I think a lot about the Psalms. Maybe some of you do too? It is understandable, I think — they make up a good part of our daily prayers and our liturgy, and for many of us they supply the words that come unbidden when we are in trouble or distress, or when we express spontaneous joy or praise.
What I’ve been thinking about this week, though, is the lovely mystery of how the Psalms unlock our deepest prayers; the ones that have no words — even when we are praying words that do not correspond to our personal situation or needs. It’s almost like they are the key that unlocks the door that goes from our head to our heart, somehow bypassing that need we have to explain everything, and creating a path for the Holy Spirit to search us and breathe through us the prayers we do not even know we hold within us.
Years ago, a beloved mentor shared with me these lovely words, “The Psalms are where the tears flow” and I have certainly known that to be true in my own prayer life. It’s surprising and often very unexpected when it happens. How awe-inspiring to think that the ancient words of the Psalms might somehow be saying more than they seem to say; to imagine that the saints throughout the ages who have prayed them have also found them to be how “the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (Rom. 8:26)
I invite you this week, as you pray the Daily Office, to linger on the Psalms, maybe even carrying them with you through the day. Let go of the temptation to explain the words rationally, and instead let them unlock your heart, so that the Holy Spirit may enter to help you pray, and trust that She will intercede for you with sighs deeper than the words which we — or the Psalms — possess.
Download the service booklet: Liturgy at Home Pentecost 4 July 3 2022