Thy Word Have I Hid In My Heart

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A dear friend and parishioner whose Blog, Highways in the Heart, is noted on my blogroll, is as great a fan of the Psalms as anyone I know. She has probably committed over 90 to memory – not a small feat in our world today. It was the tradition (and still required by canons) that the Psalter be known by heart by monks (and hence by Bishops). There are certain Psalms (such as 50/51) that are simply required to be memorized by priests and deacons since they are quietly recited during a great censing. There is no better thing (apart from just living them) to do with Psalms than to commit them to memory. They are the great prayerbook of the Church. They are a ready source of prayer for every possible need and are salted throughout all Orthodox services. My friend has begun to write on how she memorizes psalms. If you are like me you will find this very helpful – both as a way to study – but a way to learn “by heart” the Word of God. Many thanks to her for sharing. I commend her writing to you. It may be accessed here.

3 comments:

  1. Dear Fr. Stephen,
    Glory to Jesus Christ!

    Do you have a recommendation of a translation for those who pray the Psalms in English? I personally love the Coverdale Psalter, although it follows the Masoretic numbering and is not quite accurate in certain places. Even as my heart drifts away from Anglicanism I continue to draw great strength and comfort from the old Anglican Psalter. Any thoughts?

  2. Coverdale is about as good as any. There is not a translation in English of the Septuagint Psalter that is easily available or very good. I tend to use RSV for a variety of reasons, though I would like something else.

    In the Church we use the Psalter from Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston. It’s a little rough in places, but is properly set up for Orthodox liturgical use (with stases and kathismas) etc.

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