Sunday, July 24, 2016

Psalm 118 (Aleph) - Sunday Prime

Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci - Gradual from Santa Maria degli Angeli - folio 80 - Saint Michael Fighting the Dragon in an Initial B (Abegg-Stiftung).jpg
Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci - Gradual from Santa Maria degli Angeli
 - folio 80 -  (Abegg-Stiftung)

Psalm 118 - Aleph
Beati immaculati in via, qui ambulant in lege Domini.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
2 Beati qui scrutantur testimonia ejus; in toto corde exquirunt eum.
Blessed are they that search his testimonies: that seek him with their whole heart.
3 Non enim qui operantur iniquitatem in viis ejus ambulaverunt.
For they that work iniquity, have not walked in his ways.
4 Tu mandasti mandata tua custodiri nimis.
You have commanded your commandments to be kept most diligently.
5 Utinam dirigantur viæ meæ ad custodiendas justificationes tuas.
O! That my ways may be directed to keep your justifications.
6 Tunc non confundar, cum perspexero in omnibus mandatis tuis.
Then shall I not be confounded, when I shall look into all your commandments.
7 Confitebor tibi in directione cordis, in eo quod didici judicia justitiæ tuæ.
I will praise you with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned the judgments of your justice.
8 Justificationes tuas custodiam; non me derelinquas usquequaque.
I will keep your justifications: O! Do not utterly forsake me.

The first 'psalm' of Sunday Prime in the Benedictine Office is the first of the 22 stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, of Psalm 118, the longest psalm in the Bible.  You can hear it read aloud here.

Christianity is above all, a philosophy of life, aimed at the achievement of happiness both now and for all eternity, and here the psalmist tells us that meditation on God’s law (thought of broadest sense) is the key to that happiness. These verses stress that the path to happiness lies in following God’s law. But it is not enough, they tell us, to simply think that we are doing the right thing; rather we are charged to actively seek out God's testimonies.

The opening verses of Psalm 118 really just recapitulate the ideas of verses 1-2 of Psalm 1, said on Monday at Prime, which point to the importance of meditation on God’s law as the path to happiness.

Psalm 1 says:

Beátus vir, qui non ábiit in consílio impiórum, et in via peccatórum non stetit,et in cáthedra pestiléntiæ non sedit. Sed in lege Dómini volúntas ejus, et in lege ejus meditábitur die ac nocte. 
“Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence: But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night”

Psalm 118 says:
Beati immaculati in via, qui ambulant in lege Domini. Beati qui scrutantur testimonia ejus; in toto corde exquirunt eum. 
“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that search his testimonies: that seek him with their whole heart.”

The main difference between the two is that Psalm 1 talks of one man, Christ, appropriate to a Monday Office which St Benedict has, I think, shaped to focus on the Incarnation.  By contrast on Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection which opens up the way to heaven to the many, hence St Benedict perhaps thought the focus on the happiness of the blessed in the plural, particularly appropriate.

The Knox translation attempts to replicate the acrostic flavour of the original so is worth looking at:

Ah, blessed they, who pass through life’s journey unstained, who follow the law of the Lord!
Ah, blessed they, who cherish his decrees, make him the whole quest of their hearts!
Afar from wrong-doing, thy sure paths they tread.
Above all else it binds us, the charge thou hast given us to keep.
Ah, how shall my steps be surely guided to keep faith with thy covenant?
Attentive to all thy commandments, I go my way undismayed.
A true heart’s worship thou shalt have, thy just awards prompting me.
All shall be done thy laws demand, so thou wilt not forsake me utterly.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Psalm 17 Pt 2 (SaturdayPrime) - Short summaries

David and Goliath, Paris Psalter

Psalm 17/2: Cum sancto sanctus eris 
1 Cum sancto sanctus eris, * et cum viro innocénte ínnocens eris
With the holy you will be holy; and with the innocent man you will be innocent:
2 Et cum elécto eléctus eris: * et cum pervérso pervertéris.
And with the elect you will be elect: and with the perverse you will be perverted.
3 Quóniam tu pópulum húmilem salvum fácies: * et óculos superbórum humiliábis.
For you will save the humble people; but will bring down the eyes of the proud.
4 Quóniam tu illúminas lucérnam meam, Dómine: * Deus meus, illúmina ténebras meas.
For you light my lamp, O Lord: O my God, enlighten my darkness.
Quóniam in te erípiar a tentatióne, * et in Deo meo transgrédiar murum.
For by you I shall be delivered from temptation; and through my God I shall go over a wall.
6  Deus meus, impollúta via ejus: elóquia Dómini igne examináta: * protéctor est ómnium sperántium in se.
As for my God, his way is undefiled: the words of the Lord are fire-tried: he is the protector of all that trust in him.
7  Quóniam quis Deus præter Dóminum? * aut quis Deus præter Deum nostrum?
For who is God but the Lord? Or who is God but our God?
Deus, qui præcínxit me virtúte: * et pósuit immaculátam viam meam
God, who has girt me with strength; and made my way blameless.
Qui perfécit pedes meos tamquam cervórum, * et super excélsa státuens me
Who has made my feet like the feet of harts: and who sets me upon high places.
10 Qui docet manus meas ad prælium: * et posuísti, ut arcum æreum, bráchia mea.
Who teaches my hands to war: and you have made my arms like a brazen bow.
11  Et dedísti mihi protectiónem salútis tuæ: * et déxtera tua suscépit me:
And you have given me the protection of your salvation: and your right hand has held me up:
12  Et disciplína tua corréxit me in finem: * et disciplína tua ipsa me docébit
And your discipline has corrected me unto the end: and your discipline, the same shall teach me.
13  Dilatásti gressus meos subtus me: * et non sunt infirmáta vestígia mea:
You have enlarged my steps under me; and my feet are not weakened.
14  Pérsequar inimícos meos et comprehéndam illos: * et non convértar, donec defíciant.
I will pursue after my enemies, and overtake them: and I will not turn again till they are consumed.
15  Confríngam illos, nec póterunt stare: * cadent subtus pedes meos.
I will break them, and they shall not be able to stand: they shall fall under my feet.
16  Et præcinxísti me virtúte ad bellum: * supplantásti insurgéntes in me subtus me.
And you have girded me with strength unto battle; and have subdued under me them that rose up against me.
17  Et inimícos meos dedísti mihi dorsum, * et odiéntes me disperdidísti.
And you have made my enemies turn their back upon me, and have destroyed them that hated me.

18  Clamavérunt, nec erat qui salvos fáceret ad Dóminum: * nec exaudívit eos.
They cried, but there was none to save them, to the Lord: but he heard them not.
19  Et commínuam illos, ut púlverem ante fáciem venti: * ut lutum plateárum delébo eos.
And I shall beat them as small as the dust before the wind; I shall bring them to nought, like the dirt in the streets.
20  Eripies me de contradictiónibus pópuli: * constítues me in caput géntium.
You will deliver me from the contradictions of the people; you will make me head of the Gentiles.
21  Pópulus quem non cognóvi servívit mihi: * in audítu auris obedívit mihi.
A people which I knew not, has served me: at the hearing of the ear they have obeyed me.
22  Fílii aliéni mentíti sunt mihi, * fílii aliéni inveteráti sunt, et claudicavérunt a sémitis suis.
The children that are strangers have lied to me, strange children have faded away, and have halted from their paths.
23 Vivit Dóminus, et benedíctus Deus meus: * et exaltétur Deus salútis meæ.
The Lord lives, and blessed by my God, and let the God of my salvation be exalted.
24  Deus, qui das vindíctas mihi, et subdis pópulos sub me: * liberátor meus de inimícis meis iracúndis.
O God, who avenges me, and subdues the people under me, my deliverer from my enraged enemies.

25  Et ab insurgéntibus in me exaltábis me: * a viro iníquo erípies me.
And you will lift me up above them that rise up against me: from the unjust man you will deliver me.
26  Proptérea confitébor tibi in natiónibus, Dómine: * et nómini tuo psalmum dicam
Therefore will I give glory to you, O Lord, among the nations, and I will sing a psalm to your name.
27 Magníficans salútes Regis ejus, et fáciens misericórdiam Christo suo David: * et sémini ejus usque in sæculum.
Giving great deliverance to his king, and showing mercy to David, his anointed: and to his seed for ever.

The first half of Psalm 17 was assigned to Friday by St Benedict as it is very much a psalm of Good Friday, hence its division in the Benedictine Office – it can be read as describing the events from Christ’s trial to the earthquake at his death and descent into hell.  This second section, though, leads us forward to this key verse: The Lord lives! 

Psalm 17 also appears in 2 Samuel 22, with the lead in “And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said…”   but as the Navarre bible notes:

“The perspective of this psalm changes in the New Testament in the light of how Christ achieved his glory, as king of nations, by obediently doing his Father’s will, and of how nations come to acknowledge him through the preaching for the Gospel.” (Commentary on the Psalms, pp 79)

This section of the psalm starts with a discussion (verses 1-5) of the way God acts towards us: he is faithful to his word, and protects those who fear him, but to those who oppose him, he seems otherwise.  Much of the psalm chronicles David’s successes, all of which he attributes to God, and can be read as applying to Christ, but also to our own progress: in Psalm 2 on Monday we learnt that Christ teaches discipline; here we have learnt it (v12); grace has made our progress possible, 'enlarged our steps'.  The final verses point to the applicability of all this to Our Lord: as the Navarre commentary points out, Christ achieved his glory as king of nations by obediently doing his Father’s will; now the nations come to acknowledge him through the preaching of the Gospel.

You can hear (all of) Psalm 17 read aloud here.

Short summaries:

St Thomas Aquinas:
In the second part he shows the power of the one who liberates, where he writes, and it was moved. In the third part, he shows the mode of liberation, where he writes, he sent from the high place etc.., the emotion of love and the emotion of hope. fortitude. 
St Alphonsus Liguori:
David gives thanks to God for having delivered him from the hands of his enemies, and especially from the hands of Saul. This psalm is applicable to the Christian soul that sees itself delivered, with God s help, from every grave persecution or every temptation of the devil.
Fr Pasch:
David's hymn of thanks and victory: At the end of his life, David sings this Psalm as a sort of swan song, one of the most beautiful compositions in the Psalter.  He looks back over the battles of his life and his final victory over all his enemies―a note of courage for the coming conflicts of the week. God's Kingdom, too, must battle in Church and soul―but under God's sure guidance, it will be victorious.  Note particularly the magnificent description of God's apparition, in the figure of a thunder storm.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Psalm 15 (Prime, Friday) - Short summaries

Petites Heures de Jean de Berry,
14th-century illuminated manuscript
commissioned by John, Duke of Berry.

Psalm 15 (16): Conserva me Domine
Tituli inscriptio, ipsi David.
The inscription of a title to David himself
Consérva me, Dómine, quóniam sperávi in te. * Dixi Dómino : Deus meus es tu, quóniam bonórum meórum non eges.
Preserve me, O Lord, for I have put my trust in you. I have said to the Lord, you are my God, for you have no need of my goods.
2  Sanctis, qui sunt in terra ejus, * mirificávit omnes voluntátes meas in eis.
To the saints, who are in his land, he has made wonderful all my desires in them.
Multiplicátæ sunt infirmitátes eórum : * póstea acceleravérunt.
Their infirmities were multiplied: afterwards they made haste.
4  Non congregábo conventícula eórum de sanguínibus, *  nec memor ero nóminum eórum per lábia mea.
I will not gather together their meetings for blood offerings: nor will I be mindful of their names by my lips.
5  Dóminus pars hereditátis meæ, et cálicis mei : * tu es, qui restítues hereditátem meam mihi.
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: it is you that will restore my inheritance to me.
6  Funes cecidérunt mihi in præcláris : * étenim heréditas mea præclára est mihi.
The lines are fallen unto me in goodly places: for my inheritance is goodly to me.
7  Benedícam Dóminum, qui tríbuit mihi intelléctum : * ínsuper et usque ad noctem increpuérunt me renes mei.
I will bless the Lord, who has given me understanding: moreover, my reins also have corrected me even till night.
8  Providébam Dóminum in conspéctu meo semper : * quóniam a dextris est mihi, ne commóvear.
I set the Lord always in my sight: for he is at my right hand, that I be not moved.

9  Propter hoc lætátum est cor meum, et exsultávit lingua mea : * ínsuper et caro mea requiéscet in spe.
Therefore my heart has been glad, and my tongue has rejoiced: moreover, my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10  Quóniam non derelínques ánimam meam in inférno : * nec dabis sanctum tuum vidére corruptiónem.
Because you will not leave my soul in hell; nor will you give your holy one to see corruption.

11  Notas mihi fecísti vias vitæ, adimplébis me lætítia cum vultu tuo : * delectatiónes in déxtera tua usque in finem.
You have made known to me the ways of life, you shall fill me with joy with your countenance: at your right hand are delights even to the end.

You can hear the psalm read slowly in Latin at Boston Catholic.

Friday in the Benedictine Office continues the weekly mini-Triduum.  Yet St Benedict’s selection of the psalms for this purpose does not dwell much on Christ’s suffering on the cross – rather he points us firmly forward to its consequences, above all to the Resurrection.

Both SS Peter and Paul quote this psalm in sermons reported in Acts (Chapter 2&13), and it is worth reading the use St Peter makes of the psalm:

"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know -- this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, `I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope.  For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy presence. 

Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:22-32

St Augustine:
Our King in this Psalm speaks in the character of the human nature He assumed, of whom the royal title at the time of His passion was eminently set forth.
St Alphonse Liguori:
The subject of this psalm, as St. Peter testifies, is a prayer addressed to God by our Lord Jesus Christ during the three days that his holy body was lying in the sepulchre. Resting on the authority of the prince of the apostles, Xavier Mattei and Father Rotigni rightly think that the literal sense and the spiritual sense are one and the same, and that thus the whole psalm directly refers to Jesus Christ raising his voice to his heavenly Father to address to him from the depth of the sepulchre the following prayer.
Fr Pius Pasch:
The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance: In this Psalm we give thanks for the gift of faith and of grace.  Other men may have kingdoms, but we possess God, the highest good.  It is he who has given me my blessed calling.  He will not suffer his holy one to see corruption: this beautiful Messianic verse foretelling the Resurrection of Christ may well be applied to our own hope in the resurrection of the body.

Pope St John Paul II:
…the New Testament incorporated this Psalm in connection with the Resurrection of Christ. In his discourse on Pentecost, St Peter quotes precisely from the second part of the hymn with an enlightening paschal and Christological application: "God raised him [Jesus of Nazareth] up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it" (Acts 2: 24).   St Paul refers to Psalm 16[15] in his announcement of the Passover of Christ during his speech at the Synagogue in Antioch Pisidian. In this light, let us also proclaim him: ""You will not let your Holy One see corruption'. For David, after he had served the counsel of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption; but he whom God raised up", that is, Jesus Christ, "saw no corruption" (Acts 13: 35-37). (Gen Audience, 28 July 2004)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Psalm 12 (Prime on Thursday) - Short summaries

Masaccio. The Agony in the Garden. ca. 1426. Altenburg, Lindenau Museum..jpg

Psalm 12 (13) Usquequo, Dómine, obliviscéris me in finem 
In finem,  Psalmus David
Unto the end, a psalm for David.
Usquequo, Dómine, obliviscéris me in finem? * úsquequo avértis fáciem tuam a me?
How long, O Lord, will you forget me unto the end? How long do you turn away your face from me?
2  Quamdiu ponam consília in ánima mea, * dolórem in corde meo per diem?
How long shall I take counsels in my soul, sorrow in my heart all the day?
3  Usquequo exaltábitur inimícus meus super me? *  réspice, et exáudi me, Dómine, Deus meus.
How long shall my enemy be exalted over Me? Consider, and hear me, O Lord, my God.
4  Illúmina óculos meos ne umquam obdórmiam in morte : * nequándo dicat inimícus meus : præválui advérsus eum.
Enlighten my eyes, that I never sleep in death: Lest at any time my enemy say: I have prevailed against him.
5  Qui tríbulant me, exsultábunt si motus fúero : * ego autem in misericórdia tua sperávi.
They that trouble me, will rejoice when I am moved: But I have trusted in your mercy.
6  Exsultábit cor meum in salutári tuo : cantábo Dómino qui bona tríbuit mihi : * et psallam nómini Dómini altíssimi.
My heart shall rejoice in your salvation: I will sing to the Lord, who gives me good things: yea, I will sing to the name of the Lord, the most high.

You can hear it read aloud here:

Psalm 12 in the context of the Benedictine Office

Thursday’s psalms in the Benedictine Office generally have a rather dark character, with the tone for the day set by Psalm 87 said at Lauds, which is perhaps the darkest psalm of the entire psalter.   Psalm 12, the first of Prime which is considered here, also echoes the theme of abandonment by God, albeit with a more upbeat end to the psalm.   All the same, it is the prayer of the Garden of Gethsemene.  

Though short, the psalm has three sections.  First the psalmist sets out his complaint, articulating the state of crisis he is in.  Secondly, he pleads with God for help, asking God to enlighten him – to make clear what he should do and prevent him from falling to temptation or enemies.  Finally, he articulates his hope, and the joyful response to God’s help that he will give when it arrives.

St Alphonsus Liguori:
Prayer that the just man addresses to God when he is tempted and afflicted by his enemies.
Fr Pius Pasch:
Abandonment and trust - This beautifully constructed Psalm forms the transition from the oppression of Psalm 11 to the joyous notes of Psalm 15.  Every good prayer must mount the three stages of this Psalm: 1) crisis, 2) heartfelt plea, 3) confident hope.
Patrick Henry Reardon:
...Psalm 12 yields a more ample understanding if we hear it on the lips of the Lord Jesus during the night of his agony and betrayal...What is described in Psalm 12, then, is the Lord's struggle with Satan, sin and death...Christ in the Psalms, pp 23-4

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Psalm 9 (Pt 2) - Prime on Wednesday

Beinecke Collection, Yale

Wednesday - Exsúrge, Dómine, non confortétur homo 

Exsúrge, Dómine, non confortétur homo: * judicéntur Gentes in conspéctu tuo.
Arise, O Lord, let not man be strengthened: let the Gentiles be judged in your sight.
2 Constítue, Dómine, legislatórem super eos: * ut sciant Gentes quóniam hómines sunt.
Appoint, O Lord, a lawgiver over them: that the Gentiles may know themselves to be but men.
3 Ut quid, Dómine, recessísti longe, * déspicis in opportunitátibus, in tribulatióne?
Why, O Lord, have you retired afar off? Why do you slight us in our wants, in the time of trouble?
4 Dum supérbit ímpius, incénditur pauper: * comprehendúntur in consíliis quibus cógitant.
Whilst the wicked man is proud, the poor is set on fire: they are caught in the counsels which they devise.
5 Quóniam laudátur peccátor in desidériis ánimæ suæ: * et iníquus benedícitur.
For the sinner is praised in the desires of his soul: and the unjust man is blessed.
6 Exacerbávit Dóminum peccátor, * secúndum multitúdinem iræ suæ non quæret.
The sinner has provoked the Lord, according to the multitude of his wrath, he will not seek him:
7 Non est Deus in conspéctu ejus: * inquinátæ sunt viæ illíus in omni témpore.
God is not before his eyes: his ways are filthy at all times.
8 Auferúntur judícia tua a fácie ejus: * ómnium inimicórum suórum dominábitur.
Your judgments are removed form his sight: he shall rule over all his enemies.
9 Dixit enim in corde suo: * Non movébor a generatióne in generatiónem sine malo.
For he has said in his heart: I shall not be moved from generation to generation, and shall be without evil.
10 Cujus maledictióne os plenum est, et amaritúdine, et dolo: * sub lingua ejus labor et dolor.
His mouth is full of cursing, and of bitterness, and of deceit: under his tongue are labour and sorrow.
11 Sedet in insídiis cum divítibus in occúltis: * ut interfíciat innocéntem.
He sits in ambush with the rich, in private places, that he may kill the innocent.
12 Oculi ejus in páuperem respíciunt: * insidiátur in abscóndito, quasi leo in spelúnca sua.
His eyes are upon the poor man: he lies in wait, in secret, like a lion in his den.
13 Insidiátur ut rápiat páuperem: * rápere páuperem, dum áttrahit eum.
He lies in ambush, that he may catch the poor man: so catch the poor, whilst he draws him to him.
 14 In láqueo suo humiliábit eum: * inclinábit se, et cadet, cum dominátus fúerit páuperum.
In his net he will bring him down, he will crouch and fall, when he shall have power over the poor.
15 Dixit enim in corde suo: Oblítus est Deus, * avértit fáciem suam ne vídeat in finem.
For he has said in his heart: God has forgotten, he has turned away his face, not to see to the end.
16 Exsúrge, Dómine Deus, exaltétur manus tua: * ne obliviscáris páuperum.
Arise, O Lord God, let your hand be exalted: forget not the poor.  
17 Propter quid irritávit ímpius Deum? * dixit enim in corde suo: Non requíret.
Wherefore has the wicked provoked God? For he has said in his heart: He will not require it.  
18 Vides quóniam tu labórem et dolórem consíderas: * ut tradas eos in manus tuas.
You see it, for you consider labour and sorrow: that you may deliver them into your hands.
19 Tibi derelíctus est pauper: * órphano tu eris adjútor.
To you is the poor man left: you will be a helper to the orphan.  
20 Cóntere bráchium peccatóris et malígni: * quærétur peccátum illíus, et non inveniétur.
Break the arm of the sinner and of the malignant: his sin shall be sought, and shall not be found. 
21 Dóminus regnábit in ætérnum, et in sæculum sæculi: * períbitis, Gentes, de terra illíus.
The Lord shall reign to eternity, yea, for ever and ever: you Gentiles shall perish from his land.  
22 Desidérium páuperum exaudívit Dóminus: * præparatiónem cordis eórum audívit auris tua.
The Lord has heard the desire of the poor: your ear has heard the preparation of their heart.
23 Judicáre pupíllo et húmili, * ut non appónat ultra magnificáre se homo super terram.
To judge for the fatherless and for the humble, that man may no more presume to magnify himself upon earth.

St Benedict's organisation of the Office splits Psalm 9 into two parts, and there is surely a reason for this!  Certainly this second part of the psalms seems to fit well with the overall theme of the day on the evil that men do, above represented by Judas' betrayal.

The writer’s main plaint is that God seems to withdraw from the world, allowing the wicked to oppress the poor. The psalm points to a contest between God and man that is only too apposite to our times: man strives for the illusion of control, convinced that even if God exists (which he doubts), he won’t actually act to punish the evildoer, but instead leaves him free to pursue his desires for riches and pleasure, and to oppress the poor. In reality of course, as the psalmist makes clear, this is not a contest that man truly win, even though he might seem to be getting away with it for a time.

This half of the psalm itself falls neatly into two halves, each section starting with the call for God to arise (‘Exsurge’).  In the opening line, the psalm asks for God to judge things 'in your sight', that is, secretly, where God alone sees.  Evil men, the psalm notes seem to thrive; God seems to allow this to happen.  Yet, the psalmist points out, God does in fact see and intervene in the workings of history, even though much of what he is doing and the reasons for it are not clear to us, at least in this life.

At the second ‘exsurge’ (verse 16) the psalmist asks for God to make manifest his judgments in response to the trust the poor put in him.  The focus shifts to the behaviour of the poor and weak, and their hope in God.

Father Pius Pasch commented:
The first part of Psalm 9 has been full of joyous confidence, but this second part is sunk in sadness and lamentation.  We have to realize that there is more than victory to the kingdom.  We must see its other side: the defeats, the Gethsemane, the tears.  The mystical Christ, and with him the child of God, goes through the world with a cross upon his shoulder.