2014. április 9., szerda

Waves of the Psalms

The Book of Common Prayer (1662) offers a continuous reading of the Psalms. Compared with the Catholic tradition of daily prayer, this non-thematic arrangement is unusual. There are no spiritual themes which would organise the sequence of their readings. There is only the option of entering this deep sea and face its waves as they come. Our self is washed and shaped by these 'external' forces. And there is some humility in this way of reading the Psaltery: its themes come upon us. Our heart has only one choice: to open up to their content, and to be lead by this Narrator of our souls.
One recurring theme, which strikes me, is the pains of the heart. Psalms often show the praying person in birth-pangs of the soul, so to say. There is always something rigid, something stiff, something resistant, comes to the surface. Are these individual pains? Or, do they point beyond their particularity to something collective in us, shared by all?
Today, the following thought occurs to me. The 'hindrances' in the psalmist's life, at the same time, are also collective anxieties and questions. In them, when we pray individually, the inertia of collective history reveals itself. What is in my heart, as a prayer, is also history's effort to bring into the conscious, what is unnamed. What has been unnamed, unspoken, not only to history itself, but what is still 'unpronounced' by us. When we pray the Psalms: our history is being transformed. Into what? Into a 'speaking being', which is increasingly capable of telling his story: deeply hidden in God; and deeply hidden in himself.
One more thought. This walking into the waves of the continuous sequence of Psalms, also has to do something with our personal lives, the interactions which we perform with those with whom we live or work. Personal love − its joys and failures − makes visible that collective ground of our self, which the waves of the Psaltery uncover. The personal, the collective, and the interpersonal, after a while, all live together in this life-giving Sea.


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