Traditional Mass

Friday, May 18, 2012


We continue with our posting of the Introduction to The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary:


(The translation of the Psalms and the brief introductory comments on the Psalms of this Little Office of the Blessed Virgin are taken largly from: The Psalms and Canticles by George O'Neill, S.J. [Bruce Publishing Co. 1937.] The late Father O'Neill's work has long been out of print.)



David dictating the Psalms,
 10th/11th century

"Everyone knows the role of the Psalms in the Jewish and Christian liturgies. They were not all, indeed, composed with a liturgical purpose; but even those which were originally the outpouring of individual sentiments were admirably adapted to such a destination. We possess few details on their use in the religious ceremonies of Israel before the exile. (The exile means the captivity of the Jews deported by Nabuchodonosor into Babylon in 597 and 586 B.C., terminating more than 50 years later with the return of many under Sassabasar and later under Esdras). Several Biblical texts indicate, however, that even before the exile the Psalms were much in use in public worship. Compare I Par. 16; Is. 37, 20; Jer. 30, 11, etc., and the titles of a number of the Psalms. The same was true after the exile, as we are told in different places of the Talmud, which goes so far as to note what Psalms were sung on different days. From the Jewish worship, the use of the Psalms passed from the very beginning into the worship of the Christian Church. (I Cor. 14, 15; Eph. 5, 19; Col. 3, 16). Nothing was more natural, since the Apostles, and those of the early Christians who had come from Judaism, had been accustomed to this kind of prayer. Besides, the Psalter has nothing THAT IS SPECIFICALLY JEWISH; its supplications and its praises suited the new religion even better than the old. So that as the Christian liturgy gradually became organized, it made an extensive use of the Psalms; the Churches of Syria used to sing the entire Psalter, 'the heart of God,' as they called it, on all vigils of feasts; the Greek and Latin Churches recited it once a week, and it is this pious custom which Pope Pius X restored to us in modern days."
(Fillion, S.S., The New Psalter).  

[To be continued]