the tentmaker

daily thoughts on the common lectionary

My Photo
Location: Sharpsburg, Georgia, United States

"...because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together — by trade they were tentmakers." Acts 18:3. Tentmaker is a title taken by bi-vocational pastors. As such, I am both a pastor and a project manager. I am a pastor of a local congregation of moderate, accepting and affirming people who worship in the Baptist tradition. We call our church "Hope Memorial Baptist" and we are about 40 in number. I am also a project manager of major construction projects for the State of Georgia. My home and church is in rural Coweta County, between Peachtree City and Newnan, with a mailing address of Sharpsburg, Georgia.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Reciting the Psalms

I have a 15 decade rosary that I got at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, a Trappist monastery in Conyers, Georgia. There is a history behind the string of beads with 15 decades instead of 5 decades as with the normal rosary. The monks recited the Psalms on each of the little beads and said the Our Father on the large beads. 150 beads, 150 psalms. Since I read this, I have admired the devotion and tenacity of anyone who could recite all 150 psalms.

In his journal, The Sign of Jonas, Thomas Merton's entry for October 12, 1947 is as follows in part:

This morning I was out there again reciting the 118th Psalm and the Gradual Psalms by heart, looking at the hills. I am finishing my Psalters for the dead., and this is the last time round for this year. I am finishing early. Five days more to go. We have a month in which to say the Psalter ten times over. And I like it. It means a great deal to me.

Merton entered the Trappist monastery, Gesthemani, on December 10, 1941. By the time he wrote the entry above he had been saying the Psalms every day for almost six years. Ample time to learn them by heart. I will turn 60 next month and am already beginning to have lapses of memory due to aging. What makes me think I can learn the Psalms? Well, I'm going to try.

To facilitate my study, I have printed and bound my own Psalter, as shown in the photograph above. I will record my progress here from time to time.


Blogger the tentmaker said...

Translations. Something I didn't think about except that my psalter is in KJV because of the classic beauty of the language. But that is not a Catholic translation. And even so, I think Merton and the monks recite the Latin Vulgate.

Anyone know for sure?

1/06/2006 6:16 PM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

150 Psalms ten times in 30 days. That's one cycle every 3 days or 50 Psalms each and every day.

1/06/2006 8:33 PM  
Blogger Bad Alice said...

50 Psalms a day? Whew-eee! That's pretty ambitious. I love the idea of using prayer beads. There's something helpful about having a material object to focus on. Have you read Kathleen Norris's The Cloister Walk? She talks about the attraction of praying the Psalms every day.

1/07/2006 12:15 PM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

I have picked up The Cloister Walk several times but have always put it back. I think I am at a place in my formation where it will be helpful. Thanks.

I read the first 25 yesterday in an hour and 15 minutes. I read 26 through 50 today in an hour and a half. You are right, Wheew!

The monks also observe the daily hours seven or eight times a day, they eat two meals a day and work. They go to chapter where they do most of their learning. How they have time to recite 50 verses a day is unbelievable.

1/07/2006 1:25 PM  
Blogger HeyJules said...

Tentman, you are one ambitious man! I'm only 45 (okay...ALMOST 46) and I couldn't memorize that much scripture in my lifetime! I've always been one of those that could memorize words to a song and then sing it wrong every single time...Oh well.

1/08/2006 6:25 PM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

If Merton could do it...

1/08/2006 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so glad to find someone else who is doing this (found you on Google)!

How is it progressing? What have you found to be the biggest struggle, and how have you overcome it?

Looking forward to hearing!

1/24/2007 6:10 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home