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Posted November 3, 2015

Book: The Psalms: Heartbeat of Life and Worship
Author: Brother Benedict Janecko, O.S.B.
St. Vincent Abbey, Latrobe, PA. 2007. Pp. 96

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

This booklet tries to capture some of this variety as it reflects on the creature's relationship with God, the Totally Other. Different aspects and faces of the creature's being in the world and involvement in a life with God are mirrored here. Our openness to awe and wonder in nature Ps 29, to God's acting in history Ps 78, to God's acting within ourselves Ps 8, are areas of revelation. The limits of the human conditions, the pits Pss 88 and 130, sin, repentance, forgiveness Ps 51, abandonment Ps 22, anger, hatred, and vengeance Ps 109 and Ps 137 receive their attention. The creature's search for God Pss 42, 43, 63 and 84, and experience as a wayfarer and pilgrim on the earth Pss 120 to 134 are expressed. The creature as worshiper and liturgical animal who scales the hill Zion to offer sacrifice and praise Pss 15 and 24 is depicted. The enthronement Pss 93, 96, 97, and 99 royal Ps 2, and messianic psalms remind the creature of personal worth and dignity as royal person, a creature to be trusted. A fitting conclusion to the work is beautiful hymn to creation Ps 104 and a doxology to end all doxologies, the close of the psalter Ps. 150.

An Excerpt from the book:

Praise the Lord, all you nations;
Give glory, all you peoples!
The Lord's love for us is strong;
The Lord is faithful forever.

The brevity of this song should not deceive us. This hymn of praise, this doxology of all nations, is just one of many songs of praise in the psalter, the Book of Praise.

This shortest psalm contains all the elements of praise: the invitation, as well as reasons and motives. Verse one invites all peoples to praise the Lord. Gentiles are included as well as the people of Israel. The psalm is ecumenical in nature and no one is excluded. The spirit of this psalm is reminiscent of Isaiah 2 when all nations in days to come shall stream toward the mountain of the Lord, toward Zion, toward Jerusalem, the holy city and the city of peace.

Table of Contents:

An invitation to praise God Ps 117

An invitation to choose: Ps 1

Awe and wonder, the Lord of the storm Ps 29

God acts in history Ps 78

The trusted creature Ps 8

Laments, the pits: Pss 88 and 130

Repentant creature, forgiving creator Ps 51

Abandoned creature P 22

Creature capable of hatred and vengeance Pss 109 and 137

Creature as God searcher Pss 42, 43, 63, 84

Creature as wayfarer, pilgrim psalms Pss 120-134

Liturgical creatures Pss 15 and 24

Worshiping creatures Pss 93, 96, 97, 99

Royal psalms, theology fit for a king Ps 2

Creatures of praise Ps 104

Doxology Ps 150

Suggested readings