Nice Helper, but even a Better Savior

As stated in a previous post, the Revised Grail Psalms don’t appear, at first glance, to be all that different from the current psalter, but a couple of word changes keep popping up again and again. Changes that are very welcome. As with the (now one year old) new missal, these changes have theological significance.

In numerous psalms in the Revised Grail version, the words salvation and savior have replaced our current help and helper. A few examples:

The Lord is my light and my salvation, 
whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1)

O God be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us. 
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your salvation. (Psalm 67:2-3)

Restore in me the joy of your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit….
Rescue me from bloodshed, O God
God of my salvation,
and then my tongue shall ring our your justice.(Psalm 51: 14,16)

Bring us back, O God our Savior!
Put an end to your grievance against us. (Psalm 85:5)

While it’s true that God helps us in so many ways, saving us means so much more.  Calling on God as Savior, rather than Helper, brings out the christological meaning of the verse, something we are always supposed to be doing as we pray the psalms. We see Savior and Salvation as code words for Jesus and the Redemption. Help and Helper do not have this significance.

So there’s one more reason to welcome the Revised Grail Psalms as a decided improvement, and be glad that they will eventually become our daily psalter in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Daria Sockey


Daria Sockey is a freelance writer from western Pennsylvania. Her articles have appeared in many Catholic publications. She authored several of the original Ignatius Press Faith and Life catechisms in the 1980s, and more recently wrote five study guides for saints' lives DVDs distributed by Ignatius Press. She now writes regularly for the newly revamped Catholic Digest. Her newest book, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, will be published by Servant Books this spring. Feel Free to email her at

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