«Avelito John M. BURGOS Psalm 117 (118) in the Roman Missal and in the Liturgy of the Hours A Licentiate Thesis Prof. Msgr. Antonio Miralles Moderator ...»
PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITY OF THE HOLY CROSS
FACULTY OF THEOLOGY
Avelito John M. BURGOS
Psalm 117 (118) in the Roman Missal and in the Liturgy of the Hours
A Licentiate Thesis
Prof. Msgr. Antonio Miralles
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………… 3 PART I: TOWARDS A COMPREHENSION OF PSALM 117…………………………….. 5
1.1. Scriptures and Liturgy
1.1.1. Foundation: the principle of the Incarnation
1.1.2. Development: the promise in the Old Testament
1.1.3. Reality: the fulfilment in the New Testament
1.2. Psalms and Liturgy
1.2.1. Christifying the psalms
1.2.2. The liturgical tradition
1.3. Psalm 117 in the tradition of the Church
1.3.1 New Testament references
1.3.2 Patristic Commentaries
1.3.3. History of its usage in the liturgical tradition
PART II: The usage of Psalm 117 in the Liturgy of Today………………………………… 30
2.1. The privileged role of Psalm 117
2.1.1. Psalm 117 for Eastertide
2.1.2. Psalm 117 on Sundays
2.1.3. Other uses of Psalm 117
2.2. Psalm 117 as Antiphon
2.2.1. Most frequently used verses
2.2.2. Other verses used as antiphons
2.3. Other elements provided by the liturgy
2.3.1. The Psalm Title
2.3.2. The New Testament or patristic quotations
2.3.3. The section of verses
PART III: Psalm 117 – A Theological-Liturgical study in the Easter context……………. 47
3.1. The Christology of Psalm 117
3.1.1. Qui venit in nomine Domini: God becoming man
3.1.2. Dominus factus est mihi in salutem: The salvation brought by Christ
3.1.3. Lapidem quem reprobaverunt aedificantes: the Passion and Death of Jesus.............. 51 3.1.4. Dextera Domini exaltata est: Christ’s exaltation
3.2. The Ecclesiology of Psalm 117
3.2.1. Lapidem quem reprobaverunt aedificantes, hic factus est in caput anguli:
The Church, the one body of Christ
3.2.2. Benedicimus vobis de domo Domini: Baptism and Eucharist for the sanctification of the Church and its members
3.2.3. Dicant nunc, qui timent Dominum: the universal mission of the Church
3.2.4. Dicat nunc domus Aaron: The foundation of the apostles
3.3. The Eschatology of Psalm 117
3.3.1. O Domine, salvum me fac: The object of man’s hope
3.3.2. Non moriar sed vivam: The Christian understanding of Death
3.3.3. Bonum est confugere ad Dominum: The way of persecution
3.3.4. Haec porta Domini, iusti intrabunt in eam: Christ our justification
CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………………………... 74 APPENDIX……………………………………………………………………………………. 76 BIBLIOGRAPHY…………………………………………………………………………….. 78
ABBREVIATIONSCCC = Catechism of the Catholic Church: with modifications from the editio typica, Image Book Doubleday, New York–London–Toronto–Sydney–Auckland 1995.
= Dizionario Patristico e di Antichità Christiana (1st Ed.), diretto da A. di DzP BERNARDINO, Marietti, Casale Monferrato 1983.
GS = Graduale simplex, editio typica altera, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1975.
IGLH = Istitutio Generalis Liturgiae Horarum IGMR = Istitutio Generalis Missalis Romani = Missale Romanum ex Decreto Sacrosancti Œcumenici Concilii Vaticani II LE instauratum auctoritate Pauli Pp. VI promulgatum Ioannis Pauli Pp. II cura recognitum. Lectionarium, 3 volumes, editio iuxta typicam alteram emendatam, Midwest Theological Forum, Italy 2008.
= Officium Divinum ex Decreto Sacrosancti Œcumenici Concilii Vaticani II LH instauratum auctoritate Pauli PP. VI promulgatum. Liturgia Horarum iuxta Ritum Romanum, 4 volumes, editio typica, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, Città del Vaticano 1975.
= Missale Romanum ex Decreto Sacrosancti Œcumenici Concilii Vaticani II MR instauratum auctoritate Pauli Pp. VI promulgatum Ioannis Pauli Pp. II cura recognitum, editio typica tertia, Typis Vaticanis, 2002.
The latest document published by the International Theological Commission (Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria, March 8, 2012) recalls the vocation of theologians in their quest of a deeper understanding of the Church’s treasury of faith. Once again, the basic element of theology has been pointed out in a clear and orderly manner. Among these elements, the document recalls the two sources of Christian faith, the Sacred Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church. This plurality, however, forms in one reality, since they are in intimate unity. The present study moves in this line of thought, in considering the inherent between the written Tradition and the living and lived-out Tradition realized particularly through the liturgical tradition of the Church. Thus a biblical passage “quoted” from a liturgical book, as the title clearly exemplifies, is a testimony to this inherent unity.
A. Objectives This research on the use of Psalm 117 in the Eucharistic celebration and in the celebration of the liturgy of the Hours intends to make a deeper study on the relation between Word of God and Liturgy. However, more than a theoretical study, this research intends to unfold the richness of this aspect from the perspective of the celebration itself. Within the variety of choices, this study focuses on a specific part of Sacred Scriptures, i.e. Psalm 117, with the intention of highlighting the wealth of theological meaning contained in this passage of the Scriptures. Being a research in the field of liturgical theology, this study focuses on two dynamic spheres of the theology, the Eucharistic celebration, which is the fount and apex of the Christian life, and the Liturgy of the Hours, where the psalms have a singular role in the celebration of the divine worship. The specificity of this study lies in the fact that it tries to underline the theology contained in a living reality, the liturgy which is being celebrated continually by the Church.
This research uses as its premise the relationship between Scriptures and Liturgy without presuming to be exhaustive in the process, since this is not the main subject of the study. In fact, it also makes use of the exegetical studies on the psalm under examination, yet it does not assume the exegetical method since it has as its starting point the celebration itself. With regards to the liturgical use of Psalm 117, this investigation limits itself to the two liturgical celebrations above mentioned, knowing that it is also present in other liturgical celebrations. Moreover, although it takes into consideration the use of the said psalm in the liturgical tradition of the Church, this study limits itself to the current liturgical practice.
4 B. Method of Research The first stage of the research consists of gathering together the different uses of Psalm 117 in the liturgy – in the Missal as antiphon; in the Lectionary as Responsorial psalm; in the Gradual as verses; and finally in the Breviary where it is often used entirely. In the second stage, a research is conducted to identify sources – books, studies, articles – which treat the theme on the relationship between Bible and Liturgy, and in particular on the relationship between the Psalms and the liturgical celebration. Also, a collection of exegetical works on the said psalm is done, in order to take into account the reflections of exegetes on the matter. In the third stage, a research into the different commentaries on this specific psalm by the Fathers of the Church is realized, since very often, these Fathers had commented on the psalm within a liturgical context.
And also, a brief survey on the use of Psalm 117 in the liturgical tradition of the Church is done in order to identify the elements which are constantly present in the Church’s understanding of the psalm throughout history.
A fundamental principle followed in this research is the ecclesial interpretation of the psalm. The Church in her use of this biblical text applies her own interpretation through the selection of verses or the use of antiphons. And by the same operation, she highlights the different contents in different occasions. The exposition of the research follows another fundamental principle – to work on and starting with the liturgical texts. This means that a careful analysis of the subject includes the ritual context and the liturgical milieu, i.e. considering the text in relation to other elements – antiphons, gestures, other texts, ritual and literary forms.
C. Contents of the Study This study is divided into three parts. The first part is aimed to introduce the reader to the theme by expounding on the relationship of Scriptures and Liturgy, with a particular consideration on the psalms, and by presenting a survey on the patristic and liturgical traditions regarding Psalm 117. Having done thus, the second part presents the actual usage of the said psalm in order to highlight the different themes present therein, thus it is arranged in a rather thematic manner. Finally, the third part offers a liturgical-theological analysis of the psalm, of its content, wherein this research attempts to offer its particular contribution to the theological research.
PART I: TOWARDS A COMPREHENSION OF PSALM 117
Before entering into the analysis of Psalm 117 according to its use in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and in the Liturgy of the Hours, it is indispensable to present, no matter how briefly, the relationship Scripture – Liturgy, and Psalm – Liturgy. Then a short presentation of the history of this particular psalm in the liturgical tradition of the Church may help in understanding better its theological nuances.
1.1. Scriptures and Liturgy An in depth understanding of the richness of meaning acquired by a psalm when it is used within a liturgical celebration cannot do away with the consideration on the intimate connection between sacred Scriptures and the liturgy. What influence has the Scriptures on the liturgical celebration and vice versa? P. Bradshaw proposes four general functions of the Bible in the liturgical celebration.1 First of all, it is didactical. The Word of God instructs the faithful of the history of God’s relationship with his chosen people and of how he continues to accompany them with his blessings. This is very true within the liturgy, for it is in the liturgical celebration that the people of God listens to the proclamation of the Word, and is instructed for a more profound understanding of Scriptures, and is encouraged to the habit of reading the scriptures at home and living it out through life. Second, the Bible is kyregmatic or anamnetical. Therein is contained the profession of faith of those who were faithful to God (from Abraham to the disciples of Jesus). Moreover, it serves as the living memory of the wonders accomplished by God. In the liturgical celebration, the Word of God has the power to move those who listen to it into a close relation with the event being described. This is true for the Easter Sunday celebration in Jerusalem at the tomb of the Lord (the Anastasis) during the fourth century. But this is also true in the celebration of the Easter Vigil at a mountain parish in the twenty-first century. Third, the Word of God is paracletic. In the liturgical celebration, the proclamation of Scriptures interrogates the listeners on their present needs and proposes to them figures, which can be easily appropriated to one’s personal experience. The numerous treasures of the Word always have something for every reader or listener. Fourth, it is doxological. Sacred Scriptures is full of the praises from the lips of men, of words which bless the Lord. In a most particular way, the book of Psalms is rich with these songs of praise to the Lord. Thus Scriptures not only speak to men 1 Cf. P. BRADSHAW, Perspectives Historiques sur l’utilisation della Bible dans la liturgie, «La MaisonDieu», 189 (1992), 79-104.
6 something about God, but also the other way around, they can be used in order to speak to God in praise and thanksgiving.
One can deduce from this that there is a very intrinsic and intimate connection between Scriptures and Liturgy, a connection almost to the point of identification. This connection between Scriptures and Liturgy can be developed in three dimensions. First, there is the fundamental principle which gives origin to these realities, namely the Incarnation. Second, an overview of the history of Israel can show the inherent reciprocal orientation of these two elements. Third, the reality is revealed in its fullness with the coming of the Lord, the Word made flesh, and the history of the Church shows its definitive configuration into a mutual correspondence.
1.1.1. Foundation: the principle of the Incarnation
The basic principle which is at the basis of the intrinsic and inseparable relation between sacred Scriptures and the liturgical celebration is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The eternal Word was made human flesh. Religions of ancient civilizations arrived to postulate a mysterious divinity, incomprehensible, and unpredictable. However the people of Israel, with the help of revelation, are able to present a God who is both understandable and at the same time ineffable.
God has revealed his word to Abraham and the patriarchs, to the prophets, to Israel as a people.
But nobody has seen God. At most they only saw his shadow. This progress of knowing the divine has reached a higher level, but not the apex. Only later will it be realized to the full.