Monday, December 11, 2017

Thomas Merton on the Psalms

Yesterday was the 49th anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton.  Anyone who has taken the time to read his works knows that the Psalms were vitally important to him.  Praying them in choir as a monk, as well as on his own, the Psalms helped to form him and his writings.  Liturgical Press publishes a short, but very insightful book by Merton on the Psalms called Praying the PsalmsIf you haven't read Merton before, it is a great entry point for his writings. 

"...the Psalms not only form our minds according to the mind of the Church, not only direct our thoughts and affections to God, but they establish us in God, they unite us to Christ. But they do this only if our hearts follow their thoughts and words back to the inspired source.... Therefore the sentiments of the Psalmist, which are the thoughts and sentiments of God Himself in His Church, must lead us into the hidden sanctuary of God. Where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also. The function of the Psalms is to reveal to us God as the 'treasure' whom we love because He has first loved us, to hide us, heart and soul, in the depths of His infinite Light. The Psalms, therefore, lead us to contemplation." -Praying the Psalms

6 comments:

Ed Rio said...

Added to the wish list! I've been wanting to read more about the psalms for some time now.

Bob said...

Great book. His other one on the psalms is really good too--"Bread in the Wilderness" I think it might be called.


Another really good one on the psalms is "Singing in the Reign" by Michael Patrick Barber. Yes, I know it has an awful title. Believe it or not the puns get even worse in the chapter titles. But it is really eye opening about 2nd temple Judaism, the hope for the revived Davidic monarchy, and the surprising way it came about in the person of Jesus. Highly suggested.

Niskie ceny said...

Nice topic and cool blog :)

mediasniper said...

There is nothing quite like spending time with the psalms. There’s a psalm for every occasion. I started journaling about particular psalms at a Jesuit retreat last year. Just sit quietly, read a psalm, and start free-writing. See where it takes you.

Timothy said...

Yes!

Erica McCrea said...

Thanks for this. I love my Psalms, and I'm always struck by, despite the fact that we use different translations, Christians are still using the prayer book of Israel and praying the words the Jewish people prayed before God in his temple. I especially love the LOTH, and it's my goal to learn to chant the psalms.