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 12–15 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 is the significance of being in the line of Melchizedek?
Tami Palladino’s illustration on the left shows Melchizedek, the priest-king of ancient Salem who makes one of his two Old Testament appearances in Psalm 110:4, which describes a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek. Click on the image to enlarge Tami’s illustration, which appears on page 13 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church. This lesson’s title—”You Are a Priest Always”—focuses attention on how this mysterious figure of Melchizedek sets the stage for the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The Turning to God’s Word related Catholic Bible study The Letter to the Hebrews: An Explanation of the Mechanism of Our Salvation explains how Psalm 110:4 and other key Old Testament passages establish the superiority of the Christian faith over traditional Hebrew worship practices.
WHAT DO YOU THINK “fear of the LORD” means?
A few years back, many catechists began replacing “fear of the LORD” with less challenging language. “Awe” was a popular substitution, and recognizing the awesomeness of God is indeed an important aspect of developing an intimate relationship with God. It’s worth noting, however, that in the Book of the Psalms and in many other places in Scripture, the biblical authors used original words that are most closely translated as “fear of the LORD.” Psalm 111:10 highlights fear of the LORD as the beginning of wisdom, which the Psalmist appears to assume is a desirable thing. You can visit the Lost in Translation archives for information about the linguistic roots of the phrase fear of the LORD.
? Consider the pros and cons of possessing wisdom. What do you think might be the greatest drawback to being thought of as wise?
? Solomon is the biblical figure most frequently associated with the idea of wisdom. Refer to the First Book of the Kings 3:1–28 to describe how Solomon received wisdom and the ways in which it served him.
? Then refer to the First Book of the Kings 11:1–13 to learn what about Solomon’s life displeased God. What explanation can you offer for why all of Solomon’s wisdom failed to prevent him from eliciting God’s anger?
? How do you think it is that awe might be related to wisdom?
? Consider how it is that fear of the LORD can lead to wisdom.
? Who is the wisest person you know?
? What can you learn from that person?
the popes inspire us—docility is the root of hope
Don’t miss reading “Beatitude” on page 15 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church. In this general audience, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI shares his reflections about what he understands the term “fear of the LORD” to mean for Christians. The Holy Father also teaches about the particular blessing promised in Psalm 112 for the person who fears the LORD.
you could look it up—what does it mean to be blessed?
Do you want to learn how the concept of being blessed that appears in many of the Psalms and elsewhere in the Bible originally referred to more than the pronouncement of kind words? 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 importance of just behavior
In Psalm 112:3, the Psalmist praises the justice practiced by those who fear the LORD. The importance God places on just behavior permeates the Book of the Psalms. The word justice derives from the Greek language, but the Hebrew word for justice carries a slightly different shade of meaning. You can learn more by reading the vocabulary box on page 15 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church.
close with a Psalms-based prayer for Sunday 2nd 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, you are judge and ruler of all nations.
Bring about an increase in wisdom and peace in our world
through an increase in respect for your divine power.
Grant us steadfast hearts that we may never neglect
to praise your majestic and glorious deeds.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ,
who will come to judge the living and the dead. 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