We pray the Psalms in a four week cycle. Today we complete Week IV and start afresh with Week I. Do I get tired of praying the same words over and over, month after month, year after year? Not at all. (Although I will confess to wanting to sleep later some mornings!)
I entered our monastic community four and a half years ago. During that time I figure that I’ve prayed through the four week cycle of Psalms at least 54 times so far, possibly more, as we gather for the Liturgy of the Hours. A cynic might ask, “Haven’t you gotten the message by now?” A monk would humbly respond, “no.”
The words of the Psalter help form and shape us over a lifetime of faithful prayer, chant, and recitation. Although the words remain the same, hearing them over and over allows them to sink deeply into one’s very being. The words themselves sculpt our hearts over a lifetime of listening, of encountering and re-encountering God’s Word.
Today, as I move the ribbons in my books from Week IV back to Week I, I welcome yet again another cycle of the liturgy – Psalms, scripture readings, responses, antiphons, and cantiles that are always ever-ancient, ever-new. The message always deepens and expands as we remain faithful to beginning again.