What God do we pray to when we pray the Psalms? What faces of God are revealed in these prayers recited from generation to generation? For us Christians, these sacred texts of supplication and praise, darkness and light, find their full meaning in the mystery of the Passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Abbess of Mariendonk offers us some fundamental reflections which underline the prophetic and existential aspect of the Psalms. The Abbot of Ramsgate draws on the experience of the primitive monastic tradition and the Prologue of the Rule of St Benedict. But how do we deal with the Cursing Psalms? The Abbess of Chester addresses this complex issue, while Fr Philippe Rouillard OSB places the liturgical psalter in the historical and contemporary context of our monasteries.
Following on from these basic considerations, we have the lived experience of three Communities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America: first, the nuns of Bunda Pemersatu-Gedono in Indonesia; then, the monks of the Abbey of Keur-Moussa in Senegal for whom - as Fr Jean-Marie Vianney OSB tells us - native rhythms and inculturation (balafon, tam-tam, water drum) play an important part in their psalmody; and, finally, the monks of Los Condes in Santiago in Chile whose choral practice reflects the liturgical reforms which followed the Second Vatican Council.
In penetrating our very being, and yet moving beyond us, our prayer of the Psalms integrates the hunted, humiliated, dying man in Jesus Christ, while at the same time calling us to freedom in its dimension of praise and thanksgiving - more than half the Psalter -, calling us to move beyond ourselves in order to pray and recognise that we are saved in the very One who prays in us.
Other important features of this number of the Bulletin will no doubt also hold our attention. A meeting of MID (Monastic Interreligious Dialogue) was held, at European level, at Midelt in Morocco. Mr Jo Van Haeperen's report takes account of the core values of Muslim society and monastic values which emerged from this interreligious dialogue. The remarkable, often exceptional work carried out by the Tutzing Sisters also deserves our consideration in the Chronicles reported in this issue.
Finally, the abiding memory of AIM's first two Secretaries remains engraved in our hearts. Both women died in June 2007. Sr Pia Valéri OSB succeeded Mother Méryem Esquerré OSB, and, from 1967 to 1985, dedicated eighteen years of her life to the service of AIM at Vanves. With humility and enthusiasm both women lived out this new stage of twentieth-century monastic history from within. Let us keep them in our hearts and in our prayers of intercession and praise, as in our recitation of the Psalms.