Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tenebrae/25 - Psalm 84: The call to conversion

Today's psalm, Psalm 84, continues the meditation on our coming Redemption through Christ's sacrifice on the Cross.

The antiphon sets the tone, with the words of the good thief, asking Jesus t remember him when he comes into his kingdom.

Almost but not yet

In fact the psalm captures the whole 'almost but not yet' flavour of these end times.

The original historical context for the psalm is thought to be the disappointments that faced the returnees from Exile.  The people rejoice at their new-found freedom; yet the pall of God's continuing anger still seems to hang over them.

In the context of Good Friday, the message is all the more poignant, as Fr Pius Pasch comments:

"...Through Christ's death on the Cross the debt of sin has been wiped away (1st strophe), and the fruit of that death will now be given to him who asks (2nd strophe).  Again God walks here below with man.  Peace and justice, banished from the earth since the first sin, embrace beneath the Cross."

Accordingly, the psalm looks forward to the heavenly kingdom, where

"Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace have kissed.
Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice has looked down from heaven."

But its key message for us at this moment in time, is the call to conversion: "Convert us, O God our saviour: and turn off your anger from us."

Psalm 84

Psalm 84: Benedixisti Domine

In finem, filiis Core. Psalmus
Unto the end, for the sons of Core, a psalm.
1  Benedixísti, Dómine, terram tuam: * avertísti captivitátem Jacob.
2 Lord, you have blessed your land: you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.
2  Remisísti iniquitátem plebis tuæ: * operuísti ómnia peccáta eórum.
3 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people: you have covered all their sins.
3  Mitigásti omnem iram tuam: * avertísti ab ira indignatiónis tuæ
4 You have mitigated all your anger: you have turned away from the wrath of your indignation.
4  Convérte nos, Deus, salutáris noster: * et avérte iram tuam a nobis.
5 Convert us, O God our saviour: and turn off your anger from us.
5  Numquid in ætérnum irascéris nobis? * aut exténdes iram tuam a generatióne in generatiónem?
6 Will you be angry with us for ever: or will you extend your wrath from generation to generation?
6  Deus, tu convérsus vivificábis nos: * et plebs tua lætábitur in te.
7 You will turn, O God, and bring us to life: and your people shall rejoice in you.
7  Osténde nobis, Dómine, misericórdiam tuam: * et salutáre tuum da nobis.
8 Show us, O Lord, your mercy; and grant us your salvation.
8   Audiam quid loquátur in me Dóminus Deus: * quóniam loquétur pacem in plebem suam.
9 I will hear what the Lord God will speak in me: for he will speak peace unto his people:
9  Et super sanctos suos: * et in eos, qui convertúntur ad cor.
And unto his saints: and unto them that are converted to the heart.
10  Verúmtamen prope timéntes eum salutáre ipsíus: * ut inhábitet glória in terra nostra.
10 Surely his salvation is near to them that fear him: that glory may dwell in our land.
11  Misericórdia, et véritas obviavérunt sibi: * justítia, et pax osculátæ sunt.
11 Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace have kissed.
12  Véritas de terra orta est: * et justítia de cælo prospéxit.
12 Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice has looked down from heaven.
13  Etenim Dóminus dabit benignitátem: * et terra nostra dabit fructum suum.
13 For the Lord will give goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit.
14  Justítia ante eum ambulábit: * et ponet in via gressus suos.
14 Justice shall walk before him: and shall set his steps in the way.

Tenebrae of Good Friday

Nocturn I: Psalms 2, 21, 26
Nocturn II: Psalms 37, 39, 53*
Nocturn III: Psalms 58, 87*, 93
Lauds: 50*, 142, 84, [Hab], 147

And the next part of this series can be found here.

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