Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
AskACatholic.com
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Adoration
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines & Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
back
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Jim Hendrick wrote:

Hi, guys —

One of our recent Popes recommended the Book of Psalms as a rich source of material for helping our prayer life. Yet, I find many of the Psalms, with their violent themes and negative language, anything but helpful in this regard.

I have been using the Grail translation; the one used in our Catholic liturgy.

  • Can anyone help me get around this difficulty?

Jim Hendrick

  { How can I enjoy reading the Psalms, in spite of their violent themes and negative language? }

Eric replied:

Hi Jim!

  • Are you following the Liturgy of the Hours, or your own sequence?

There are some psalms, called the imprecatory psalms, that are exceedingly violent but, if I recall correctly, there are not many of them. I'm not certain, but I think the Liturgy of the Hours skips many of these.

The psalms are meant to express the full panoply of human emotions, which are not always warm and fuzzy. The psalms show us that we need to bring the nitty-gritty of our lives and our problems to God and not whitewash how we feel. I'm not 100% sure whether by negative you are just referring to the imprecatory psalms (which have troubled people throughout the ages) or also psalms that express extreme emotions (e.g., "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?")

If it's also the low emotions you're turned off by, again, the psalms are realistic and earthy. They aren't pious plaster platitudes. It's worth considering whether our faith is such that we treat God like an acquaintance, keeping everything superficial and nice and polite, or whether we have a deep, intimate relationship with God where we can feel the freedom to be brutally honest with Him, even to the extent of getting angry with Him or expressing negative feelings. We have to be real — and intimate — with God, like the psalmist. I've noticed myself that often God works most dramatically in my life when I confront him in raw anger.

It may also help to spiritualize the violent aspects and ascribe the violence to spiritual forces (demons) instead of human beings. I.e., consider the enemy being fought as demonic power and not as a man.

Hope this helps!

Eric

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.