Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Penitential Psalms - Psalm 50/5 verses 10-12

Today's verses of Psalm 50 consist of another plea for God to forgive David's sins and to restore him to a state of grace: first by 'turning away is face' from his sins; secondly by 'creating a clean heart' in him; and thirdly by restoring the gift of the Holy Spirit's presence in him, and granting the grace of perseverance.

Avérte fáciem tuam a peccátis meis: * et omnes iniquitátes meas dele.
Absconde faciem tuam a peccatis meis, et omnes iniquitates meas dele.

πόστρεψον τ πρόσωπόν σου π τν μαρτιν μου κα πάσας τς νομίας μου ξάλειψον

Text notes: Turn your face away from my sins, ie forgive my sins

deleo, levi, letum, ere 2, to destroy, blot out, annihilate.

Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Turn thy face from my sins, and put out all my misdeeds.

Cassiodorus draws out the import of the idea of God 'turning away his face' from our sins.  Image is obviously figurative, yet it does point to a physical reality for us:

"...If we turn away our faces from our sins, it is harmful, because we forget and neglect what we ought to cleanse with unbroken tears; but if the Lord does not turn away He destroys, because He judges the sins on which He gazes. So elsewhere too the prophet prays: Turn not away thy face from me, and I shall be like them that go down into the pit. And rightly, for if we are gazed upon we are absolved by the mercy of the Saviour. As the gospel says of Peter: And the Lord gazed at Peter, and going outside he wept bitterly." 

Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: * et spíritum rectum ínnova in viscéribus meis.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus, et spiritum firmum innova in visceribus meis.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus; et spiritum stabilem renoua in uisceribus meis.

καρδίαν καθαρν κτίσον ν μοί θεός κα πνεμα εθς γκαίνισον ν τος γκάτοις μου

innovo, avi, atum, are, to renew,
viscera, um,   the bowels, the inmost part of anything; tender mercy, tender pity

Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in my inward parts.
Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Pope John Paul II commented on the references to a 'right spirit' and 'holy spirit' in this verse and the next:

First of all, it is important to note that in the original Hebrew the word "spirit" is repeated three times, invoked of God as a gift and received by the human creature who has repented of his sin:  "Renew in me a steadfast spirit.... Do not deprive me of your holy spirit.... Sustain in me a generous spirit" (vv. 12.13.14). One could say, taking recourse to a liturgical term, that it is an "epiclesis", that is, a triple invocation of the Spirit who, as in creation hovered over the waters (cf. Gn 1,2), now penetrates the soul of the faithful, infusing it with new life and raising it from the kingdom of sin to the heaven of grace.  The Church Fathers, in the "spirit" invoked by the Psalmist, see the effective presence of the Holy Spirit. Thus, St Ambrose is convinced that it is about the Holy Spirit, who is one "who was active in the prophets, was breathed upon the Apostles and was joined with the Father and the Son in the sacrament of Baptism"... The same conviction is expressed by other Fathers, such as Didymus the Blind of Alexandria, Egypt, and Basil of Caesarea in their respective treatises on the Holy Spirit."

Ne projícias me a fácie tua: * et spíritum sanctum tuum ne áuferas a me.

μ πορρίψς με π το προσώπου σου κα τ πνεμα τ γιόν σου μ ντανέλς π' μο

projicio, jeci, jectum, ere 3  to cast,  cast away, off, or forth,  upon, down; drive away, scatter, reject
aufero, abstuli, ablatum, auferre to take or bear away; to destroy.

Cast me not away from your face; and take not your holy spirit from me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and remove not thy holy Spirit from me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me

This verse provides a plea for the grace of perseverance, as Bellarmine explains:

"He now, mindful of his frailty, asks for the grace of perse­verance; lest, being too much raised up by grace, he may hap­pen to fall again. The expression, "Cast me not away from thy face," is used in the Scripture to designate those who are cast off by God, without any hope or chance of reconciliation. Thus, in 1 Kings 16, the Lord said to Samuel, "How long wilt thou mourn over Saul whom I have rejected?" and 2 kings 7, "But my mercy I will not take away from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before my face;" and in 4 Kings 24, "For the Lord was angry against Jerusalem, and against Juda, till he cast them out from his face." He, therefore, says, "Cast me not away from thy face." Allow me not to lapse again into sin, for fear you should deprive me of your grace forever. My having been washed, and made white as snow, and having had a right spirit renewed within me, would be of little value, if I were ulti­mately to be "cast away from your face," with the reprobate."

Psalm 50: Miserere me Deus 
In finem. Psalmus David cum venit ad eum Nathan propheta, quando intravit ad Bethsabee.
Unto the end, a psalm of David, 2 when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had sinned with Bethsabee.
1 Miserére mei Deus, * secúndum magnam misericórdiam tuam.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy.
2  Et secúndum multitúdinem miseratiónum tuárum, * dele iniquitátem meam.
And according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
3  Amplius lava me ab iniquitáte mea: * et a peccáto meo munda me.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
4  Quóniam iniquitátem meam ego cognósco: * et peccátum meum contra me est semper.
For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
5  Tibi soli peccávi, et malum coram te feci: * ut justificéris in sermónibus tuis, et vincas cum judicáris.
To you only have I sinned, and have done evil before you: that you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged.
6  Ecce enim in iniquitátibus concéptus sum: * et in peccátis concépit me mater mea.
For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.
7  Ecce enim veritátem dilexísti: * incérta et occúlta sapiéntiæ tuæ manifestásti mihi.
For behold you have loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of your wisdom you have made manifest to me.
8  Aspérges me hyssópo, et mundábor: * lavábis me, et super nivem dealbábor.
You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: you shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
9  Audítui meo dabis gáudium et lætítiam: * et exsultábunt ossa humiliáta.
To my hearing you shall give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
10  Avérte fáciem tuam a peccátis meis: * et omnes iniquitátes meas dele.
Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
11  Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: * et spíritum rectum ínnova in viscéribus meis.
Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
12  Ne projícias me a fácie tua: * et spíritum sanctum tuum ne áuferas a me.
Cast me not away from your face; and take not your holy spirit from me.
13  Redde mihi lætítiam salutáris tui: * et spíritu principáli confírma me.
Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
14  Docébo iníquos vias tuas: * et ímpii ad te converténtur.
I will teach the unjust your ways: and the wicked shall be converted to you.
15  Líbera me de sanguínibus, Deus, Deus salútis meæ: * et exsultábit lingua mea justítiam tuam.
Deliver me from blood, O God, you God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol your justice.   
16  Dómine, lábia mea apéries: * et os meum annuntiábit laudem tuam.
O Lord, you will open my lips: and my mouth shall declare your praise.
17  Quóniam si voluísses sacrifícium dedíssem útique: * holocáustis non delectáberis.
For if you had desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings you will not be delighted.
18  Sacrifícium Deo spíritus contribulátus: * cor contrítum, et humiliátum, Deus non despícies.
A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.
19  Benígne fac, Dómine, in bona voluntáte tua Sion: * ut ædificéntur muri Jerúsalem.
Deal favourably, O Lord, in your good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
20  Tunc acceptábis sacrifícium justítiæ, oblatiónes, et holocáusta: * tunc impónent super altáre tuum vítulos.
Then shall you accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon your altar.

You can find the next part in this series on Psalm 50 here.

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