Monday, 6 March 2017

Penances for Lent: say the Gradual Psalms

I  should perhaps have drawn attention earlier here to the series I'm posting on one of my other blogs on saying the Gradual Psalms.

It is not too late to start this, particularly if you haven't yet settled into saying some extra prayers for Lent.

The Gradual Psalms and the spiritual ascent through humility

The fifteen Gradual psalms, Psalms 119 to 133, were originally used both as pilgrim songs and liturgically: they were probably originally sung on the journey to Jerusalem, as well as liturgically when priests and people ascended each of the fifteen steps of the outer Temple to the inner at Jerusalem, on the three major feasts of the Jewish calendar.

As the temple itself was viewed as a microcosm of heaven, they seem always to have been interpreted as a mystical ascent to heaven as well.

The Gradual Psalms are traditionally used both devotionally, as a group, and as part of the Divine Office.

St Benedict Rule and Office, drawing on Patristic and monastic tradition, actually makes a link between these psalms and Jacob's Ladder, which he argues we climb through humility, and fall from through pride.

The Gradual Psalms arranged for devotional use

You can find the whole set of the Gradual Psalms arranged for devotional use here.  Traditionally the first five psalms are said for the souls in purgatory; the second five for the forgiveness of our own sins; and the third and final set for our specific intentions.

Alternatively, you could take one of these psalms each day and meditate on it.

Either way, to help you in this endeavour, I'm posting notes on each of these psalms over at my Psalm Domino blog.  You can find the first couple over there already:


Marco da Vinha said...

Where is that picture from?

Kate Edwards said...

I believe it is St Mary's Church Lewisham, England.