Monday, April 15, 2013

Tenebrae/32 - Psalm 29

The title of Psalm 29 alludes to the dedication of David's house, but as Pope John Paul II pointed out in his General Audience given on it, it has always been interpreted, in the Christian tradition, as a paschal hymn.

The psalm opens with Christ thanking his Father for his deliverance, and looks forward to the Resurrection, as the sixth century commentator Cassiodorus nicely sums up:

"In the first section the Lord Christ our King gives thanks to the Father after His glorious resurrection, because the Father freed Him from the hostility of this world. He orders the saints to announce praise of the Lord, since all things lie in His power. In the second section He says that He is not to be shifted from His steadfast pur­pose, and further adds that praise of the Deity is to be discharged by the living and not by the dead. In the third section He joyfully and delightedly returns to His resurrection, for having laid aside the frailty of the flesh He continues in the undying glory of His majesty. In his usual fashion He describes as past what He knew would come."

St Alphonsus Liguori draws out the lesson from it for us:

"This psalm is very suitable to every Christian who, having been assailed by his passions, is in danger of falling into temptations."

It teaches, Pope John Paul II, suggests that

"...we must never let ourselves be ensnared by the dark confusion of despair, when it seems that everything is already lost. Nor, of course, is there any need to fall into the illusion that we can save ourselves with our own resources." 

Rather, we must cry out to God for help, and then thank him when it comes.

Psalm 29
Psalm 29 Exaltabo te Domine
Psalmus cantici, in dedicatione domus David.
A psalm of a canticle, at the dedication of David's house.
1 Exaltábo te, Dómine, quóniam suscepísti me: * nec delectásti inimícos meos super me.
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have upheld me: and have not made my enemies to rejoice over me.
2  Dómine, Deus meus, clamávi ad te, * et sanásti me.
3 O Lord my God, I have cried to you, and you have healed me.
3  Dómine, eduxísti ab inférno ánimam meam: * salvásti me a descendéntibus in lacum.
4 You have brought forth, O Lord, my soul from hell: you have saved me from them that go down into the pit.
4  Psállite Dómino, sancti ejus: * et confitémini memóriæ sanctitátis ejus.
5 Sing to the Lord, O you his saints: and give praise to the memory of his holiness.
5  Quóniam ira in indignatióne ejus: * et vita in voluntáte ejus.
6 For wrath is in his indignation; and life in his good will.
6  Ad vésperum demorábitur fletus: * et ad matutínum lætítia.
In the evening weeping shall have place, and in the morning gladness.
7 Ego autem dixi in abundántia mea: * Non movébor in ætérnum.
7 And in my abundance I said: I shall never be moved.
 8  Dómine, in voluntáte tua, * præstitísti decóri meo virtútem.
8 O Lord, in your favour, you gave strength to my beauty.
9 Avertísti fáciem tuam a me, * et factus sum conturbátus.
You turned away your face from me, and I became troubled.
10  Ad te, Dómine, clamábo: * et ad Deum meum deprecábor.
9 To you, O Lord, will I cry: and I will make supplication to my God.
11  Quæ utílitas in sánguine meo, * dum descéndo in corruptiónem?
10 What profit is there in my blood, whilst I go down to corruption?
12  Numquid confitébitur tibi pulvis, * aut annuntiábit veritátem tuam?
Shall dust confess to you, or declare your truth?
13  Audívit Dóminus, et misértus est mei: * Dóminus factus est adjútor meus.
11 The Lord has heard, and has had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper.
14  Convertísti planctum meum in gáudium mihi: * conscidísti saccum meum, et circumdedísti me lætítia:
12 You have turned for me my mourning into joy: you have cut my sackcloth, and have compassed me with gladness:
15  Ut cantet tibi glória mea, et non compúngar: * Dómine, Deus meus, in ætérnum confitébor tibi.
13 To the end that my glory may sing to you, and I may not regret: O Lord my God, I will give praise to you for ever.

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

For the next part in this series, go here.  If you want to look at the notes on Psalm 53, covered earlier in this series, go here.

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