'Praying The Psalms: A Commentary' by Fr Stanley L. Jaki

'Praying The Psalms: A Commentary' by Fr Stanley L. Jaki

Anthony Cappello

Praying The Psalms: A Commentary by Fr Stanley L. Jaki (William B. Eerdmans, 2001, 239 pp, A$34.95). Available from AD Books.

In his Letter to the Romans, St Paul urged the community to pray the Psalms. Responding to this call, Fr Jaki has produced a commentary on the 150 Psalms of the Old Testament, prayers very much applicable to today's troubled world.

Fr Jaki is a distinguished author, professor and priest. His area of expertise has been in contributing to scientific theological debates on the Cosmos, God and Science. But Fr Jaki is also a Benedictine priest who, as a priest, has had to recite the Psalms on a daily basis. This commentary is therefore very personal because he has recollected so much from his own inner experiences of the Psalms.

Take Psalm 26: "Grant me justice, Lord, I have walked without blame. In the Lord I have trusted; I have not faltered". Fr Jaki reminds the reader of the days of the Latin Mass when the priest would recite this Psalm while he washed his hands after the Offertory - the rightful place for the lavabo: "The priest needs to wet only his fingertips because he should begin the celebration of the Mass with nothing more than mere peccadillos on his conscience."

Or Psalm 24: "Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter" - an exhortation by the priests of the temple to those prepared to enter it. "Such is, of course," Fr Jaki points out, "a spiritual approach to the Maker of the Universe, an approach embodied in this Psalm".

For anyone looking for a thoroughly Catholic interpretation of the psalms, this volume, from the author who also wrote Newman's Challenge and The Saviour of Science, would be a very worthwhile addition to one's books of Scripture commentaries.

Anthony Cappello is research assistant for the Thomas More Centre.

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