Friday, March 28, 2014

The Penitential Psalms - Psalm 50/7 - verse 16

Verse 16 of Psalm 50 appears to have been one of St Benedict's favourites: he sets it to open Matins every day; and also uses it as part of the ceremony for the  blessing of the weekly reader (RB 38), accordingly, it is worth meditating on carefully.

There is of course, great symbolism in its use at Matins, for in the case of David, he is asking to be allowed to worthily praise God again after his sin; in the case of the monk, these are the first words said aloud in the darkness after the nightly great silence.  The silent night is the night of our sin; in the morning we arise refreshed and forgiven, ready to sing God's praises afresh.

Dómine, lábia mea apéries: * et os meum annuntiábit laudem tuam.

κύριε τ χείλη μου νοίξεις κα τ στόμα μου ναγγελε τν ανεσίν σου

O Lord, you will open my lips: and my mouth shall declare your praise.
O Lord, thou shalt open my lips; and my mouth shall declare thy praise.
O Lord open Thou my lips and my mouth shall proclaim Thy praise
O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall show thy praise.

St Thomas Aquinas instructs us that:

But it must be understood that man at times is prevented from instruction also on account of the hindrance of speaking inwardly; and this happens at times on account of the fault of the hearers. Ezech. 3. "I will make thy tongue stick fast to the roof of thy mouth, and thou shalt be dumb." And below: "Because they are a provoking house." And on account of his particular sin. Psalm 106. All iniquity shall stop her mouth. Because then God only "made the tongues of infants eloquent:" Wisdom 10. Therefore he asks: O Lord, take away the hindrances, which I have incurred through sin, from my lips; and thou Wilt open my lips. Ephesians 6. "That speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth with confidence to make known the mystery of the gospel." But it must be noted that in the opening of the mouth is understood the depth of instruction, wherever in the Scriptures is found the opening of the mouth; as in Job 3. "After this Job opened his mouth."  And Mattthew 5. "Opening his mouth, Jesus." that is, in the depth of Scripture. And then my mouth shall declare thy praise; as if he were saying: What I hold in my heart, I shall confess with my mouth.

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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