalm 8 as an argument that Christianity is superior to traditional Hebrew worship. The Turning to God’s Word Catholic Bible study The Letter to the Hebrews: An Explanation of the Mechanism of Our Salvation examines how it is that the death of Jesus Christ is able to open the door to the possibility of salvation for all men and women. This 23-week study has been granted an imprimatur and can be purchased from our website shop.
close with a Psalms-based prayer for Saturday Lauds (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 majestic God of the universe,
you help us to see evidence of your immense love for us
in the beauty and mystery of our natural surroundings.
Grant that we may appreciate and care for
these great gifts that you have given us.
We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ,
your greatest gift of all. Amen.
Lesson 15 Let My Prayer Be Fixed as Incense, Sunday 1st Vespers (Week II)—Psalm 141, Psalm 116B, and Psalm 16
Lesson 13 Our Help Is in the Name of the LORD, Friday Vespers (Week I)—Psalm 41, Psalm 124, Psalm 129, and Psalm 130
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