Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cantate Domino

PSALMODY GIVES tranquillity to souls, brings peace by mastering surging thoughts. It calms anger and represses concupiscence. Psalmody strengthens friendship, unites those who are estranged, reconciles those who are angry, for who would consider as an enemy one who united his voice with his in praise of God? Psalmody also gives the greatest of goods, charity: it unites all into one choir. It puts the devils to flight and ensures the help of angels. It is a protection against the fears of night-time, a rest in the labours of the day. It strengthens children, adorns the young, consoles the aged and beautifies women. It peoples solitude, it stills agitated assemblies. It is the voice of the Church. It gives splendour to festivals. It gives rise to the sadness which comes from God; from a heart of stone it can draw tears.

Psalmody is the occupation of the angels, it is the life of heaven, it is the spiritual sacrifice. It contains true theology: the prophesies of the Incarnation, the threats of judgement, the hope of the resurrection, the fear of punishment, the promise of glory, the revelation of mysteries – all these are gathered up in the Book of Psalms, a great treasure-house, open to all the world.

St Basil the Great - Homily on Psalm 1

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