Friday, July 29, 2016

Psalm 16 (Friday Prime no 2)

Walters Ms. W.721, Book of Hours, fol. 86v, c1450
Offices for Each Day of the Week, Friday: Cross
Digitilised Walter Manuscripts

Psalm 16 (17): Exaudi Domine justitiam meam 
Oratio David
The prayer of David.
Exáudi, Dómine, justítiam meam: * inténde deprecatiónem meam.
Hear, O Lord, my justice: attend to my supplication.
2  Auribus pércipe oratiónem meam, * non in lábiis dolósis.
Give ear unto my prayer, which proceeds not from deceitful lips.
3   De vultu tuo judícium meum pródeat: * óculi tui vídeant æquitátes
Let my judgment come forth from your countenance: let your eyes behold the things that are equitable.
4  Probásti cor meum, et visitásti nocte: * igne me examinásti, et non est invénta in me iníquitas.
You have proved my heart, and visited it by night, you have tried me by fire: and iniquity has not been found in me.
5  Ut non loquátur os meum ópera hóminum: * propter verba labiórum tuórum ego custodívi vias duras.
That my mouth may not speak the works of men: for the sake of the words of your lips, I have kept hard ways
6  Pérfice gressus meos in sémitis tuis: * ut non moveántur vestígia mea.
Perfect my goings in your paths: that my footsteps be not moved.
7  Ego clamávi, quóniam exaudísti me, Deus: * inclína aurem tuam mihi, et exáudi verba mea.
I have cried to you, for you, O God, have heard me: O incline your ear unto me, and hear my words.
8  Mirífica misericórdias tuas, * qui salvos facis sperántes in te.
Show forth your wonderful mercies; you who save them that trust in you.
9  A resisténtibus déxteræ tuæ custódi me, * ut pupíllam óculi.
From them that resist your right hand keep me, as the apple of your eye.
10  Sub umbra alárum tuárum prótege me: * a fácie impiórum qui me afflixérunt.
Protect me under the shadow of your wings. From the face of the wicked who have afflicted me.
11  Inimíci mei ánimam meam circumdedérunt, ádipem suum conclusérunt : * os eórum locútum est supérbiam.
My enemies have surrounded my soul: They have shut up their fat: their mouth has spoken proudly.

12  Projiciéntes me nunc circumdedérunt me: * óculos suos statuérunt declináre in terram.
They have cast me forth, and now they have surrounded me: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth.
13  Suscepérunt me sicut leo parátus ad prædam: * et sicut cátulus leónis hábitans in ábditis.
They have taken me, as a lion prepared for the prey; and as a young lion dwelling in secret places.
14  Exsúrge, Dómine, prǽveni eum, et supplánta eum: * éripe ánimam meam ab ímpio, frámeam tuam ab inimícis manus tuæ.
Arise, O Lord, disappoint him and supplant him; deliver my soul from the wicked one; your sword from the enemies of your hand.
15  Dómine, a paucis de terra dívide eos in vita eórum: * de abscónditis tuis adimplétus est venter eórum.

O Lord, divide them from the few of the earth in their life: their belly is filled from your hidden stores.
16  Saturáti sunt fíliis: * et dimisérunt relíquias suas párvulis suis.
They are full of children: and they have left to their little ones the rest of their substance.
17  Ego autem in justítia apparébo conspéctui tuo: * satiabor cum apparúerit glória tua.
But as for me, I will appear before your sight in justice: I shall be satisfied when your glory shall appear.

Psalm 16 can be read as a meditation on the Passion, hence its particular appropriateness for Friday in the Benedictine Office. 

In the first part (verses 1-5) the speaker asks for justice in the face of persecution and suffering, since his cause is just and he is without sin.  Our Lord is of course the only person who can truly say these verses without reservation, yet through the grace given to us in the sacraments he instituted we too can claim to be justified in the sight of God.

In the second part (verses 7-13) he asks for help in standing firm in the face of the enemy – and St Thomas Aquinas interprets the reference to wings as a symbolic allusion to the two arms of Our Lord stretched out on the Cross.  Verses 10-13 are explicitly interpreted for us in Matthew 23, when Our Lord castigated the Pharisees for their unfortunate habit of killing the prophets God sends to them.

In the third part (verses 14-17) the speaker asks for justice and the punishment of the enemy.  Note though, that, according to the last verse, the justice asked for here is above all the revelation of the glory of God, revealed in the Resurrection.  

You can hear the psalm read aloud here.

St Augustine:
This prayer must be assigned to the Person of the Lord, with the addition of the Church, which is His body

St Robert Bellarmine:
This psalm arises from prayer because in the midst of tribulations, prayer is an unparalleled refuge; Psalm 108: "Instead of making me a return of love, they detracted me: but I gave myself to prayer." This psalm, then, is divided into two parts. In the first, he prays for his own endurance. In the second, he asks for deliverance from evil, at I have cried....
St Alphonsus Liguori:
The just man prays to God to be delivered from the persecutions to which he sees himself exposed. Motives of his confidence: his innocence and rectitude, the mercy and justice of God, the malice and iniquity of the wicked.
Fr Pasch:
Battle in the Kingdom - After seeing the lines drawn up, friend and foe, we see the battle itself.  Innocency and justice fight with sin.  It is a fierce struggle, but God is the mighty champion.  The temptations of the devil are vividly portrayed.  This is the Psalm that St. Lawrence prayed while he was being martyred.

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