Mike Aquilina

Palms for Psalms

Tuesday May 04th 2010, 1:59 pm

I just learned that The Bible Today reviewed Praying the Psalms with the Early Christians, the book I co-authored with Chris Bailey. The reviewer is none other than Sister Dianne Bergant, biblical scholar and devoted sister of my beloved St. Agnes.

The book is a guide for praying thirty-four of the one hundred fifty psalms of the Psalter. Each chapter includes the Revised Standard Version translation of the psalm under consideration. A short phrase or two from the psalm serves as the focus of the examination. This is followed by a reflection, taken from the writings of one of the ancient Christian writers, that addresses the theology found in that phrase. For example: death is the focus chosen from Psalm 73; St. Jerome’s musing on the death of a friend is the selected reflection. Each chapter ends with two questions that invite the readers to bring the implications of the reflections into their own lives. Each entry opens with a few sentences that provide a brief explanation of the psalm. However, this book is meant to lead the reader into a form of lectio divina, not biblical interpretation. Besides introducing the reader to a few of the early Christian writers, it is a fine guide for this form of prayer.