Saturday, January 15, 2011

Revised Grail Psalms Review

"The Lord is my shepherd:
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me;
he revives my soul.

He guides me along the right path
for the sake of his name.
Though I should walk in the valley
of the shadow of death,
no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
Your crook and your staff will give me comfort.

You have prepared a table before me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord's own house shall I dwell
for length of days unending."
- Psalm 23 (Revised Grail Psalms)

So there you have it, Psalm 23 of the Revised Grail Psalms. As many of you know, the USCCB decided to go with the Revised Grail Psalms for all future liturgical books. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments gave its recognitio last March, so any future editions of liturgical books, like the Liturgy of the Hours, will contain this Psalter.

I received this lovely little paperback Revised Grail Psalms yesterday, and have spent some time looking at some of my favorite Psalms. The book comes with a copy of the recognitio from the Vatican, a short foreword by Cardinal George, and a very helpful introduction by Abbot Gregory J. Polan OSB of Conception Abbey. This 11 page introduction gives not only an informative history of the Grail Psalms going back to the 1963 edition, but also discusses why the Psalms are so important to Christian prayer. Abbot Polan rightly states: "How often in this quest do we find ourselves struggling to find words to express the manifold movements of the human heart! The Psalms provide a way into a unique chamber of the heart where one stands most free and open to God (xi)." I love the Psalms like many of you, so when I am looking at a particular translation usually the Psalms are the first place I go.

This new Psalter will read fairly close to the original 1963 edition, although there will be some noticeable differences. The Revised Grail Psalms follows the principles of the document Liturgiam Authenticam. This will become immediately noticeable when one looks at Psalm 8:5, where the more messianic "son of Man" translation is used. The primary source for the Psalter is Masoretic Text, but they do refer to the Septuagint and Vulgate when necessary.

Overall, this is a fine little book. Certainly those of you who love the Psalms and are daily readers of the Liturgy of the Hours, this book is for you. Anyone else who is interested in getting a preview of what Psalms will be sung at Mass in the future should also consider picking up a copy. Copies can be purchased online at the Printery House site in both a standard paperback edition, as well as a singing version.


rolf said...

This is a very nice translation of Psalm 23, it flows very nicely!

Esteban Vázquez said...

A lovely little rendition, but I'm not sure how I feel about any crook giving me comfort.

Regrettably, it is unlikely that this would be suitable for Orthodox liturgical use, but I will order a copy for personal use forthwith -- the singing version, of course, because I'd like to read the Psalms aloud using the stress marks!

Matt said...

I'm glad there is a new version out, copyright restrictions not withstanding...

In this Psalm I really dislike the "fresh and green" rendering. The rest is ok.

Diakonos said...

I am so confused....I thought the Psalms in the NABRE were also this same Grail Psalm translation which got liturgical approval last year.

So in the USA do we have these translations: 1. Psalms in present Divine Office 2. Psalms in NABRE 3. Psalms in next edition Divine Office?

Timothy said...


The old Grail Psalms are for the current liturgy of the hours, the new Grail Psalms are for the Mass at some point and a future revision of the Liturgy of the Hours, and the NABRE Psalms are only for the NABRE. So yes.

Anonymous said...

Yet another reason why the NABRE doesn't necessarily need to change to the liturgical NT readings. Because of the Grail Psalter we still would not a single Bible translation that matches what we hear at Mass. I really don't understand why the Bishops don't at least approve the use of the NABRE (OT, Psalms, NT, and Gospels) as an alternative reading at Mass so that at least there might be an option of fulfilling the Vatican II desire to create a single translation for the people to hear, read, study, and memorize.

Nevertheless, as a convert I am very familiar with having multiple translations at use at all times. Protestants have been doing it this way for centuries.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the typos. Its been a long day.


losabio said...

It looks like you can view the Psalms online on GIA's website if you wanted to check out a certain Psalm.

Keep up the good work on this blog! I've learned of many new publications via CatholicBibles.

Russ said...

Can you tell me what are the dimensions of the book? Is it pocket size by any chance?

Timothy said...


It is actually a fairly small paperback edition, very close to being a pocket edition.

Russ said...

Would that be about 6 X 4 inches and half an inch thick, or am I being too optimistic?

Timothy said...

I would say 7x4.5 with 1 inch thick.