Too Much Psalm 91?

Can you ever get too much of a Scripture passage?

In the Roman Antiphonary, this listing is given for the First Sunday of Lent:

Entrance Antiphon Cf. Ps 90: 15-16
When he calls on me, I will answer him;
I will deliver him and give him glory,
I will grant him length of days.
(Psalm 90[91]: GR, p. 71)

Communion Antiphon Mt 4: 4
One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
(Psalm 33[34]: GR, Praenotanda, p. 12; or Psalm 18[19]: 8-15)

Or: Cf. Ps 90: 4
The Lord will conceal you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will trust.
(Psalm 90[91]: 1-3, 11-16: GR, p. 77)

Okay, so the devil quotes it. If we sing it three times (don’t forget this year, it’s the Lectionary Psalm of the Day, too) has that counteracted the bad influence?

This is an illustration of one of the stumbles of the propers in the modern Roman Rite. Aside from the fact that the first and second readings have their own themes to pick up, the use of Psalm 91 just seems to be to be lazy and unimaginative. A much better choice for either the Entrance or Communion as a complement to Psalm 91 would be Psalm 62, which, amazingly, doesn’t appear anywhere in the Antiphonary for Sundays and Feasts.

Verses 2-3 offer a perfect antiphon for the day and for the commencement of Lent:

My soul rests in God alone,
from whom comes my salvation.
God alone is my rock and salvation,
my fortress; I shall never fall.

And the next two verses are a good sample to assist believers in seeing the temptations of Christ as being an inspiration for asking God for deliverance from our own:

How long will you set yourself against a man?
You shall all be destroyed,
Like a sagging wall
a tumbled down fence!

Even highly placed people
plot to overthrow him.
They delight in lies;
they bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.

And so on. Psalm 62 is a gem for inspiration in the spiritual life. And a real miss for those who put together the propers of the revised Mass. Bad enough we missed out on a three-year harmonization. I suppose yoking verses of Psalm 62 with any of the given antiphons would work well too.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Lent, Liturgical Music, Scripture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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