The 150 Psalms contained in the Bible leave no experience unseen and no emotion unfelt. They speak to us throughout the long years of this world and our own lives. Not only do they speak, but they train and condition us for the Christian life. St. Ambrose of Milan called the Psalms the “gymnasium of the soul.”
The Psalms help us to stretch our spiritual muscles and strengthen our hearts for the hard work of running the race of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Of particular importance are the Psalms of Ascent, or Pilgrim Songs, which take up Psalms 120-134.
These were Psalms which were sung during the pilgrimage up to Jerusalem, the holy city. The people of Israel sang them together as they flooded upwards towards the city where they knew God had chosen to dwell and where His Temple was. They’re short but each one is a thread in an ever-growing story of rising up to meet God and having him meet you on the way.
While praying in our house chapel, I felt nudged to use these Psalms and to make from my time in front of the Blessed Sacrament a type of mini ‘ascent’ or pilgrimage up to the dwelling place of God.
These Psalms will serve as our guide on a journey towards God, particularly as God’s Real Presence is found in the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration. Often Adoration can be restless experience and one in which we are unsure what we’re even supposed to be doing. But these Pilgrim Songs invite us to think of time spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament as journey and pilgrimage. One in which we are slowly passing through the regions of our own self and our own life in the search for God and the peace of His Holy Mountain.
My hope is to use these Psalms, which begin in sorrow and end in the joy, to help inform and enrich your own time spent in Adoration with Our Lord. May this journey be a fruitful one for you and may these Psalms truly strengthen and train you to be true disciples of Christ Jesus.
Let us begin.
Regularly you'll see below the latest in a series of reflections I've written on The Psalms of Ascent, Psalms 120-134. May God bless you in your reading.
Written by Br. Dominick Jean, O.P.
Dominican Friars of St. Louis, MO
The Dominican Friars living at St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis, MO are members of both the Central U.S. Province and the Southern U.S. Province. Our student friars go through their formation together at the St. Louis Studium, otherwise known as the House of Studies.