What is a Psalm?

What is a Psalm?

File:David Playing the Harp 1670 Jan de Bray.jpg



From the “Explanations of the Psalms by Saint Ambrose, bishop“, today’s second reading of the Divine Office;


…a psalm is a blessing on the lips of the people,


~a hymn in praise of God,

~the assembly’s homage,

~a general acclamation,

~a word that speaks for all,

~the voice of the church,

~a confession of faith in song.


It is the voice of complete assent,

~the joy of freedom,

~a day of happiness,

~the echo of gladness.

~It soothes the temper,

~distracts from care,

~lightens the burden of sorrow.


It is a source of security at night, a lesson in wisdom by day.

It is a shield when we are afraid,

~a celebration of holiness,

~a vision of serenity,

~a promise of peace and harmony.


It is like a lyre, evoking harmony from a blend of notes.

Day begins to the music of a psalm. Day closes to the echo of a psalm.


I shall sing to you, God, on the lyre, holy one of Israel; my lips will rejoice when I have sung to you,

and my soul also, which you have set free.






  • David Playing the Harp

    Jan de Bray


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