Brother Thomas Paul’s retreat notes.
The Hidden Wisdom in Psalms.
The book of Psalms inspired by the Holy Spirit was linked with the life of King David. Why was it connected to King David’s life? It is written in Isaiah 11..” A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;” This shoot refers to Jesus, the Son of Man. The royal origin of Jesus comes from His ancestor King David.
Jesus existed before the beginning of this world. In a way we can say that God allowed David to experience the sufferings of Jesus.
As a little boy once as David sat fiddling with his instrument, the Holy Spirit inspired the tune.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
I shall lack nothing spiritual or material. David was then only a shepherd boy and God later, called this shepherd boy to be the King.
Psalm 23 has a strong message about the kingdom of God. Based on this Psalm Jesus says, ” I am the Good Shepherd, Follow me.”
It means that Jesus walks before us and all we are called to do is to follow him. We, in our human weakness struggle to believe that only Jesus can cater to all our needs.That is the kingdom of God..The Good News….You do not have to bear the burden of your sin anymore…I have taken it all from you. Just follow me and I will lead you to the kingdom of heaven.
What are the green pastures? The shepherd leads his sheep to the green pastures to feed them. This refers to the Word of God.
He leads me beside quiet waters…to quench my thirst.. the water symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is Jesus himself. What happens when a person receives the Word of God and the Holy Spirit? He becomes a new creation. Every word has a profound meaning. The Bible was translated into many different languages from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English…and so on. We have lost a few exact words in translation.
As we study Psalms, we understand that every Psalm has deep hidden mysteries. To fall in love with Psalms, we must remember that Psalms were the daily prayers of Jesus,Mother Mary and St Joseph. Jesus sang Psalms everyday.
Like David who sang Psalms in his sorrow, Jesus too sang Psalms during His passion and agony. Today, Psalms are of great importance for us because Jesus experienced and fulfilled all that is written in the book of Psalms. They are not mere songs…they hold the hidden mysteries fulfilled in Jesus and hence when we sing Psalms, it brings about an experience in us.
David too experienced what is written in most of the Psalms like Jesus did. King David was under attack by his own son Absalom who rebelled against him. David relinquished his crown and royal splendour and went barefoot to the Mount of Olives. He covered his head as a sign of grief and wore sackcloth. As he fled through the Kidron valley, he sang,” O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy”. A thousand years before the birth of Jesus, King David sang Psalms in his sorrow and walked through the Kidron valley. A thousand years later, Jesus, rejected by everyone, sang the same Psalms and walked through the same valley.
When we face challenges and rejection in our own lives and pray the same Psalms, it becomes an expeience for us. In our anguish when we cry out, O Lord … my God, Why have you forsaken me?…we become one in prayer with King David and the hidden Wisdom will flow into our lives thus making Psalms the rhythm of our lives. We will develop great love for learning Psalms.
Psalms are brimming with God’s Wisdom. We live amidst diversity. There is none like me. Each one is different because all of God’s creation is marvellous and unique. This God’s infinite Wisdom. Even a tiny ant is created in God’s Wisdom.
Go to the ant, you sluggard;
Consider its ways and be wise!
It had no commander,
No overseer or ruler,
Yet it stores up provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
This is great wisdom. Where should we go to receive rhis Wisdom? The tiniest ant and the huge elephant are diffetent but Wisdom is the common factor in both.
Each Psalm has a different theme.
Lets look at Psalm 19..
The heavens declare the glory of God;
The skies, proclaim the work of his hands.
Everything in this universe is the work of His Mighty hands….designed and created by His Word. His Word created the skies and the heaven…this vast universe…
Psalm 19:1 is sung before the Gospel reading at mass to announce that we are about to listen to the Word of God that created this universe. This is a very important insight.
Jesus Christ offers the sacrifice not only as the Son of God or the Son of Man but also as the first born of all God’s creation. Jesus stands before us and says, ” Father, you created everything through me and for me…
Every Psalm will have at least one verse on Jesus and his passion and death for our redemption.
‘Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.’
In this way the radiant Jesus stands out in every Psalm and holding on to that we must try to ascertain the meaning
of the rest of the Psalms. This is the technique that we must employ to read and study the book of Psalms. When we realize that Psalms speak about the life and passion of Jesus and we pray, we will get the correct interpretation of the verses.