*The numbering of the Psalms varies based on the source from which they were translated. Most American Bibles use a translation of the Hebrew text, while the Orthodox Church tends to use translations based on the Greek text known as the Septuagint. From today forward I will be placing the numbering you would find in a typical American Bible in parentheses.
Today's reading: Psalms 11-16
"The Church welcomes the lenten spring with a spirit of exultation... There is nothing gloomy here, nothing dark or remorseful, masochistic or morbid, anxious or hysterical, pietistic or sentimental.
The lenten spirit in the Church is one of splendor and delight. It breathes with the exhilaration of those girding up to 'fight the good fight' for the One who loves them and has given Himself to them for the sake of their salvation."
- Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Lenten Spring, pg. 9
May we all strive to embody such a lenten spirit! Καλή Σαρακοστή!
Today's reading: Psalms 7-10
A look behind the curtain:
The Orthodox Psalter is the prayer book that contains all of the Psalms. It contains all of the same Psalms found in the Old Testament, but divided into a format specifically designed to be used as a prayer book.
The Psalter is divided into twenty kathismata - so-called because one would usually sit during the reading of the Psalter. Each kathisma is divided into three stases - so-called because one would stand at the end of each stasis for "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit..."
This gives us sixty stases to read over the course of the thirty weekdays between Clean Monday and the beginning of Holy Week. So the reading for each day is two stases of the Psalter.
In an Orthodox church that celebrates daily, non-abridged Orthros and Vespers, the entire Psalter is read every week. Two kathismata are read at every Orthros service, and one kathisma is read at every Vespers service except for Sunday night vespers which has no Psalter readings. During the Great Lent, the Psalter would be read through twice a week in such a church, with additional readings taking place during the Orthros and the daily hours.
We here at the Metropolis of Detroit would like to wish everyone a blessed Lent as they begin the great fast.
Lent is a time when we refocus our efforts in our journey with Christ. This journey will take us to the foot of the cross, through the grave, and to the glorious resurrection of the third day, and the way is not always easy.
Prayer can be a wonderful aid to us at all times, and especially during the Great Lent. As such, we would like to extend the invitation to pray through the Psalms (often referred to as the prayer book of the Church) with us over the coming weeks.
Each weekday for the next six weeks we will post a section of the Psalms to prayerfully read, as well as a brief reflection or commentary.
Today's reading: Psalms 1-6
"A Psalm implies serenity of soul; it is the author of peace... it is the elementary exposition of beginners, the improvement of those advancing, the solid support of the perfect, the voice of the Church... A psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense." —from St. Basil the Great's Homily on Psalm 1
Praying through the recommended Psalms each day should take five to ten minutes. We hope you will join us!