Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Still looking for a Lenten penance? How about saying the penitential psalms?**

The Penitential Psalms were traditionally prayed communally each day during Lent - indeed, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) ordered them to be prayed at this time.

Accordingly, the following series of posts is intended to help those following this tradition to penetrate the meaning of this set of psalms more deeply.

What are the penitential psalms?

The listing of the penitential psalms - Psalm 6, Psalm 31 (32), 37 (38), 50 (51), 101 (102), 129 (130) and 142 (143) - was firmed up by Cassiodorus, a sixth century contemporary of St Benedict.

You can find them with the antiphon normally used in most missals, in the Monastic Diurnal, or on the web here.

Ideally one says them all every day - but there are various alternative approaches one could take, such as one a day, or just saying them on Fridays. Or you could use them as a basis for lectio divina, focusing on one of the seven psalms each week.

And click here for the first set of notes, on Psalm 6.

**This a revised version of a post from Australia Incognita Blog.