Sunday, February 18, 2007

Praying the psalms

Over the course of this school year, I've been acquainting myself with the psalms as prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours. I struggle with consistency in my prayer life and I find that the LH provides a necessary resource for praying each day, particularly Evening Prayer after the boys are asleep. (As my good wife remarked while paging through the prayer book, "It's just like a choose your own adventure book!") The nice thing about it is that the whole Church is invited to enter into this prayer together. So if the circumstances of life tie me up for a day and I miss praying, I know that the LH goes on around the globe and I can re-enter that channel of grace.

Christ has taught us the necessity of praying at all times without losing heart (Luke 18:1). The Church has been faithful in obeying this instruction; it never ceases to offer prayer, and makes this exhortation its own: ‘Through him (Jesus) let us offer to God an unceasing sacrifice of praise’ (Hebrews 15:15). The Church satisfies this requirement not only by the celebration of the Eucharist but in other ways also, especially through the Liturgy of the Hours, which is distinguished from other liturgical actions by the fact that it consecrates to God the whole cycle of day and night, as it has done from early Christian times.
(General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, 10)

I've admitted to myself that I'm a beginner in prayer (no heights of contemplation yet). So I'm working on the basics: regular vocal prayer. Father Thomas Dubay especially recommends the Liturgy of the Hours for this purpose in his book Prayer Primer. The LH also offers many gems for mediation from the scriptures which I find helpful in learning that next highest form of prayer. However, I've never studied the psalms before and needed some help understanding them.

Pope John Paul II began a series of catechesis on the psalms from Morning and Evening Prayer in 2001. After his death, Pope Benedict XVI completed the series, ending in 2006. All of the pope's audiences can be found online (great!), but only sorted by date, not topic (not great). While there is a book which compiles some of the talks, I searched in vain for an online compilation of the entire catechesis.

So, I did it myself. Here are the links to all the audiences during which the Holy Father (John Paul and Benedict) taught through the psalms for Evening Prayer. I'm working on Morning Prayer next. I hope you find it useful. Please let me know of any problems with the links.

God bless!

Vespers Psalms catechesis by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI

The Liturgy of the Hours online at

*****EDITTED 2/21/2007*****
The links for Lauds (Morning Prayer) are now finished. God bless!


MM said...

thanks :)

Surgeworks said...

I followed your post on Catholic Answers about praying the psalms and was intrigued so I followed the link to your blog. Thanks for those links and may I recommend another? Our ministry produces free audio LOTH at I hope you enjoy it because our 4 person ministry works hard to produce it.