There is no point in denying that the question is a hard one to answer. Nor is it possible to deny the fact that many a person who is obliged to pray the breviary has long since found that the unaccustomed fare of the psalms has (excuse the expression) quite turned his stomach, that he is unable to derive any spiritual nourishment from them. Still I maintain that it is possible to overcome these difficulties. It is obvious enough that some of the psalms are easy to assimilate into our spiritual life, while others are much more difficult. None of them, however, are impossible with proper effort. The psalter is and will remain the many-stringed harp upon which we can sound all the chords of our prayer life and from which we can draw out all the deep notes of our heart. But first we must learn how to play the harp; that requires time and attention.
It is hardly necessary to speak at any great length about the aesthetic value of the psalms. The psalter contains songs that deserve a place of special honour in the literature of the world. Nor need it be pointed out that the psalms ought to be especially dear to a Christian for having been prayed by our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles, for being the first prayers used in Christian liturgy.
(Photo: Late 15th-century breviary of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, as preserved in the Russian National Library of Saint Petersburg. Inscriptions by her hand may be seen on the margins.)
(reproduced from Breviarium Romanum blog with permission)
Meanwhile, Fr Zuhlsdorf, of What Does the Prayer Really Say?, comments on the two Advent hymns:-