Using God's own inspired Word to pray.
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Do we really stop to think about what we’re doing when we hear and sing the Responsorial Psalm at Mass? Or are we too distracted by how the cantor is sounding, or whether the words are intelligible, or if they correspond to what’s in the missalette?
The Psalms, in fact, are a privileged form of prayer. Praying the Psalms means that we are using God’s own inspired Word to pray.
We could perhaps compare it to the way a parent might teach a very small child to say “please” or “thank you,” or how to recite a nursery rhyme, or how to say grace.
The parent says the words first, and the child repeats them.
With the Psalms, we are repeating the Word of our Father, making the Word of God into our own prayer. How cool is that?
The Catechism expresses this in a dense paragraph that is worth unpacking:
2587 The Psalter is the book in which The Word of God becomes man’s prayer. In other books of the Old Testament, “the words proclaim [God’s] works and bring to light the mystery they contain.” The words of the Psalmist, sung for God, both express and acclaim the Lord’s saving works; the same Spirit inspires both God’s work and man’s response. Christ will unite the two. In him, the psalms continue to teach us how to pray.
The richness of the Psalms comes to mind in this video, in which we see a striking conversation between Bono and David Taylor.
It’s called “Psalm 82 Is a Good Start” — have a look: