Christmas Matins features some of the best and most apposite psalms: 2, 18, 44; 47, 71, 84; 88, – of which more below – 95, 97. It is, however, long...
Having ploughed through the beautiful but very lengthy Matins for Christmas, whose psalmody was repeated for the 5th day in the Octave, for Sunday in the Octave, and for the 7th day in the Octave, I now appreciate better the wry comment of one of the patres graviores known to me from the Dominicans in Melbourne. Referring to Psalm 88, Misericordias Domini in æternum cantabo, he emphasised its "for ever I will sing": it is a long psalm, 51 verses, which even when broken up into three parts makes for an exceptionally long None on Fridays (longer even than the 48 verses it has on Sundays), and which when present in its entirety as the 7th psalm at Matins is a real killer!
St Teresa of Avila, Re-Foundress of Carmel, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, as well as being a great saint, was also a very shrewd, lively and humorous woman (in the original Spanish of her writings she apparently can sound very amusing), and no doubt it was not just piety that caused her to be so attached to this phrase as to have it painted on her portrait.
Indeed, it is said of her that, even after having gained the highest degree of spiritual union with God, she never concluded a period of prayer without heartily sighing as she exclaimed, "Thank God that's over!"