Monday, October 17, 2016

Psalm 5 - the quintessential Lauds psalm?

c16th, St Andrews Special Collection

Psalm 5: Verba mei auribus: Monday Lauds
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
In finem, pro ea quæ hæreditatem consequitur. Psalmus David.
Unto the end, for her that obtains the inheritance. A psalm for David.
1 Verba mea áuribus pércipe, Dómine, * intéllege clamórem meum.
Give ear, O Lord, to my words, understand my cry
2. Inténde voci oratiónis meæ: * Rex meus et Deus meus
Hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God
3  Quóniam ad te orábo: * Dómine, mane exáudies vocem meam.
For to you will I pray: O Lord, in the morning you shall hear my voice
4  Mane astábo tibi et vidébo: * quóniam non Deus volens iniquitátem tu es.
In the morning I will stand before you, and I will see: because you are not a God that wills iniquity.
5  Neque habitábit juxta te malígnus: * neque permanébunt injústi ante óculos tuos.
Neither shall the wicked dwell near you: nor shall the unjust abide before your eyes.
6  Odísti omnes, qui operántur iniquitátem: * perdes omnes, qui loquúntur mendácium.
You hate all the workers of iniquity: you will destroy all that speak a lie
7  Virum sánguinum et dolósum abominábitur Dóminus: * ego autem in multitúdine misericórdiæ tuæ.
The bloody and the deceitful man the Lord will abhor.  But as for me in the multitude of your mercy,
8  Introíbo in domum tuam: * adorábo ad templum sanctum tuum in timóre tuo.
I will come into your house; I will worship towards your holy temple, in your fear.
9  Dómine, deduc me in justítia tua: * propter inimícos meos dírige in conspéctu tuo viam meam.
Conduct me, O Lord, in your justice: because of my enemies, direct my way in your sight.
10  Quóniam non est in ore eórum véritas: * cor eórum vanum est.
For there is no truth in their mouth: their heart is vain.
11  Sepúlcrum patens est guttur eórum, linguis suis dolóse agébant, * júdica illos, Deus.
Their throat is an open sepulchre: they dealt deceitfully with their tongues: judge them, O God
12  Décidant a cogitatiónibus suis, secúndum multitúdinem impietátum eórum expélle eos, * quóniam irritavérunt te, Dómine.
Let them fall from their devices: according to the multitude of their wickednesses cast them out: for they have provoked you, O Lord.
13  Et læténtur omnes, qui sperant in te, * in ætérnum exsultábunt: et habitábis in eis.
But let all them be glad that hope in you: they shall rejoice for ever, and you shall dwell in them.
14  Et gloriabúntur in te omnes, qui díligunt nomen tuum: * quóniam tu benedíces justo.
And all they that love your name shall glory in you. For you will bless the just.
15  Dómine, ut scuto bonæ voluntátis tuæ * coronásti nos.
O Lord, you have crowned us, as with a shield of your good will.

St Benedict's psalm cursus

Today's puzzle in relation to the design of the Benedictine Office is, why St Benedict did assign this psalm to Lauds rather than Prime?

Prime on Mondays, after all, starts with Psalms 1 and 2.  Psalms 3&4 are used at Matins and Compline respectively, but it would have been perfectly possible to conclude the hour with Psalm 5, put Psalm 6 into Tuesday, and reduce the number of psalms that are divided at that hour.

Part of the answer may be to do more with Psalm 6 than Psalm 5: while Psalm 5 would have provided a nice triptych to Psalm 1, Psalm 6 has important thematic links to Psalm 128 which St Benedict goes out of his way to place at Vespers on Mondays, so may be important to the thematic unity of the day.

A second, and possibly more important reason though, probably has to do with comments of Origen, Cyprian and Basil on the hour of Lauds, for they all quote verses 3-4 from the psalm as part of their rationale for prayer at this time.

The quintessential Lauds psalm(s)?

It is often suggested that Psalm 62 is the quintessential Lauds psalm, and it is heavily used as such in the Eastern Office, and may have been said daily in the early Roman Office.  Psalm 5, though, has equally strong claims in terms of its content.

Origen, for example, suggested that praying at specific times of the day (and again at midnight) was a necessary part of the ideal of 'praying without ceasing', and points to Psalm 5 as part of the evidence that Lauds is of ancient origin:
Of such prayer what is usually termed prayer is indeed a part, and ought to be performed at least three times each day, as is plain from the account of Daniel who, in spite of the grave danger that impended, prayed three times daily... The first is spoken of by David: “In the morning shall you hear my prayer: in the morning will I present myself to you and keep watch.” (On prayer, chapter 7)
St Cyprian (almost certainly incorrectly) disagreed with Origen on the origins of the hour, claiming instead Terce, Sext and None as the ancient hours of prayer, but still uses the psalm when pointing to the Resurrection as the origin of Lauds:
But for us, beloved brethren, besides the hours of prayer observed of old, both the times and the sacraments have now increased in number. For we must also pray in the morning, that the Lord's resurrection may be celebrated by morning prayer. And this formerly the Holy Spirit pointed out in the Psalms, saying, My King, and my God, because unto You will I cry; O Lord, in the morning shall You hear my voice; in the morning will I stand before You, and will look up to You. (Treatise 4)
St Basil also refers to the psalm in his rationale for prayer in the early morning in the Longer Rule:
Prayers are recited early in the morning so that the first movements of the soul and the mind may be consecrated to God and that we may take up no other consideration before we have been cheered and heartened by the thought of God, as it is written: 'I remembered God and was delighted, and that the body may not busy itself with tasks before we have fulfilled the words: To thee will I pray, O Lord; in the morning thou shalt hear my, voice. In the morning I will stand before thee and will see.'
Lauds memes

Psalms 5 also contains other key thematic links other psalms of the hour which we will explore over the next two weeks, including the reference to lifting our hands in prayer (also appears in Psalms 62, 56 and 142); entering into the temple; and to truth, justice and mercy.

The Incarnation, baptism and call to conversion

Above all though, the assignment of Psalm 5 to Monday surely reflects the fact that it covers similar themes to Psalm 32 at Matins and Psalm 1 at Prime, namely the choice between imitating Christ and evil.  St Liguori summarises it as follows:
The just man may here understand perfectly how he should conduct himself in adversities and then be consoled by confiding in God. At the end, the psalm shows us the happiness of heaven as a reward promised to souls that suffer patiently here below.
The call to conversion

The psalm has a strong relationship of its key themes to those of the Office today, including the weekly call to conversion and re-commitment to our  baptismal and other vows and promises.

Several of the Fathers see the title, which refers to the one receiving an inheritance, as talking about the Church.  St Augustine for example says:
 She is said to obtain the inheritance because spiritual goods have accrued to her through Christ's resurrection: these are the invincible foundation of faith, the most certain reward of hope, the sweet bond of charity, and so on. 
But it also has an individual dimension, closely linked to the second psalm on Prime on Monday, Psalm 2, as Cassidorus explained:
Of this inheritance the gospel says: Blessed are the meek, because they will possess the earth by inheritance. Then again, the Church is called the inheritance, as in the words of Psalm 2: Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
St John Chrysostom similar points to the Church as the recipient of a spiritual inheritance but also reminds us of the image of Christ as the bridegroom, an image that can be applied to us individually as well as collectively:
…Now, who is the one receiving an inheritance? "On a person receiving an inheritance," the title says, remember. The Church, and its fullness, about which Paul says, "I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." And John: "He who has the bride is the bridegroom." 
...he also wishes us all to be one body and one soul on the basis of virtue and love, and because, just as the bride does everything to please the bridegroom, so should we be throughout life…
Summary of the psalm

Cassiodorus summarises the psalm as follows:
 The whole of this psalm is uttered by the person of the Catholic Church, who in the first section asks that her prayer be heard, and proclaims that heretics and schismatics must be excluded from the Lord's gifts. In the second part she begs that through her understanding of the divine Scriptures she may be guided by God's kindness on the direct path to that blessed native land, and she asserts that the unfaithful make themselves total foreigners to it. Finally she mentions the rewards of the blessed, so that by this one proclamation prior warning of their punishment may convert the wicked, and promise of rewards fire the just...
 How sweet is the prayer of holy Church which has been heard! She both begets us in faith and fashions us by religious formation. She teaches the ignorant, cherishes little ones, relieves the afflicted, and gathers to her own breasts for nourishment those who she knows adhere to her doctrine. She makes supplication so that we may learn to make entreaty; she shuns the wicked that we may curse those who are most evil. She trusts in the Lord that we too may feel an obligation to have confidence in Him. So like a revered mother she transmits to her little ones words for them to speak, so that when prayerful feeling grows strong in us, it may make both psalmody a consolation in our human actions and our actions accord with the divine commands. So let us say what she urges, know what she believes, and at any rate love that for which she has affection, so that when we follow her intention we may undoubtedly become her sons. 
Note that Psalm 5 is also said in the first Nocturn of Matins for the dead, chanted as in the video below.

Latin word study: words for (early) morning 

The psalms use a number of different words and expressions to talk about early morning, and prayer therein, I'm going to leave aside for the moment the various poetic images and references to light (first light, light of dawn, etc), and focus in this post on some of the individual words most often used in Scripture.

matutinus, a, um,  pertaining to the morning, early in the morning. 

Matutinis is actually the word St Benedict and the Fathers used (for obvious reasons) for what we now call Lauds - the process by which vigils or nocturns became Matins is a curious one!  The word appears thirty times in the Vulgate.

Psalm 29 (Matins, Sunday)
6  Ad vésperum demorábitur fletus: * et ad matutínum lætítia.
In the evening weeping shall have place, and in the morning gladness.

Psalm 62 (Lauds, Sunday)
7  Si memor fui tui super stratum meum, in matutínis meditábor in te: * quia fuísti adjútor meus.
7 If I have remembered you upon my bed, I will meditate on you in the morning: 8 Because you have been my helper.


diluculum, i, n. the dawn, daybreak, the early morning,  morning twilight,.

This word appears 39 times in the Vulgate, including to describe the actions of Jesus the morning after healing Peter's mother-in-law:
Mark 1: 35 Et diluculo valde surgens, egressus abiit in desertum locum, ibique orabat (And rising very early, going out, he went into a desert place: and there he prayed.)
and the women on the day of the Resurrection:
Luke 24: 1 Una autem sabbati valde diluculo venerunt ad monumentum, portantes quæ paraverant aromata: 2 et invenerunt lapidem revolutum a monumento.
There is, then, a strong implication that this is something we should emulate.

Psalm 45 (Matins Tuesday)
5  Deus in médio ejus, non commovébitur: * adjuvábit eam Deus mane dilúculo.
6 God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help it in the morning early.

Psalm 56 (Lauds, Tuesday)
11  Exsúrge, glória mea, exsúrge psaltérium et cíthara: * exsúrgam dilúculo.
Arise, O my glory, arise psaltery and harp: I will arise early.

Psalm 77 (Matins, Thursday)
38  Cum occíderet eos, quærébant eum: * et revertebántur, et dilúculo veniébant ad eum.
34 When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned, and came to him early in the morning.

Psalm 107 (Matins, Saturday)
2  Exsúrge, glória mea, exsúrge, psaltérium et cíthara: * exsúrgam dilúculo.
3 Arise, my glory; arise, psaltery and harp: I will arise in the morning early.

Psalm 118 (Monday, Sext)
148  Prævenérunt óculi mei ad te dilúculo: * ut meditárer elóquia tua.
My eyes to you have prevented the morning: that I might meditate on your words.

Psalm 138 (Vespers, Thursday)
8  Si súmpsero pennas meas dilúculo, * et habitávero in extrémis maris.
9 If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea:

mane, adv., early, early in the morning, very early

Easily the most common word used in Scripture (828 appearances in the Vulgate), mane can be used both as an adverb and a substantive (in this case an indeclinable noun).

Psalm 5 (Lauds, Monday)
3  Quóniam ad te orábo: * Dómine, mane exáudies vocem meam.
For to you will I pray: O Lord, in the morning you shall hear my voice
4  Mane astábo tibi et vidébo: * quóniam non Deus volens iniquitátem tu es.
In the morning I will stand before you, and I will see: because you are not a God that wills iniquity.

Psalm 87 (Lauds, Thursday)
14 Et ego ad te, Dómine, clamávi : * et mane orátio mea prævéniet te.
But I, O Lord, have cried to you: and in the morning my prayer shall prevent you.

Psalm 89 (Lauds, Tuesday)
6  Mane sicut herba tránseat, mane flóreat, et tránseat: * véspere décidat, indúret et aréscat.
6 In the morning man shall grow up like grass; in the morning he shall flourish and pass away: in the evening he shall fall, grow dry, and wither.

Psalm 91 (Lauds, Friday)
2  Ad annuntiándum mane misericórdiam tuam: * et veritátem tuam per noctem
3 To show forth your mercy in the morning, and your truth in the night:

Psalm 142 (Lauds, Saturday)
9  Audítam fac mihi mane misericórdiam tuam: * quia in te sperávi.
Cause me to hear your mercy in the morning; for in you have I hoped.

Less common words

aurora ae f dawn, morning light, break of day, redness of the morning

The word aurora only appears once in the psalms, but is used half a dozen or times elsewhere in Scripture (including three times in Job).  The similarity to the Latin for gold (aurum) suggests its connection to the colour of morning light; it can also imply 'from the East'.

Psalm 73 (Matins, Thursday)
17  Tuus est dies, et tua est nox: * tu fabricátus es auróram et solem.
16 Yours is the day, and yours is the night: you have made the morning light and the sun.


maturitas, atis, f early morning, dawn.

Psalm 118 (Monday, Sext)
147  Prævéni in maturitáte, et clamávi: * quia in verba tua supersperávi.
I prevented the dawning of the day, and cried: because in your words I very much hoped




You can also learn more about this psalm in the verse by verse notes I've previously provided on it.

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