Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tenebrae/14 - Psalm 146 (147a): On building up the Church

Codex Egberti, c980-993

Tenebrae for Maundy Thursday ends, so far as the psalms go, on a rather upbeat note that reminds us that everything will come out all right in the end!

In the Hebrew Masoretic Text Psalm 146 becomes the first half of Psalm 147, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, for the two are clearly quite distinct psalms.

Building up the Church

The emphasis of this (part of the) psalm is on all the things we should praise God for in the hear and now - particularly his work of Creation; his ongoing providential care of his creation; and especially his care for the downtrodden and brokenhearted.

Above all, this psalm reminds us of the purpose of Christ's mission and that of the Church in this period following the Resurrection: though the body of his Temple is about to be destroyed, yet "The Lord builds up Jerusalem: he will gather together the dispersed of Israel."

In the previous Canticle, the Eucharist was presented as the key to this task.  This psalm points to the things that flow from it, necessary to bring the message of hope and God's mercy to all.

We are all called to lend our hands to God for this task in our own way.  We can help buildup the Church through our prayers and offerings, and especially participation in the liturgy; through our works of charity in aiding the downtrodden; and through our preaching and teaching conveyed both in words, and more importantly action.

Psalm 146

Laudáte Dóminum quóniam bonus est psalmus: * Deo nostro sit jucúnda, decóraque laudátio.
Ædíficans Jerúsalem Dóminus: * dispersiónes Israël congregábit.
Qui sanat contrítos corde: * et álligat contritiónes eórum.
Qui númerat multitúdinem stellárum: * et ómnibus eis nómina vocat.
Magnus Dóminus noster, et magna virtus ejus: * et sapiéntiæ ejus non est númerus.
Suscípiens mansuétos Dóminus: * humílians autem peccatóres usque ad terram.
Præcínite Dómino in confessióne: * psállite Deo nostro in cíthara.
Qui óperit cælum núbibus: * et parat terræ plúviam.
Qui prodúcit in móntibus fœnum: * et herbam servitúti hóminum.
Qui dat juméntis escam ipsórum: * et pullis corvórum invocántibus eum.
Non in fortitúdine equi voluntátem habébit: * nec in tíbiis viri beneplácitum erit ei.
Beneplácitum est Dómino super timéntes eum: * et in eis, qui sperant super misericórdia ejus.

Praise the Lord, because psalm is good: to our God be joyful and comely praise. The Lord builds up Jerusalem: he will gather together the dispersed of Israel.
Who heals the broken of heart, and binds up their bruises.
Who tells the number of the stars: and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord, and great is his power: and of his wisdom there is no number.
The Lord lifts up the meek, and brings the wicked down even to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with praise: sing to our God upon the harp.
Who covers the heaven with clouds, and prepares rain for the earth.
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains, and herbs for the service of men.
Who gives to beasts their food: and to the young ravens that call upon him.
He shall not delight in the strength of the horse: nor take pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear him: and in them that hope in his mercy.

Tenebrae of Holy Thursday

Nocturn I: Psalms 68, 69, 70
Nocturn II: Psalms 71, 72, 73
Nocturn III: Psalms 74, 75, 76
Lauds: 50, 89, 35, [Ex 15], 146

And you can find the next part in this series, on the psalms of Tenebrae for Good Friday, here.

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