03 April 2017

Jesus Psalter - Notes and Practice


Each section of the Psalter (a Section is Five Decades) opens with the recitation of two verses of Scripture, Philippians 2:10-11.
In nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur caelestium, terrestrium et infernorum, Et omnis lingua confiteatur, quia Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris.
In the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. 
The Psalter of 1599 (above, left) only has two petitions in the first decade while the later edition has many more. The online edition has several petitions of the same sort as the later one.
Jesus, have mercy on me, O God of compassion, and forgive the many and great offenses I have committed in Thy sight. Many have been the follies of my life, and great are the miseries I have deserved for my ingratitude. Have mercy on me, dear Jesus, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, who am unable to help myself. Deliver me from setting my heart upon any of Thy creatures, which may divert my eyes from continually looking up to Thee.  Grant me grace henceforth, for the love of Thee, to hate sin: and out of a just esteem of Thee, to despise worldly vanities. 
Because of this (and other differences between the editions) it seems that the earlier texts of the devotion might have had only one or two petitions - plus the prayer "Have mercy on all sinners" &c., ending in the Pater Noster and the Ave. The whole point was to set up a meditation on the thirty-fold invocation. "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus..." a couple of petitions and the meditation (ad hoc by the devotee, or prompted by other materials).  It helps if we think of this like a Rosary. We know an Rosary is supposed to be more than just quickly saying the ten Aves and one Pater Noster, one Gloria, and one O, my Jesus. But most of the time - especially in public recitation - the Rosary gets turned into just that.

When you read a text on how to pary the Rosary there is a complex "Contemplation" included for each decade.  You'll not get it memorized! You're not supposed to: it's intended as a bridge or springboard to your own inner world. I hear advice that people should "say the Rosary while driving" and I think "OMG No!  It's hella more dangerous than cellphones!"  It's a bit more involved: it can take minutes to read, but an hour to pray. I see some advising doing only a decade of the rosary in 15 mins: thus, a properly done one would take almost an hour and a half. That's advanced - very advanced - but not a bad target. Nor is it, in time, a bad target for the Psalter.


Same principle applies here: you can zip through the whole thing, but if you're not engaged in a sort of Lectio Divina you're not really doing it. The Contemplation of it should take a bit longer than the recitation, I think; but I'm not there yet.

As you begin to memorise the Psalter of Jesus, as a first step, only memorise the 15 invocations, together with the opening and closing prayers:

Opening Scripture:
Ut in nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur caelestium, terrestrium et infernorum, Et omnis lingua confiteatur, quia Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris.
That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. 
Make ten repetitions of the first invocation in a section, saying the Divine Name with slow deliberations:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, have mercy on me. (x10)
End with the prayers:Have mercy on all sinners, O Jesus, I beseech Thee; turn their vices into virtues and, making them true observers of Thy law and lovers of Thee, bring them to bliss in everlasting glory.
Have mercy also on the souls in Purgatory, for Thy bitter passion, I beseech Thee, and for Thy glorious name, Jesus.

O blessed Trinity, one true God, have mercy on me. 
Our Father (or Pater Noster)Hail Mary (or Ave Maria)

Then go on to the second invocation followed by the same prayers.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, help me. (x10)
End with the prayers:Have mercy on all sinners, O Jesus, I beseech Thee; turn their vices into virtues and, making them true observers of Thy law and lovers of Thee, bring them to bliss in everlasting glory.
Have mercy also on the souls in Purgatory, for Thy bitter passion, I beseech Thee, and for Thy glorious name, Jesus.  
O blessed Trinity, one true God, have mercy on me. 
Our Father (or Pater Noster)Hail Mary (or Ave Maria)
Proceed through the other invocations of the section in the same way.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, strengthen me.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, comfort me.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, make me constant.
At the end of the fifth "O blessed Trinity" prayer close this way:
Dominus Noster Jesus Christus humiliavit semetipsum factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.
Our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.Philippians 2:8 (modif. - This is actually the closing antiphon of the Tenebrae service in Holy Week.) 
Hear these my petitions, O most merciful Savior, and grant me Thy grace so frequently to repeat and consider them, that they may prove easy steps, whereby my soul may climb up to the knowledge, love, and performance of my duty to Thee and to my neighbor through the whole course of my life. Amen.
Our Father (or Pater Noster)Hail Mary (or Ave Maria)
Apostles' Creed (or
Credo)  
After you've memorized the basic prayers (I'm still working on this) then I would suggest adding two or three petitions to each decade and contemplation. We'll get to that in the following posts.