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The Perfect Prayer Book for Everyone
IN presenting this pocket-edition of the Book of Psalms, we are placing within the reach of everyone a book of perfect prayer.
The psalms are prayers in which God Himself teaches us how to pray; for they were written under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Herein we have the answer to the question: “What prayers shall I say?” Why the prayers of Holy Scripture itself! “There is no need to scrape together endless man-made prayers when Sacred Scripture frames the very thoughts of God.” The psalms are the vital presentation of God’s inspirations and man’s aspirations; they are the ideal manifestations of man’s hunger and thirst after God and of God’s loving response to man. Of great age, they are ever new and appropriate. They are as satisfying and stimulating to us of the twentieth century as they were to men before the birth of Christ and down through the Apostolic and Middle Ages.
The Holy Father and the Psalms
IN His Apostolic Letter authorizing the new translation of the Psalms, The Vicar of Christ writes: “Following the example of her Divine Redeemer and His Apostles, the Church, from her earliest beginnings, has made constant use of these illustrious songs, which the holy prophet David and other sacred writers composed under the inspiration of the Divine Spirit. They occupy a place apart in the official prayer that priests recite each day in praise of God’s goodness and majesty, for their own needs, and for those of the universal Church and of the entire world.”
The Universal Manual
THIS book of Psalms is for all times, all circumstances and all needs. It is for everybody. The psalms rhyme with every mood of man. No longing of the soul, no craving of the mind, no bodily want exists which cannot be expressed in the sublime phrases of the psalms. Prayers in the morning, during the day, for guidance in work, of repentance for sin, of thanksgiving, of adoration, prayers for loved ones and for all the world, prayers in the evening, prayers in time of trouble or sickness and countless others are to be found in this Book of Psalms. This perfect Prayer Book was the book of praise and prayer used by the ancient Jews in the worship of the Temple and in that of the home. It was the prayer book of Our Lord and Our Lady, of the Apostles and the first Christians, of all the Popes from St. Peter to Pius XII, of all the Blessed from St. Stephen to Mother Cabrini, of the clergy and the laity of the ages.
Praying With the Church
THE arrangement of the psalms according to the days of the week follows that of the official prayer book of the Church, the Breviary. The Clergy and Religious recite these very prayers daily. The psalms form the greater part of the Divine Office which Holy Mother Church offers, day and night throughout the world, to the end of time. This echo of the worship of the heavenly choirs is offered for the honor and glory of God and the salvation of the world. Only the Mass is of greater dignity and worth; only the Missal can surpass the Book of Psalms in dignity and scope. And the Missal draws heavily upon the Psalter.
The Missal and the Psalms
THE Holy Sacrifice of the Mass enshrines many quotations from the Book of Psalms. Hence the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrifice of Praise, which is the Divine Office, are closely allied, so that the Missal and the Psalm Book are companion-volumes. As members of Holy Mother Church, all Catholics share in the privilege and duty of adoring God through Christ. Let us then offer our praises and prayers to God in the spirit of Holy Mother Church and in active union with her perfect worship by making use of that divinely-inspired volume which she has been using for two thousand years, the Book of Psalms. Praying the psalms unites us with the unending and perfect praise and prayer of heaven and earth. The Psalter is truly the primary and best Catholic prayer book.
Priests and Religious—The New Psalter
PRIESTS and religious will find this book, which is a translation of the New Psalter, a great help in the recitation of the Divine Office. The new version has greatly clarified many of the obscure passages of the old version. We feel confident it will fill a great need and help tremendously toward a better appreciation of the Breviary and its devout recitation. It should prove a very helpful companion-volume to the Breviary.
How to Pray the Psalms
WE must make these psalms the expression of our own personal prayer-life. In the enemies of which David speaks so frequently, we can see our own spiritual enemies, Satan, sin and temptation. The deep love for Jerusalem expressed by the psalmist we can take over and apply to the Church, to Christ Himself. You need not say all the psalms as given for each day. It is well to choose those that fit your present needs and circumstances. On page x you will find a helpful guide in the use of the psalms.
TO His Excellency, Most Rev. Thomas E. Molloy, S.T.D. we are deeply indebted for the gracious encouragement he has afforded us.
To the Rev. John E. Steinmueller, S.T.D., S.Scr.L., Professor of Sacred Scripture at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L. I., we are profoundly obligated for his invaluable assistance and scholarly criticism in the preparation of this work.
To Kathryn Sullivan, R.S.C.J., Ph.D., Professor of Sacred Scripture and History at the College of the Sacred Heart, Manhattanville, N. Y., we extend our sincere appreciation for her painstaking labor in proofreading our manuscripts and for proposing many helpful improvements.
To the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood we express our heartfelt thanks for their constant prayerful assistance which has made possible the works of the Confraternity.
(REV.) JOSEPH B. FREY.
Feast of Our Lady
July 16, 1947