Responding To The Psalms

February 2023

RESPONDING TO THE PSALMS – February 2023

– a project of the Spirituality Committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

“It is possible for us, therefore to find in the Psalter not only the reflection of our own soul’s state, together with precept and example for all possible conditions, but also a fit form of words wherewith to please the Lord on each of life’s occasions, words both of repentance and of thankfulness, so that we fall not into sin; for it is not for our actions only that we must give account before the Judge, but also for our every idle word.”                               

                                    Saint Athanasius to Marcellinus

We have used the Sunday Responsorial psalm to offer a focus for reflection during the week ahead for yourself or share with others.

There is space on each page for you to note your own thoughts as a possible personal journal.

5 February 2023 – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Responsorial Psalm                                                                                           Psalm 111(112):4-9

 

THE GOOD MAN/WOMAN IS A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS FOR THE UPRIGHT.

He is a light in the darkness for the upright:

 he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends,

 he conducts his affairs with honour.

How do we witness to God in dark, difficult times by letting our faith be evident to people we meet?

Pray that generosity, mercy, justice, sympathy, honour will be the virtues guiding our actions

The just man will never waver:

 he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news;

 with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.

Let us pray for the constancy we need when life is not easy for us and for others for whom we care

Ask for the Spirit to strengthen our firmness of heart and trust in the Lord

With a steadfast heart he will not fear;

open-handed, he gives to the poor;

 his justice stands firm for ever.

 His head will be raised in glory.

Knowing that God is always with us let us think of more we can do for those in need.

Let us pray for those we know here and abroad who are victims of injustice

 

 

 

12 February 2023 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

 

Responsorial Psalm                                                                   Psalm 118(119):1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34

 

THEY ARE HAPPY WHO FOLLOW GOD’S LAW!

They are happy whose life is blameless,

 who follow God’s law!

They are happy who do his will,

 seeking him with all their hearts.

Let us thank God for the guidance he gives us to shape our way of life to always do good

We can reflect on the joy and true happiness we find by living the way God wants

You have laid down your precepts

 to be obeyed with care.

May my footsteps be firm

 to obey your statutes.

It is a chance to take time to reflect on the Ten Commandments* and Jesus’ Beatitudes**

Let us ask for the insight and strength to follow God’s law more closely

Bless your servant and I shall live

 and obey your word.

Open my eyes that I may see

 the wonders of your law.

Thank God for the blessings of your life and be grateful for the days ahead when you can do good

Stop and think how blessed we are that God has communicated his law of life to us

Teach me the demands of your statutes

 and I will keep them to the end.

Train me to observe your law,

 to keep it with my heart.

Pray for perseverance in doing good, especially in those areas of life where we fall down often

Ask for the courage to accept something that you find difficult to live out for your faith

*See Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21,

**See Matthew 5:1-12

19 February 2023 – 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

 

Responsorial Psalm                                                                   Psalm 102(103):1-4,8,10,12-13

 

THE LORD IS COMPASSION AND LOVE.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

 all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

 and never forget all his blessings.

Stop and simply give thanks with the psalmist poet that we have the privilege of knowing God by name

Then just move onto thanking God for all the blessings of your life – name them one by one.

It is he who forgives all your guilt,

 who heals every one of your ills,

who redeems your life from the grave,

 who crowns you with love and compassion.

Just wonder at how amazing it is that God forgives our sins and heals us in different ways

Reflect on what it means for us to have the promise of eternal life, foreseen in God’s love and compassion

The Lord is compassion and love,

 slow to anger and rich in mercy.

He does not treat us according to our sins

 nor repay us according to our faults.

How amazing it is that God in Christ humbled himself to become human showing us his compassion and love!

Do we realise just how merciful the Lord is, rather than being a judge focused on our sins and faults?

As far as the east is from the west

 so far does he remove our sins.

As a father has compassion on his sons,

 the Lord has pity on those who fear him.

What does it mean to you that God does not just forgive but actually removes our sins?

Thank God that you can live as his daughter/son and relate to him as his child.

 

 

22 February 2023 – Ash Wednesday

 

Responsorial Psalm                                                                               Psalm 50(51):3-6,12-14,17

 

HAVE MERCY ON US, O LORD, FOR WE HAVE SINNED.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.

 In your compassion blot out my offence.

O wash me more and more from my guilt

 and cleanse me from my sin.

As Lent begins let us pray with confidence to our God seeking his mercy because we trust in his kindness

We need to acknowledge openly that we truly need God’s forgiveness

My offences truly I know them;

 my sin is always before me

Against you, you alone, have I sinned;

 what is evil in your sight I have done.

Take time to be honest about the sins for which you need forgiveness the most

Be open with yourself about the temptations which you find most difficult to resist

A pure heart create for me, O God,

 put a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

 nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Once forgiven we must acknowledge that we need God to give us a pure heart and steadfast spirit

Pray for a renewed closeness to God and his spirit in our daily living

Give me again the joy of your help;

 with a spirit of fervour sustain me,

O Lord, open my lips

 and my mouth shall declare your praise.

Make sure you stop and rejoice that God is with you as you do good

Thank God for the gift of prayer and worship in your life

26 February 2023 – First Sunday of Lent

 

Responsorial Psalm                                                                               Psalm 50(51):3-6,12-14,17

 

HAVE MERCY ON US, O LORD, FOR WE HAVE SINNED.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.

 In your compassion blot out my offence.

O wash me more and more from my guilt

 and cleanse me from my sin.

How will you show kindness and compassion to others today?

Think about the goodness in other people’s live that benefit you

My offences truly I know them;

 my sin is always before me

Against you, you alone, have I sinned;

 what is evil in your sight I have done.

How much do we concentrate on others’ faults and not their good points?

Think through how we need to seek forgiveness from others, and how we will show that

A pure heart create for me, O God,

 put a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

 nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Give thanks for people who have inspired you by their goodness and faithful lives

Ask for the Spirit of holiness to follow the examples you have thought about.

Give me again the joy of your help;

 with a spirit of fervour sustain me,

O Lord, open my lips

 and my mouth shall declare your praise.

Pray for the ability to bring joy into people’s lives

Commit yourself to a deeper participation in our shared worship this Lent