Ad orientem

Below are my thoughts expressed to our pastor at Saint Clare of Assisi Catholic Church regarding his announcement that he would shift to ad orientem in the Mass.

As we consider this move to celebrating ad orientem at Saint Clare, I thought I would summarize the arguments I have found in its favor, offering responses that demonstrate an alternative perspective and that highlight some of the deeper issues involved as I, and others who have responded negatively, see them. I hope this serves as a guide to any discussion we might have about the wisdom of making this kind of change at Saint Clare, and I do so with the prayer that the Holy Spirit, whose Church this is, will guide all of us to gracious exchange, to understanding, and to clarity on what we should do moving forward.

Dr. Chris Diffenderfer, October 24, 2019

Regarding ad orientem, arguments for it are in bold, and responses follow:

• The Church still allows it.

Response: This is true, but it is not really an argument for or against it per se. However, this orientation is associated with the extraordinary Mass and is allowed but not encouraged. Responses I have seen from the Vatican tend to emphasize that it should not and will not be supported as an ordinary form.

• Assumptions that the early church celebrated versus populum are wrong (arguments are made based on some references to praying towards the east as evidence that the Mass had been ad orientem in the first place).

Response: While it is very true that many idyllic, oversimplifying assumptions have been made about the early church in many ways, that tendency is not indicative of scholarship as a whole. We do have considerable evidence that versus populum was the more common practice, beginning with the evolution of the eucharistic prayer and Christian worship from the synagogue and including carvings and other images depicting the eucharistic worship of the church at various points in history. Worship in the early centuries of the church was not really uniform in many ways, and so it is difficult to argue to strongly for or against many things due to the variation in regional practice. It is also true that we do not have any overwhelming evidence that ad orientem was common practice until the early medieval period, around the eleventh century, when it appears to have been introduced in the West as a conscious change.

• Facing the East (or at least the apse) more appropriately signifies the leadership of the priest in praying as one with the assembly to God and to Jesus who will return from the East. Conversely, versus populum is praying to the people, not God. Facing the East more appropriately signifies the sacrifice being made to God with priest as in persona Christi, eliminates a visual confusion, and is less disorienting for the priest. Versus populum adds to the elevation of the priest over the laity, creating an orientation of separation and presentation to rather than unity and offering on behalf of the assembly. Facing the East also keeps the assembly less closed in on itself (the closed-circle).

Response: A couple of initial observations can be made, including the fact that the assembly does face the East (or at least the apse) in either case, so there is inherently a sense of anticipation of Christ’s physical return even in versus populum. To insist that the priest must also reorient himself for that anticipation to be fully valid is itself commentary on the priority of priest over the assembled body, as if it is really the orientation of the priest that alone matters. The priest’s comfort or resolution of disorientation is not really the point (and that disorientation can itself be resolved through a more robust theological understanding of worship communicated to all involved).

Notwithstanding those observations, one might question the notion that for prayer to be lifted up to God, we must orient ourselves to a place where God is, as if he is not also among us. Such an argument is especially interesting in a tradition that emphasizes the very presence of Christ himself, not only as the eucharistic species, but alive and active as the real celebrant, as the living Word, as the Holy Spirit who animates and indwells each individual and the body as a whole. It is not really that worship is either about an anticipation of Christ coming some time in the future or about remembering something he did in the past. Worship is really about both the past and future activity and presence of Christ made fully present in the liturgical, eucharistic assembly—in word and table, in prayer and song, in action, posture, heart and mind, body and spirit. Worship is at once anamnetic and proleptic, holding the tensions of the already and not yet in glorious union. In fact, worship is a beautiful symphony of paradox and mystery which is at once past, present, and future. It is earthly and heavenly, it is joy and lament, sacrifice and gift, death and resurrection. Worship is rich with the transcendence of God and his intimate presence as all things are drawn by the Christ of the cross and the resurrection himself, sanctified by Christ himself, offered by Christ himself, and made real by Christ himself, and through him by his people, priest and the assembled priesthood, the very body of Christ.

Rather than closed in upon itself, the circle of priest and assembly hold these tensions in appropriate harmony, as prayer is made to God who is both fully present among us and fully transcendent, not least in the many words, actions, postures, silences, and elements of the liturgy and the sacred space in which it is enacted. In the awareness of the priest acting in persona Christi as the one sacrificing, praying, praising, graciously giving, receiving, speaking, guiding, transforming, making new, humbling, exalting, and more, the assembly and priest together with him are also fully aware of the cosmic assembly of the Church past, present, and future in the very presence of God the Father. All of this is appropriately embodied by the priest and the assembly facing each other, with Christ himself at the center. The circle itself most profoundly evokes eternity, community, unity, and communion.

Ad orientem is an imbalance, an emphasis of but one primary movement in worship, with others grafted through a catechetical insistence perhaps, but without the richness of symbol and movement that brings Christian worship into its fullness.

• People, especially millennials, flock to parishes celebrating ad orientem.

Response: This assumption is one easy to make but more difficult to validate. Many may respond well to the things embodied by ad orientem, but it is also true that many react viscerally to other things it implies, such as actions removed from the assembly and the reinforcement for some that the priest acts as the assembly looks on more as audience, on their behalf and yet without them. The resistance of many has been documented against such an orientation that does not fully embrace the breathtaking theology of Vatican II and that hearkens to a period in the church that was just as rife with attrition, an emphasis on internal piety, and the need for the reforms that were sought in council.

The millennial response, and that of subsequent generations, is itself hardly a measure of value, for those generations often respond to that which makes sense to their personal fulfillment and to things that appear innovative and different. Perhaps a renewal of catechesis and an effort to extol (and embody in music and response) both the joy and depth of current forms, postures, and orientations can bring that same desire to fruition for all generations to worship God in fullness and in truth without alienating others who have come to appreciate the fresh air of the Church renewed and restored, in many ways, to the richness of the worship we now enjoy.

There are many things we can do within the Mass as it exists to help build and reinforce community and draw millennials and others into the joy and beauty of the Mass without making this kind of change that will have, I fear, an opposite impact.

Further observations

The notion that individual priests choose to celebrate ad orientem, over and against common practice, insisting that it somehow enlivens a parish tends to look much like the Protestant tendency to elevate personal and denominational doctrinal choices and practices over the tradition and unity of the church. Variation in local practice does exist, but an accommodation, even an encouragement, of that kind of conscious assertion does devalue the uniformity of faith and practice that speaks to apostolic consistency and communion. While differences in piety reflected in gestures, postures, and patterns do not necessarily take on the weight of dissension or of doctrine, especially at the level of the laity, they can cross into that level of significance when they fundamentally alter the nature and experience of the liturgical assembly and are driven by the priest. That risk is deeply concerning for many of us in relation to ad orientem.

Live your baptism!

Romans 6.1-11

From the days Christ himself commanded that his disciples “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…,” the church has been obediently baptizing new converts (Matt. 28.19–20, NRSV). From the day of Pentecost, when Peter spoke, full of the Spirit, and “…those who welcomed his message were baptized,” the apostles, and the apostolic church that followed, were true to Christ’s own example and command and brought all who would repent into the community of faith through baptism (Acts 2.41). In fact, virtually no account of conversion in the New Testament is relayed without reference to the immediate, even concurrent, baptism of the new believer.

Of the people in Samaria to whom Philip was proclaiming the gospel, we read in Acts 8, “they were baptized, both men and women” (8.12). Even Simon the magician, “believed, and after being baptized, he stayed with Philip…” (8.13). Shortly after Philip opened up the scriptures to the Ethiopian Eunuch, who with urgency was baptized along the road, the blinded Saul obediently sought out Ananias, had his sight restored, and was told, “And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name” (8.26-39; 22.16). Cornelius and his entire household, and the jailor from whom Paul and Silas were delivered, and his entire family were all baptized into the great and wonderful journey of life in Christ and his church (10.22-48;16.25-34).

Throughout the New Testament, no other ritual or practice is mentioned or alluded to more than baptism. It’s as important to the new covenant as circumcision was to the old. Its imagery hearkens back to the waters of creation, the water for the thirsty in the desert, and the prophesied outpouring of the Spirit. It’s the act which Peter says was prefigured by the flood through which Noah and his family was saved and which “now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” and that Anglican John Wesley called “…the initiatory sacrament, which enters us into covenant with God…perpetually obligatory on all Christians…” (1 Peter 3.20-22; Wesley, Treatise on Baptism, I.1).

Baptism is one of only two sacraments enjoined by the entire church from its earliest days to its latest years. And it’s the one event in the life of the believer that happens but once and yet is to be remembered for a lifetime. “Remember your baptism,” is the cry of the ancient ritual, accompanied in some traditions by the splash of water across the faces and shoulders of the congregation from a soaked branch of hyssop.

What is so important about this ritual of getting wet that is worth such urgency and remembrance? And why have so many Christians in recent years then treated it so lightly, as so much empty words and actions, that they have ignored the command of Christ, the witness of scripture, and the example of the early church and treated baptism as incidental or even unnecessary?

The answer to both questions, as you might expect, can be found in scripture, especially in the person to whom it gives witness. “In the beginning,” John tells us, “was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1.1). “…the Word became flesh and lived among us,” and John the Baptist, he who baptized for repentance and foretold the coming of the Word, baptized Jesus, the Word himself (1.14).

The first quiet and miraculous act by Jesus, the incarnate Word, was to change the water in the jars of purification, water set aside for washing away uncleanness, symbols of the cleansing of sin and defilement, into wine—new, pure wine from Jesus, the incarnate word, a foreshadow of the wine of his own blood that would be shed for our purification (John 2.1-11).

Shortly after, in the still of the night, Jesus reveals to a confused and seeking pharisee the mystery of rebirth by water and the spirit, a strange notion made even more mysterious as he connects it with eternal life found in belief in himself, the incarnate Word of God (John 3.1-21). What follows is a dispute over the new baptism of Jesus and his disciples and the continuing baptism of John the Baptist in which John helps his perplexed disciples understand his own secondary importance to the incarnate Word, through whom the Spirit is given and eternal life found (3.25-30). And then in chapter 4, the incarnate Word, whose disciples have been baptizing in his name, superseding John and annoying the pharisees, sits at the ancient well of Jacob in Samaria, the favored source of water for the thirsty, and offers himself to an outcast and sinful women as “a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (4.14).

As the Word incarnate and the living water returns to Cana, where, we are reminded, “he had changed the water into wine,” Jesus heals the son of a desperate government official who is near death (4.46-54). Then in chapter 5, by the pool of Bethsaida, Jesus the living water heals the man who cannot make it to the waters that heal (5.2-15).

Do you see it? Do you grasp it?

Only a short time later, after he feeds thousands with abundance out of scarcity, and after he stills the chaotic waters of a raging sea, Jesus utters the words we use so often in that other great sacrament—eucharist:

Very truly I tell you, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of his blood, you will have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. (6.53–55)

The bread of life and the living water!

Jesus, the Word incarnate, God among us in the flesh, the very agent and substance of creation, has made everything new—even the water of birth, of satisfaction of thirst, of healing. Jesus even masters the waters of chaos in the storm (John 6.16-21).

So what is so important about this ritual of getting wet that is worth such urgency and remembrance? Jesus Christ himself!

Baptism is the wonderful, physical symbol, that points beyond itself to the to the great mystery and spiritual reality of the new life of the incarnate Christ! Christ, who is the spiritual reality of God given to the world in and through the physical reality of creation—which is what we call “incarnation”—is at the very center of the action we call baptism that is given all meaning and substance by the work of Christ. Jesus Christ himself, the living water, is the person who is the very substance and center of our baptism!

And so Paul not only assumes that we have been baptized in full obedience, he recalls our baptism again and again in order to make sure we live our baptism.

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6.1-11)

Amen and amen!

Then why have so many of us in recent years ignored the command of Christ, the witness of scripture, and the example of the early church and treated baptism as incidental or even unnecessary? And why have those of us who have been baptized and who would never question the reality of the grace of God and the regenerative activity of his Spirit in the sacrament, trivialized it by the way we live our lives?

I think the answer also lies in what we read in John, and Paul’s letters, and even the Old Testament. When so many have emptied our lives and the church of a living faith in the living Christ and have separated the ritual from the living, saving work of Christ Paul described in Romans, we have reduced baptism to a meaningless external form and have sought the internal work everywhere but the place God intends to offer it. As we have sought the newness of Christ as shown through the witness of the New Testament, and as we’ve looked for the spiritual promise of the new covenant, we have forgotten the power and meaning of the incarnation and the fact that Christ’s redemption touches all of life—body and spirit.

In other words, anyone who insists that the performance of baptism is enough to save without a real and personal participation in and knowledge of the one to whom it points, is not obedient to the Lord they claim to serve. And anyone who treats baptism lightly and insists on being able to enjoy a saving and growing relationship with the incarnate and living Word while ignoring his command, the witness of the apostles, and the example of the early church is not obedient to the Lord they claim to serve.

Baptism is nothing without Christ, but without baptism, we risk living without Christ. Baptism directs us to Christ and marks us as his own. Through the powerful physical symbol of submersion under the water and the activity of Christ himself, baptism embodies the truth of our death to sin and life in Christ and the reality of life giving and cleansing presence of the living water in our lives. Baptism embodies

…the power of Christ over the waters of chaos that would otherwise overwhelm us.

…the wellspring of the Spirit of Christ and the new creation he makes of us.

…the unity of all who are baptized into Christ Jesus, who bear his name and his cross.

Wrapped up in the mystery of the incarnation, the water and the Spirit, is the great sacrament of our new birth that marks the real change in our lives and participation as new creatures in the community and Kingdom of our victorious Lord. Through baptism into the death and resurrection of our Lord, we partake in his victory over sin and death, over the powers of this world. And beginning with our baptism, we live the fullness of new life even as we rejoice in the promise of eternal life in the world to come.

And so again we hear from Paul, this time in his letter to the Colossians.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

If with Christ [in baptism] you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?

So if you have been raised with Christ [in baptism], seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal [of baptism] there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (2.8–15, 20; 3.1–17)

Remember your baptism, Paul is saying. Remember that you were buried with Christ and raised with Christ. Why? So you can live your baptism!

To those who are about to be baptized, I wish you the joy of knowing the living water even as you are surrounded by the water of the pool as you feel its coolness on your face as it rushes over your body when you come up clean and refreshed from its depths.

And I admonish you, from this point forward—live your baptism!

To those who have not yet been baptized but who have begun to walk with Christ, although you have not yet been obedient in baptism, I pray that you will soon let go of all that holds you back and let Christ and his church welcome you fully into the community of faith and unreserved participation in his death and resurrection.

Very soon—come and be baptized!

To you who do not know Christ, I invite you this day, as you witness the great mystery and power of baptism, to also witness the realty of Jesus in the lives of these who proclaim it through their obedience. See their repentance as they enter the cleansing water. Witness the wonder of their new creation as they emerge from the depths. Hear and know of the life-giving victory Jesus Christ as you see before you those who have accepted his love and committed themselves to his service. And even this day, come as we pray in a few minutes to confess your need before the only one who can give you eternal life, repent and be baptized!

And finally, to all here who have been baptized, remember your baptism! Remember the change Christ has made in you. Put off the old earthly and sinful ways. Refuse to be ensnared by the charms of selfishness, the temptations to sin, the priorities of the world. Accept with joy and obedience the newness of life. Allow the work of Christ begun when you accepted his Lordship and obeyed in baptism to be perfected in you as you grow in grace and holiness.

Live your baptism!

Holy Week devotion

The following is a guide for individual and family devotion during Holy Week. A PDF of the guide can also be downloaded from this link: Holy Week devotional guide.

Daily prayer

Suggested for use with the readings for each day in Holy Week for individual or family prayer. Adapted from the Greek Orthodox prayer book for Holy Week.

Blessed is our God, always, now and forever. Glory to you, Lord!

O heavenly king, comforter, the Spirit of truth, ever-present and filling all things, the treasure of all blessings and giver of life, come and dwell within us; cleanse us from every blemish, and save us, O blessed one.

Holy God, holy mighty, holy immortal, have mercy on us. (3X)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now, and shall be forever. Amen.

Read the psalm

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, pardon our sins; Master, forgive our iniquities; O holy one, visit and heal our infirmities, for your name’s sake. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Read the Old Testament and epistle readings

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.

Read the gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Glory to you, O God. Our hope, our Lord, Glory to you.

Prayer—seek God bringing praise, petitions, and gratitude to him.

Help us, save us, have mercy upon us, and protect us, O God, by your grace. Amen.

Glory to you, O God, our hope, Glory to you!

May Christ, our true God, the Lord, who willingly came to his passion for our salvation, through the intercessions of his all-pure and holy mother; the power of the precious and life-giving cross; the protection of the honored powers of heaven; the supplications of the honored, glorious prophet and forerunner John the Baptist; the holy, glorious, and all-laudable apostles; the holy, glorious, and victorious martyrs; our saintly and god-bearing Fathers; the holy and righteous divine ancestors Joachim and Anna; of the blessed Clement of Rome, our beloved patron, and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, as a good, loving, and merciful God. Amen.

Monday

The mission and anointing of the servant upon whom the Spirit of God rests and who has come to establish justice.

Psalm 36.5-11; Isaiah 42.1-9; Hebrews 9.11-15; John 12.1-11

Tuesday

The commission of the Messiah, the light to the nations, and the scandal of unbelief.

Psalm 71.1-14; Isaiah 49.1-7; 1 Corinthians 1.18-31; John 12.20-36

Wednesday

The passion of our Lord and his betrayal.

Psalm 70; Isaiah 50.4-9a; Hebrews 12.1-3; John 13.21-32

Three special days—a time to die to sin

Adapted from Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time, pages 123-134

Our spiritual journey is rooted in the great mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, which is remembered especially on the three great days in Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (called the paschal Triduum).

We have the opportunity to observe these three days with the humility and focus befitting the redeemed who owe our lives to Jesus Christ and what he suffered on our behalf. Therefore, these three days should not to be taken lightly or frittered away in casual conversation, the search for pleasure, or the pursuit of business. In these days we experience and encounter our own reality in the reality of Christ’s horrible death and burial and in his triumphant resurrection from the dead. If we miss these days, we have missed the heart of our spiritual pilgrimage.

Therefore we ought to organize our time and commitments in such a way that we can center entirely on our own participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus and do our best to set aside anything that might interfere with the deep spiritual focus these days bring to us and the unique ways the Holy Spirit can speak to us through their observance.

Maundy Thursday

We pass with Jesus into the darkness of his last night in which his determination to go to the cross is set in vivid contrast to the powers against which he must struggle. We walk that path with him.

Psalm 116.1-2, 12-19; Exodus 12.1-4, (5-10), 11-14;1 Cor. 11.23-26; John 13.1-17, 31b-35

Good Friday

We worship with both the sorrow we bring through our identification with Jesus in his death and the joy we experience knowing that his death was the death of death, the ruination of the powers of evil.

Psalm 22; Isaiah 52.13-53.12; Hebrews 10.16-25 or 4.14-16; 5.7-9; John 18.1-19.42

Holy Saturday

A day of rest and preparation for the great service of resurrection (the vigil).

Psalm 31.1-4, 15-16; Job 14.1-14 or Lamentations 3.1-9, 19-24; 1 Peter 4.1-8; Matthew 27.57-66 or John 19.38-42

Suggestions for reflection and discipline during Holy Week

Take time each day

  • To remember God’s mighty acts of salvation and consider what they mean to your spiritual journey and to Falcon Ekklesia as the body of Christ in our community.
  • Reflect on the past year:
    • How have you entered into his death this year? What sins in your life need to be brought to death?
    • How have you been raised to new life in his resurrection this year? What in your life still needs renewal?

Consider reorganizing your time leading up to Easter and make it a point to be participate in all the celebrations of the church. Demonstrate the importance of your faith, your submission to Christ as Lord, and your grateful love for his sacrifice by refraining from anything that would interfere with the worship of the body of Christ and your own focus on Christ’s death and resurrection.

Extend the fast through the week, perhaps through simplfied meals each day, continuing to limit your diet, or abstaining from a meal or two each day.

Lent: Psalms for daily prayer and reflection

“Lent is a time to intentionally confront all the ways the first Adam continues to control our lives, to carry these ways to the cross, to let them be crucified with Jesus, and to bury them in the tomb never to rise again. Through this journey we enter into his death and become new creatures in the resurrection. For as Jesus overcame temptation for us, he delivered us from it in the resurrection” (Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time).

Psalms for daily prayer and reflection

Read these each week in addition to your normal daily devotions as part of your special preparation for Easter, reflect on their meaning, and use them as part of your prayer time. (Source: Robert Webber, The Prymer: The Prayer Book of the Medieval Era Adapted for Contemporary Life)

Every day—Psalm 22 (Christ was forsaken on our behalf.)

Monday—Psalm 23 (Even in the moment of forsakenness there is confidence.)
Psalm 24 (Those who seek the Lord of all the earth will find mercy.)

Tuesday—Psalm 25 (A prayer for grace, mercy, and protection.)

Wednesday—Psalm 26 (A prayer to God to be delivered out of distress.)

Thursday—Psalm 27 (Faith and hope in the midst of stress.)

Friday—Psalm 28 (A prayer that God’s enemies will not prevail.)

Saturday—Psalm 29 (Glorify God by remembering his works.)

Sunday—Psalm 30 (Praise to God for deliverance.)
Psalm 31.1–5  (A prayer of confidence and hope.)