Friday, October 14, 2011

Psalm 3: Voce mea ad Dominum (v4)

Continuing the verse a day approach to looking at Psalm 3, we have reached the half-way mark with verse 4.

The Fathers and Theologians generally treat this verse as something of a mini-treatise on prayer, encouraging us to engage in prayer that engages the whole body in intense, internal and vocal prayer of the heart. No doubt this is part of the reason Pope Benedict XVI chose this psalm for his own series on the psalms and prayer!

Psalm 3

The psalm so far, with today's verse highlighted:

Dómine quid multiplicáti sunt qui tríbulant me? multi insúrgunt advérsum me.
Multi dicunt ánimæ meæ: Non est salus ipsi in Deo ejus.
Tu autem, Dómine, suscéptor meus es, glória mea, et exáltans caput meum
Voce mea ad Dóminum clamávi: et exaudívit me de monte sancto suo.

The Douay-Rheims translates verse 4 as: "I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and he hath heard me from his holy hill."

Phrase by phrase

Voce mea=with my voice

The word voce perhaps implies that vocal prayer is meant here, but the verb clamavi (I have cried out) below suggests something intense, engaging the whole body.

ad Dóminum clamávi= to the Lord I have cried out

We must cry out with our voice: here it means inner voice, the true voice of our heart, coming from that inner room of our body. Secondly it must be devout, intent.

et exaudívit me=and he heard me

We need also to remember that prayer is a dialogue, and leave room for God to reply to us. The Pope adds that:

"Man is no longer alone, his foes are not invincible as they had seemed, for the Lord hears the cry of the oppressed and answers from the place of his presence, from his holy hill. The human being cries out in anguish, in danger, in pain; the human being calls for help and God answers. In this interweaving of the human cry and the divine response we find the dialectic of prayer and the key to reading the entire history of salvation. The cry expresses the need for help and appeals to the other’s faithfulness; crying out means making an act of faith in God’s closeness and in his willingness to listen."

de monte sancto suo = from his holy mountain(ie Mt Sion, Jerusalem, or heaven).

The Pope comments that:

"Thus the Psalmist, who feels besieged by death, professes his faith in the God of life who, as a shield, surrounds him with an invulnerable protection; the one who believed he was as good as lost can raise his head because the Lord saves him; the praying person, threatened and mocked, is in glory, because God is his glory."

Vocab list

vox, vocis, /., the voice of a person, or, the sound of an instrument, thunder.
clamo, avi, atum, are to call, cry out; to call to or upon for aid.
exaudio, ivi, Itum, ire, to hear, hearken to, listen to, give heed to; to regard, answer.
mons, montis, m., a mountain (mons sanctus = Zion)
sanctus, a, um, holy.

This series continues here.

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