Thursday, July 21, 2016

Psalm 12 (Prime on Thursday) - Short summaries

Masaccio. The Agony in the Garden. ca. 1426. Altenburg, Lindenau Museum..jpg

Psalm 12 (13) Usquequo, Dómine, obliviscéris me in finem 
In finem,  Psalmus David
Unto the end, a psalm for David.
Usquequo, Dómine, obliviscéris me in finem? * úsquequo avértis fáciem tuam a me?
How long, O Lord, will you forget me unto the end? How long do you turn away your face from me?
2  Quamdiu ponam consília in ánima mea, * dolórem in corde meo per diem?
How long shall I take counsels in my soul, sorrow in my heart all the day?
3  Usquequo exaltábitur inimícus meus super me? *  réspice, et exáudi me, Dómine, Deus meus.
How long shall my enemy be exalted over Me? Consider, and hear me, O Lord, my God.
4  Illúmina óculos meos ne umquam obdórmiam in morte : * nequándo dicat inimícus meus : præválui advérsus eum.
Enlighten my eyes, that I never sleep in death: Lest at any time my enemy say: I have prevailed against him.
5  Qui tríbulant me, exsultábunt si motus fúero : * ego autem in misericórdia tua sperávi.
They that trouble me, will rejoice when I am moved: But I have trusted in your mercy.
6  Exsultábit cor meum in salutári tuo : cantábo Dómino qui bona tríbuit mihi : * et psallam nómini Dómini altíssimi.
My heart shall rejoice in your salvation: I will sing to the Lord, who gives me good things: yea, I will sing to the name of the Lord, the most high.

You can hear it read aloud here:

Psalm 12 in the context of the Benedictine Office

Thursday’s psalms in the Benedictine Office generally have a rather dark character, with the tone for the day set by Psalm 87 said at Lauds, which is perhaps the darkest psalm of the entire psalter.   Psalm 12, the first of Prime which is considered here, also echoes the theme of abandonment by God, albeit with a more upbeat end to the psalm.   All the same, it is the prayer of the Garden of Gethsemene.  

Though short, the psalm has three sections.  First the psalmist sets out his complaint, articulating the state of crisis he is in.  Secondly, he pleads with God for help, asking God to enlighten him – to make clear what he should do and prevent him from falling to temptation or enemies.  Finally, he articulates his hope, and the joyful response to God’s help that he will give when it arrives.

St Alphonsus Liguori:
Prayer that the just man addresses to God when he is tempted and afflicted by his enemies.
Fr Pius Pasch:
Abandonment and trust - This beautifully constructed Psalm forms the transition from the oppression of Psalm 11 to the joyous notes of Psalm 15.  Every good prayer must mount the three stages of this Psalm: 1) crisis, 2) heartfelt plea, 3) confident hope.
Patrick Henry Reardon:
...Psalm 12 yields a more ample understanding if we hear it on the lips of the Lord Jesus during the night of his agony and betrayal...What is described in Psalm 12, then, is the Lord's struggle with Satan, sin and death...Christ in the Psalms, pp 23-4

Liturgical and Scriptural uses of the psalm

NT references
Rev 6:9-10; Rev 22:17-20; 1 Cor 15:23.
RB cursus
Prime Thursday
Monastic/(Roman) feasts etc
Roman pre 1911
Sunday Matins
Wednesday None
Roman post 1911
1911-62:Tues Compline  . 1970:
Mass propers (EF)
Lent 2 Sat OF (4);
PP 1, In (1, 6);
PP  2, CO (6);
PP 4 OF (4);
Rite of exorcism

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