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What is your favorite Psalm?

January 2, 2007

The Psalms are beautiful songs that have many different themes of praise, thanksgiving, sorrow, courage, and repentance. They were widely used by the early Christians in their liturgical celebrations and are still used mainly in the Liturgy of the Hours. Personally, I gained a great appreciation for the Psalms after I started praying the Divine Office and noticed the different themes contained in the Psalms and how they matched the different hours of the day and different day of the week. For instance, the morning prayer Psalms have themes of dedicating to God the day that is just starting or on Fridays, the Psalms are filled with themes of penance and distress.

My favorite Psalm is 139, because it reminds me of God’s love and his omnipresence and also because of its similarity to themes found in Jeremiah to which I owe my reversion to the faith. So, which Psalm is your favorite?

Psalm 139

O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:

you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.
My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar.
Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all.
Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach.
Where can I hide from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee?
If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, you are there too.

If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” —
Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day.

Darkness and light are but one.
You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!

My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are
written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.
How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them!
Were I to count, they would outnumber the sands; to finish, I would need eternity.

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