Sing to the Lord

The Responsorial Psalm

What Not to Miss

  • The psalms were originally sung in the temple liturgies of ancient Israel. Christians have sung them since the beginning of the Church, including in the Mass, because they are powerful, prayerful, universal expressions of our relationship with God.
  • The Responsorial Psalm helps us respond to and meditate on the Scriptures proclaimed in the Liturgy of the Word, especially the First Reading that we have already heard.
  • The main way that the assembly participates is by singing the response (also called an antiphon) in between the stanzas of the psalm.

Next Time You Go to Mass...

  • Read the Psalm before Mass. You might also meditate on it after Mass.
  • Listen attentively to the cantor singing the stanzas of the psalm, allowing the words to become your own prayer to God.
  • Likewise, sing the verse response, internalizing its words as prayers to the Lord.
  • Don't worry if you are not a skilled singer. Just give the Lord your best.
  • Consult a hymnal, pew missal, or other resource provided by your parish if you need help remembering the response or following along with the music.
  • Help your children sing the Psalm.

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.