Praying the Psalms
Jesus is the eternal priest, the only true priest, and his prayer is the only true prayer: our prayer is necessarily prayed through Him and is lifeless without Him.
The prayer life of the People of God is most truly expressed in liturgical prayer and scriptural prayer. These have always been at the heart of Christian life. On this web page, VOTF will make available a selection of psalms and responses that seem most apt to healing the wounds inflicted on the Body of Christ in the fearful abuse of the young by clergy.
Why the Psalms?
Because the Book of Psalms is the hymn book of the People of God.
Created within Israel in its distant beginnings, the psalms with their passionate poetry so expressive of the needs and emotions both of the community and of the individual, are equally the foundational hymn book of the Catholic Church. Like any devout Jew, Jesus prayed them constantly—he died praying the words of Psalm 22—and we surely should follow him in this as in all else.
The first psalm we present is Psalm 102, which is also the fifth of the Seven Penitential Psalms and is described in the Hebrew text as “a prayer of someone afflicted, who in misfortune pours out sorrow before Yahweh.” It is arranged for a leader who announces the refrain and recites the verses, and a congregation who repeat the refrain throughout. We have chosen verse 28, the final verse, as the refrain, because it expresses poignantly the heart of our prayer during this crisis: Psalm 102
The first of the Penitential Psalms (#6) refers to both the sin and its consequences, the injuries it causes. The psalmist prays that both the personal sin and its social effects be taken away: Psalm 6
In Psalm 38 (third of the Penitital Psalms), the psalmist laments the physical and mental sickness his sin has brought as well as its effects on the community: Psalm 38