Psalm 1 - The Path of Righteousness and Virtue

[New International Version] Discover the text and meaning of Psalm 1 that challenges us to meditate on the path to follow: that of virtue or that of ignorance.

The PS 1 starts Book I of the Book of PS composed of a collection of texts 150 poetry books organized by five. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book I encompasses Psalms 1 to 41 .

The Psalm 1 is divided into six verses being considered a “pious chant practical wisdom of life”, as it offers a sharp contrast between two approaches to life: the path of virtue , which is governed by the wisdom and the path of the wicked , marked by ignorance .

This Psalm is a kind of general introduction or gateway to the Book of Psalms and it speaks of wisdom against bad company . The Psalm is not addressed to God, but to the hearing-readers, who must receive it as a lesson .

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for any blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 1 - The Way of the Righteous

1  Blessed is the man who does not follow the counsel of evildoers,
who does not linger in the path of sinners,
and does not take part in a gathering of cursers.

2  Rather, it is in the law of the Lord that he finds satisfaction;
it is on his law that he meditates day and night.

3  It is like a tree planted at the edge of streams of water: it
bears its fruit in due course and the foliage does not wither;
and in everything you do you will succeed.

4  Not so with evildoers.
On the contrary, they are like straw that the wind blows.

5  Therefore, evildoers shall not rise in judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6  Truly, the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of evildoers leads to perdition.

Meaning and interpretation

The Psalm 1 is considered by theologians as a jewel of the Hebrew wisdom that still has to be made to function in the wisdom of the Book of Psalms. The meaning of Psalm 1 alerts us to the need to know how to choose the path of knowledge, integrity , virtue , justice and wisdom . If so, “ whatever you do will prosper .”

In this Psalm, the opposition between “righteous” and “ungodly” is explored from everyday and commonplace images, and transformed into a first and essential lesson to walk the path of justice .

The power of Divine truth serves as a guide for day-to-day action. Through constant and sincere meditation on the word of God , we can find the authentic and true path to happiness . Only the righteous will know the divine graces and will be graced by them.

Hence the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. This Psalm is also the mirror of the paths of life and the results to which they lead, in the certainty that God only recognizes the path of the righteous . The initial term  happy , in Hebrew the  happiness of man , represents a theme that runs through the entire biblical narrative.

The Sapiential Psalms are books of Sacred Scripture ( Libri Sapientiales ) that contain, above all, moral sentences from ancient Israel - Proverbs, Job, Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Song of Songs, Wisdom. These prayers are filled with ancient inspiration and wisdom, life experiences and the history of peoples. They analyze human behavior , ethical choices and their consequences, and the search for the meaning of life and death for each one of us and as a society.

Various themes are addressed in these Psalms such as justice / injustice; sinful / righteous; wisdom/foolishness; bad / good; fidelity / infidelity; the honor or lack of it, the virtue that exists in prudence in speaking, in being fair, in knowing how to be rich. The existence of God is never questioned. He is Creator, Lord, Judge, Wise.

The Wisdom Psalms are also understood as a guide for everyone to meditate on the issues of their daily lives and the mysteries of life. The Psalmist uses his own and others’ experiences to discern the path to take based on correct moral principles. They are based on the assumption that what we do in this world, we pay in this life. The wisdom style appears in Psalm 1; 14; 34; 36; 37; 39; 49; 53; 73; 74.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak with Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise, and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy.