June 18, 2010

A Wonderful Invitation to Pray

“Come, let us sing to the Lord and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us. . . “

Psalm 95, also known to Catholics as the Invitatory psalm, is said by most clergy and religious and many lay persons each morning before Morning Prayer. Its first two lines invite us to pray, to sing, to shout with joy and to give praise and thanksgiving. The next three lines expound on the mighty God and His domination over the earth, the mountains, the sea and the dry lands. The next two lines again invite us to pray because He is our God and we are his flock.

Lastly, the psalm reminds us of the consequence of challenging and provoking God with our sins just as the Israelites challenged God in the desert after they had been lead from Egypt and had seen the miracles that God had performed. (He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us, or not?" Exodus 17:7) As a consequence of that challenge the Israeli people spent forty years wandering in the desert and a whole generation of Israelites including Moses were denied access to the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey.

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing to the Lord and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.

Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

The Lord is God, the mighty God, the great king over all the gods.

He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the highest mountains as well.

He made the sea: it belongs to him, the dry land too, for it was formed by his hands.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, out maker.

For he is our God and we are his people, the flock he shepherds.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:

Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did in the wilderness,

When at Meriba and Massah they challenged me and provoked me,

Although they had seen all of my works.

Forth years I endured that generation.

I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways.”

So I swore in my anger,

“They shall not enter into my rest.”

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