Our Favorite Psalms

Matthew Bowe – Psalm 8

My favorite psalm is Psalm 8 – “Yet you [man] have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor” (verse six). As a mathematics and physics education major in college, I had opportunities to enroll plenty of science courses, including two astronomy courses. I have a fascination with the heavenly bodies. Last year in March I went to Arizona on a science pilgrimage and visited Kitt Peak, which houses astronomical observatories. The universe is expansive and immense. Yet, God is bigger than that. He created the universe, and He is always in control. “O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! I will sing of your majesty above the heavens” (verse two). Although the universe massive, it is insignificant compared to God. However, God is Love, and He loves us. We have immense worth and dignity. He gave us “rule over the works of” His “hands” (verse 7a). God is significant for us, and we are significant to Him.

Isaac Pecha – Psalm 16

My favorite Psalm is number 16, principally on account of two lines. The first is “He has put into my heart a marvelous love, for the faithful ones who dwell in his land.” I love this visual of how God, who so loves his children, chooses to show some of his love for others through us. It reminds me of when my dad would invite me to help prepare a Mother’s Day gift for my mom with him — he could have done it just as well on his own, but because he loves both me and my mom, he chose to include me in his act of love for her. The second line is “It is you [God] yourself who are my prize; the lot marked out for me is my delight: welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!” As a convert to Catholicism, I love the idea of inheriting the Faith from those who went before us. In my hope to become a priest (God-willing), I dream of being involved in God’s acts of love for his children and of passing on this heritage of faith to others in the particular ways that a priest does.

Eric Mashak – Psalm 22

When I first read the passion narrative in the Gospel of Mark I was not sure what to think of verse 27:46. It is where, from the cross, Jesus says those famous words: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Had the Father really forsaken His Beloved Son? I asked a great assortment of similar questions! It wasn’t until a few years later that I found out that Jesus was actually quoting Psalm 22, which begins: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? …” As Jesus grew up praying the Psalms, he knew many of them by heart. They exemplify His relationship with the Father. Reading Psalm 22 in its entirety, I realized that it is actually a psalm of trust in the Father even in the midst of intense tribulation. Jesus was praying this psalm, in His knowledge and love of the Father, in His dying moments. It is beautiful to be brought into the relationship between the Father and the Son in praying this Psalm.

Fr. Victor Feltes – Psalm 63

Praying in bed at night or before the tabernacle in the sanctuary, I desired God since my youth. “O God, you are my God, for you I long.” I saw that without Him there is no lasting satisfaction. “So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.” I discerned that serving God would be the best use of my life. “So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, my mouth shall praise you with joy.” My desire for the priesthood was really something He placed in me and the Lord brought my vocation to fulfillment, “for you have been my help; in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.” Jesus at the Father’s right hand and Mary at the right hand of Christ have been faithful in their love for me. “My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast.” I have not memorized many scripture passages but I know the first twenty lines of the 63rd Psalm very well.

2 Responses to “Our Favorite Psalms”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    Psalm 8 caught me first — I came in from star-gazing, having just pondered the immensity of space & the smallness of man, then picked up the Bible & just “happened” to land on Psalm 8!
    Later, a friend introduced me to Psalm 131 as “God’s cuddling words”. I was rather taken by that :).

  2. Doug Pruner Says:

    Here, just let me turn my collar around so I can reply …
    One of mine is Ps 110, the one Jesus used to confound his opposers.
    Verse 1, NJB is “[Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, ‘Take your seat at my right hand, till I have made your enemies your footstool.'” V. 1.
    He used it at Mt 22:41 ff., ibid. “While the Pharisees were gathered round, Jesus put to them this question, ‘What is your opinion about the Christ? Whose son is he?’ They told him, ‘David’s.’ He said to them, ‘Then how is it that David, moved by the Spirit, calls him Lord, where he says: The Lord declared to my Lord, take your seat at my right hand, till I have made your enemies your footstool? ‘If David calls him Lord, how then can he be his son?’
    Of course the inadvertent miscopying of the Psalm in the NT is confusing. Let’s back-substitute the original:

    ‘Then how is it that David, moved by the Spirit, calls him Lord, where he says: Yahweh declared to my Lord, take your seat at my right hand, till I have made your enemies your footstool? ‘If David calls him Lord, how then can he be his son?’
    Now we see the correct answer. ‘Our God, Yahweh, was also David’s God. His son is the Messiah, and therefore David’s Lord, so David addresses him correctly.’
    Of course, his opposers did not want to make the connection Jesus = Messiah, so they waffled. “No one could think of anything to say in reply, and from that day no one dared to ask him any further questions.”
    Neat, wasn’t it?

    There are other good things about it. It foretells the events of the last days. Jesus, resurrected and glorified, waits patiently on his own throne for Yahweh to send him into action. V.2; cf. Rev 14:14-16.

    Did you know that the NT writers quoted vv. 1 and 2 almost a dozen times among them? I guess the Psalm was important to them, too.

    Thank you for your time.

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