Debatable, But Interesting, Points


Father Redemptus Valabek raises some interesting points about the Liturgy of the Hours, about which I have some questions.

from Prayer Life in Carmel
Fr. Redemptus Valabek, O. Carm.

[quoting from St. Gregory the Great]

"When the sound of psalmody is guided by the heart's direction, the way for the Almighty to enter man's heart is being prepared, so that He is able to pour into the attentive mind either the mysteries of prophecy or the grace of compunction. Thus it is written: 'The sacrifice of praise will honor me, to him who walks on the right path, I shall show the salvation of God' (Ps 49:23). What 'salvation' means in Latin, 'Jesus' means in Hebrew. Therefore in the sacrifice of praise there is the path of revelation in Jesus because, since compunciton is roused by means of pslamody, the path to our heart is laid out for us, by which we are able to reach Jesus. He says this about his own Father. 'I too will love him and will manifest myself to him' (jn 14:21). And so it is written: 'Sing to God, make music to his name, build a road for the Rider of clouds; his name is Lord' (Ps 67:5). He who rides the clouds is He who by his resurrection trod death underfoot. When we sing we strew a path so that he may come into our hearts and inflame us with the grace of his love."

The interiorization of pslamody is an obligation for the follower of Jesus and follows on the prophetic dimension of his charism.

Lay aside for the moment the unclear antecedent in Fr. Valabek's gloss on the passage from St. Gregory, is the essence of what he has to say true?

Now, I assume the prophetic dimension of his charism, refers to Jesus' charism and not to the follower of Jesus. Does this necessitate the "interiorization of the psalmody?" And what precisely might be meant by "interiorization of the psalmody."

Perhaps Fr. Valabek wishes to suggest that is is a peculiarly Carmelite obligation to interiorize the psalmody. However, the passage says unambiguously, "for the follower of Jesus." This seems to suggest an obligation that transcends that of Carmelites.

Another question must be asked. Is Father Redemptus making this claim, or does his gloss suggest that St. Gregory makes this claim on the attention of Christians? I read in St. Gregory suggestions of the efficacy of this pursuit of prayer, but not overtones of its obligation for all.

Finally, in medieval times (and I may have my history of the rosary confused) the rosary arose in part as a substiture for the psalmody for "those who lacked letters." 150 Hail Mary's stood in place of the 150 psalms. If this interiorization of psalmody is really an obligation, is its spirit captured in the praying of the Rosary?

Just thought I'd ask in case others had some thoughts on the matter. I don't know quite what to think at the moment, because while I do pray the hours, I must wonder whether the psalmody is "interiorized."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 15, 2004 7:42 AM.

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