There Is No Human Experience That Cannot Be Tendered to Me.
When you chant the psalms, you are giving Me all that you hold in your heart and all that makes up your life. There is no human experience, no suffering—not even the evil that is sin—that cannot be tendered to Me by means of the psalmody of My Church. (A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart--The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (p. 253). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.)
The difficulty in praying the Psalms is because they are so real, and the author is not shy in expressing whatever it is he is going through. They can be raw, expressing deep emotions of anger, hatred, and the desire for revenge, and some are filled with curses that are painful to read, pray, and chant. Psalm 109 comes to mind.
1 Do not be silent, O God of my praise.
2 For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
3 They beset me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
4 In return for my love they accuse me,
even while I make prayer for them.
5 So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.
6 Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand on his right.
7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin.
8 May his days be few;
may another seize his position.
9 May his children be orphans,
and his wife a widow.
10 May his children wander about and beg;
may they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit.
11 May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil.
12 May there be no one to do him a kindness,
nor anyone to pity his orphaned children.
13 May his posterity be cut off;
may his name be blotted out in the second generation.
14 May the iniquity of his father be remembered before the Lord,
and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the Lord continually,
and may his memory be cut off from the earth.
16 For he did not remember to show kindness,
but pursued the poor and needy
and the brokenhearted to their death.
17 He loved to curse; let curses come on him.
He did not like blessing; may it be far from him.
18 He clothed himself with cursing as his coat,
may it soak into his body like water,
like oil into his bones.
19 May it be like a garment that he wraps around himself,
like a belt that he wears every day.
20 May that be the reward of my accusers from the Lord,
of those who speak evil against my life.
21 But you, O Lord my Lord,
act on my behalf for your name’s sake;
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is pierced within me.
23 I am gone like a shadow at evening;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees are weak through fasting;
my body has become gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love.
27 Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O Lord, have done it.
28 Let them curse, but you will bless.
Let my assailants be put to shame;
may your servant be glad.
29 May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a mantle.
30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save them from those who would condemn them to death.
Psalm 109 is not an easy Psalm to read, chant, or pray. Yet it deals with the human situation. One cause of suffering for our species is our struggle with the pain that others cause us. Praying to the Father in this manner, can in times of stress come out as dark. Yet when said in prayer, in reality we are being childlike before God, bringing all of our inner chaos, pain, and anger to the Mercy Seat.
In reading and praying the Psalms we are being shown our own inner depths and our need for grace and healing. To pretend that we do not have these inner struggles only makes them go deeper in, and become hidden, yet still there, affecting our relationships with our Father in heaven and those around us.
All is seen by God, nothing can be hidden, so pray your emotions knowing there is no better place to present them. Bring all to the light of God’s love, mercy, justice, and truth.
In praying with raw honesty, it makes us understand the harm we can cause others, and the depth of pain it can cause them. The psalm can be one of the royal roads to self-knowledge.-Br.MD