This evening, we finished Psalm 25 spending most of the time discussing the critical need for humility and its connection with grace. To do so, we read several quotes from The Dialogue from Saint Catherine of Siena. We then spent a little time on forgiveness, friendship with God, and spiritual warfare.
We prayed and did not record Midday Prayer from Thursday Week I in the Divine Office for the second half.
Tonight we study the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55. We discuss what God is teaching us about humility, grace, and exaltation in Mary. We examine Mary's need for a Savior and look at some of the earliest Church writings to examine the ancient practice of the veneration of Saints. There is a question about the Rosary and we talk about being great and the importance of obscurity as we grow in grace.
We expound Psalm 30 in the first half of tonight's study including its liturgical history, the story of David and the census and the altar in Jerusalem, the influence of Satan and the demons in our lives, and the experience of feeling abandoned by God.
We explore Psalm 32 in the second half. We discuss the importance of love covering a multitude of sins, the connection between sincerity and forgiveness, and the dangers of ignoring God.
Our first session tonight briefly introduced the Book of Revelation and explored a hymn of praise used in the Week I Thursday Evening Office created from Rev 11:17-18 and Rev 12:10-12. We highlighted the conflict with the power of the State and Gnosticism, discuss the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead, the reward or the Saints, and asked if we love God with parts of our lives like these martyrs loved God with all of their lives.
Our second session explored the Nunc Dimittis or the Song of Simeon in Luke 2:29-32. We presented the background and the "Consolation of Israel" Simeon was awaiting, the dramatic change in scope from the previous canticles in Luke to include salvation for all people, and the need for us to present the same light to the nations.
After that, we turned off the cameras and prayed the Week I Thursday Evening Office together.
Psalm 16 points to Jesus' death and resurrection. It also points us to Him as the path of life, our inheritance, our everything. We examine the difference between the Israelite and Christian perspectives on this psalm as well as some of its cultural and linguistic nuances. We then stopped recording and prayed the Thursday Night Office for which this is the psalm.
We began tonight's study with an outline of the rankings of liturgical days: Solemnities, Feasts, and Obligatory and Optional Memorials.
We continued with the burst of praise that is Psalm 113. We explained the meaning of the word Hallelujah and the reasons behind the different spellings and pronunciations. We looked at its cultural context amidst the return from the Babylonian exile and its praise of a God who is both transcendent and immanent. Finally, we discussed how a Jewish and Christian understanding of the reference the barren woman bringing forth children might be different.
We conclude with another explosion of praise — Psalm 147:12-20. We explain why the Divine Office starts in the middle of the psalm and its context around the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem with several references to the Book of Nehemiah. We end in appreciation of how what God is doing in Christianity is different than any other religion and how that is a source of our praise.
Tonight's study started with the background of the pictured destruction of Rome and the harlot upon the beast that set the stage for Revelation 19. We briefly discuss the word "Hallelujah" and its evolution into "Alleluia". We spend some time examining the idea of eternal punishment and what the earliest Church believed about it. We conclude with an exploration of the bride making herself ready.
Tonight's study begins with Psalm 4 as a possible response of David to Absalom's rebellion. We branched into how we can and must find joy in our afflictions, digressed into one reason for intercessory prayer including prayer to Saints, and concluded with a discussion of complete trust in and surrender to the will of God.
We then continued on to Psalm 134 by first introducing the Songs of Ascents. We referenced the round the clock praise of God in the temple and its extension into our need and desire as a community to provide for those who today offer their lives in constant prayer and praise. With finished by dwelling on the deep intimacy we can have with God.
We then turned off the cameras and prayed Night Prayer of the vigil of All Saints which uses Pss 4 and 134 as the psalmody.
In this study, we begin by setting the context of Psalm 15 as David bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Zion. To do so, we spend time exploring the history of the Ark and its journey including the abuse of religion while the Ark is in Shiloh, the capture and return of the Ark, and the disturbing incident of Uzzah being killed for steadying the Ark during transport. This leads to a discussion on conscience. We then expound the psalm itself including the issues of "despising the reprobate" and not lending money at interest.