Friday, September 16, 2016

Psalm 85 Inclina Domine - Say nothing without Christ

Psalm 85: Friday matins I, 1
Oratio ipsi David.
A prayer for David himself.
Inclína, Dómine, aurem tuam, et exáudi me : * quóniam inops, et pauper sum ego.
Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear me: for I am needy and poor.
2  Custódi ánimam meam, quóniam sanctus sum : * salvum fac servum tuum, Deus meus, sperántem in te.
2 Preserve my soul, for I am holy: save your servant, O my God, that trusts in you.
3  Miserére mei, Dómine, quóniam ad te clamávi tota die : * lætífica ánimam servi tui, quóniam ad te, Dómine, ánimam meam levávi.
3 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to you all the day. 4 Give joy to the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul.
4  Quóniam tu, Dómine, suávis et mitis : * et multæ misericórdiæ ómnibus invocántibus te.
5 For you, O Lord, are sweet and mild: and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon you.
5  Auribus pércipe, Dómine, oratiónem meam : * et inténde voci deprecatiónis meæ.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer: and attend to the voice of my petition
6  In die tribulatiónis meæ clamávi ad te : * quia exaudísti me.
7 I have called upon you in the day of my trouble: because you have heard me.
7  Non est símilis tui in diis, Dómine : * et non est secúndum ópera tua.
8 There is none among the gods like unto you, O Lord: and there is none according to your works.
8  Omnes gentes quascúmque fecísti, vénient, et adorábunt coram te, Dómine : * et glorificábunt nomen tuum.
9 All the nations you have made shall come and adore before you, O Lord: and they shall glorify your name.
9  Quóniam magnus es tu, et fáciens mirabília : * tu es Deus solus.
10 For you are great and do wonderful things: you are God alone.
10  Deduc me, Dómine, in via tua, et ingrédiar in veritáte tua : * lætétur cor meum ut tímeat nomen tuum.
11 Conduct me, O Lord, in your way, and I will walk in your truth: let my heart rejoice that it may fear your name.
11  Confitébor tibi, Dómine, Deus meus, in toto corde meo, * et glorificábo nomen tuum in ætérnum.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name for ever:
12  Quia misericórdia tua magna est super me : * et eruísti ánimam meam ex inférno inferióri.
13 For your mercy is great towards me: and you have delivered my soul out of the lower hell.
13  Deus iníqui insurrexérunt super me, et synagóga poténtium quæsiérunt ánimam meam : * et non proposuérunt te in conspéctu suo.
14 O God, the wicked are risen up against me, and the assembly of the mighty have sought my soul: and they have not set you before their eyes.
14  Et tu, Dómine, Deus miserátor et miséricors, * pátiens, et multæ misericórdiæ, et verax.
15 And you, O Lord, are a God of compassion, and merciful, patient, and of much mercy, and true.
15  Réspice in me, et miserére mei, * da impérium tuum púero tuo : et salvum fac fílium ancíllæ tuæ.
16 O look upon me, and have mercy on me: give your command to your servant, and save the son of your handmaid.
16  Fac mecum signum in bonum, ut vídeant qui odérunt me, et confundántur : * quóniam tu, Dómine, adjuvísti me, et consolátus es me.
17 Show me a token for good: that they who hate me may see, and be confounded, because you, O Lord, have helped me and have comforted me.

In Jewish tradition this psalm is said as part of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) ceremonies; in Christian tradition it has long been interpreted as a psalm of the Passion hence its particular appropriateness to start off Friday in the Office.  

Cassidorus, for example suggests it as a source for meditation on the sacrifice of the cross: 
Let us ponder the humility of the prayer poured out to the Father by the Lord Saviour in His passion. He was wholly without sin, but in representing our weakness He asked to be delivered from the dangers of this world. So men's rashness should blush to be arrogant, for they have no doubt of their guilt. Christ prayed for His enemies, and patiently accepted death, whereas we wish to avenge our injuries if attacked by the comments of detractors. May He who afforded an example grant the gift of patience, so that by following His footsteps we may be able to avoid the errors which bring death.
Similarly, St Alphonsus Liguori suggests that we use this prayer ourselves in times of trouble:
We have in this psalm one of those fervent prayers that the royal prophet addressed to God in the midst of his tribulations. For, according to the common opinion, David is the author of this psalm.
Moreover, he initiates us into the sentiments that filled the soul of Jesus Christ during his Passion, and he prophesies the conversion of the Gentiles. Afflicted souls may use it during their trials to implore the help of God.
St Augustine's introduction to the psalm, though, I think is the most powerful, providing a mini-treatise on the relationship between the priesthood of Christ and our prayer:
No greater gift could God have given to men than in making His Word, by which He created all things, their Head, and joining them to Him as His members: that the Son of God might become also the Son of man, one God with the Father, one Man with men; so that when we speak to God in prayer for mercy, we do not separate the Son from Him; and when the Body of the Son prays, it separates not its Head from itself: and it is one Saviour of His Body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who both prays for us, and prays in us, and is prayed to by us.  He prays for us, as our Priest; He prays in us, as our Head; He is prayed to by us, as our God. 
Let us therefore recognise in Him our words, and His words in us. Nor when anything is said of our Lord Jesus Christ, especially in prophecy, implying a degree of humility below the dignity of God, let us hesitate to ascribe it to Him who did not hesitate to join Himself unto us....He is prayed to in the form of God, in the form of a servant He prays; there the Creator, here created; assuming unchanged the creature, that it might be changed, and making us with Himself one Man, Head and Body. Therefore we pray to Him, through Him, in Him; and we speak with Him, and He speaks with us; we speak in Him, He speaks in us the prayer of this Psalm, which is entitled, A Prayer of David. 
For our Lord was, according to the flesh, the son of David; but according to His divine nature, the Lord of David, and his Maker....Let no one then, when he hears these words, say, Christ speaks not; nor again say, I speak not; nay rather, if he own himself to be in the Body of Christ, let him say both, Christ speaks, and I speak. Be thou unwilling to say anything without Him, and He says nothing without you....

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