Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tenebrae/28 - Psalm 4: On the Church

Today in this Lenten series on the psalms of Tenebrae we have reached the psalms set for Tenebrae of Holy Saturday.

Psalm 4 is normally said at Compline, but its inclusion in Tenebrae is presumably because of the verse: In pace in idípsum dórmiam et requiéscam (In peace in the self same I will sleep, and I will rest), for today's Office recalls Christ’s ‘resting’ in the tomb.

The sixth century commentator Cassiodorus interprets the psalm as being about the creation of the great community that is the Church, born of that preaching of Christ both to those alive, and to the dead:

"Throughout the psalm the words are spoken by holy mother Church. She is not a ghostly fashioning of our hearts' imagination, like 'fatherland' or 'state' or something without living personality; the Church is the aggregate of all the holy faithful, one soul and one heart, the bride of Christ, the Jerusalem of the age to come...In the first section she asks that her prayer be heard, and rebukes the faithless for worshipping false gods and neglecting worship of the true God. In the second part she warns the world at large that it must abandon deceitful superstition, and offer the sacrifice of justice. Then in her attempt to win over the minds of pagans by the promise she has made, she relates that the Lord has bestowed great gifts on Christians…"

Psalm 4: Cum invocarem

In finem, in carminibus. Psalmus David.
Unto the end, in verses. A psalm for David.
1 Cum invocárem exaudívit me deus justítiæ meæ: *  in tribulatióne dilatásti mihi.
When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress, you have enlarged me.
2 Miserére mei, * et exáudi oratiónem meam.
Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer.
3 Filii hóminum, úsquequo gravi corde? *  ut quid dilígitis vanitátem et quæritis mendácium?
O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying?
4 Et scitóte quóniam mirificávit dóminus sanctum suum: * dóminus exáudiet me cum clamávero ad eum.
Know also that the Lord has made his holy one wonderful: the Lord will hear me when I shall cry unto him.
5 Irascímini, et nolíte peccáre: * quæ dícitis in córdibus vestris, in cubílibus vestris compungímini.
Be angry, and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.
6 Sacrificáte sacrifícium justítiæ, et speráte in dómino, * multi dicunt quis osténdit nobis bona?
Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, Who shows us good things?
7 Signátum est super nos lumen vultus tui, dómine: *  dedísti lætítiam in corde meo.
The light of your countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us: you have given gladness in my heart.
8 A fructu fruménti, vini et ólei sui * multiplicáti sunt.
By the fruit of their corn, their wine, and oil, they rest
9 In pace in idípsum * dórmiam et requiéscam;
In peace in the self same I will sleep, and I will rest
10 Quóniam tu, dómine, singuláriter in spe * constituísti me.
For you, O Lord, singularly have settled me in hope.

Tenebrae of Holy Saturday

Nocturn I: Psalms 4, 14, 15
Nocturn II: Psalms 23, 26, 29
Nocturn III: Psalms 53*, 75*, 87*
Lauds: 50*, 91, 63, [Is 38], 150

And for the next part in this series go here.

You can also find some short summaries of this psalm by various authors here.

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