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 40–43 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.
how is wakefulness an important Christian trait?
Tami Palladino’s illustration depicts the theme from Psalm 57 that is the basis for the lesson’s title—”The Soul’s Awakening.” Wakefulness is a fitting theme for Psalms prayed at Lauds (Morning Prayer). The word Lauds comes from the Latin verb laudate, which means praise, a key element found in all of the prayers in the Book of the Psalms. Biblical wakefulness, however, involves more than praise and much more than merely not falling asleep. Click on the image to enlarge Tami’s illustration, which appears on page 41 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church.
WHAT DO YOU THINK about staying alert?
Make a list of all the ways that you can think of in which wakefulness plays an important part in God’s plan.
? What point to you think that Jesus is trying to make on the occasions when he urges his followers to remain awake?
? How might adhering to Jesus’ instruction help you in your own life?
? What can you do to be more alert to specific Christian behavior that God may be calling you to practice?
you could look it up—Israel would not obey God
In Psalm 81:12, the Psalmist bemoans the bad behavior of God’s people. The Old Testament repeatedly identifies a great many forms of bad behavior as idolatry. To learn about the somewhat surprising link between sexual immorality and idolatry, 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—God isn’t talking to himself
In “God’s Word Is Not a Monologue” on page 43 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church, Pope St. John Paul II explains how the Hebrew religious practices upon which Christianity is based depended upon a loving conversation in which the LORD speaks and humanity responds. What were the last loving words you expressed to God?
a related video—prayer is a dialogue
At Turning to God’s Word, we’re especially fond of lectio divina, which is built on the understanding of prayer as a dialogue with God. You can read some of our thoughts about lectio divina or watch Matthew’s video on the topic, The Bible as the Living Word of God. In “God’s Word Is Not a Monologue” on page 43 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church, Pope St. John Paul II offers his thoughts about how Psalm 81 reinforces the importance of listening to God with the obedience of faith.
read the Catechism—do you know how idolatry threatens Christians today?
The Scriptures are replete with warnings against idolatry. Many Christians assume that concepts such as idolatry and heresy are things of the past, and nothing about which anyone living in our day and age need be concerned. In reality, idolatry (and heresy as well) is alive and well, and perhaps a bigger threat to the Church than ever. Do you know what constitutes some modern idols? If not, paragraph 2113 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church can shed some light on the topic.
2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Many martyrs died for not adoring “the Beast,” refusing even to stimulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.
a related Bible study—Jesus borrows Old Testament symbolism
“Two Powerful Biblical Symbols” on page 42 of Sing a New Psalm: Communicating with God Through the Prayers of the Church looks at two religious symbols found in Psalm 80. In the New Testament, Jesus also picks up the images of the shepherd and the vine in order to explain God’s relationship with his people. The Turning to God’s Word Catholic Bible study The Gospel According to John: An Encounter with Grace & Truth offers in-depth analysis of both images. This 25-lesson study has been granted an imprimatur and can be purchased from our website shop.
close with a Psalms-based prayer for Thursday 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 God, you are ever-watchful over your faithful people.
Help us to remain vigilant in our spiritual lives
so that we may be ready to heed your voice
and unreservedly follow your instructions whenever you call.
We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who never wavered from doing your will. 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. Information about beginning a group study can be found at start a Bible study. Tami, Matthew, and I are available to answer questions about the Turning to God’s Word method and to offer support. Use this email to contact us directly. —Jennifer