This morning I opened my Liturgy of the Hours to the Office of Readings for today (Tuesday, Week II, Ordinary Time). The first psalm to be prayed is Psalm 44. In the American Liturgy of the Hours, before each psalm there are two subheadings. The first is a summary of the psalm. The second is a Scripture verse or a saying of the Fathers that situates the psalm in the context of its New Testament fulfillment in Christ. “… the Fathers of the Church saw the whole psalter as a prophecy of Christ and the Church and explained it in this sense…” (Bl. John Paul II). I try to make it a habit of pausing before I pray each psalm to reflect on the two subheadings, especially so I can pray them remembering how they are fulfilled in Christ.
The first subheading for Psalm 44 is “The misfortune of God’s people”. An apt summary. The psalm describes national disaster and a search for God in the midst of it. “Awake, O Lord, why do you sleep? Why do you hide your face from us and forget our oppression and our misery?”
From that first subheading to the second, I have drawn an arrow in my book. The reason is to draw my attention to the wonderful news that we have in Christ. The second subheading is this from Romans 8.37: “We triumph over all these things through him who loved us.” What a wonderful word!