Friday, 8 March 2013

Tenebrae psalms 21: Psalm 58: God's mercy


Today's psalm, Psalm 58, opens the third Nocturn of Tenebrae for Good Friday.

It is the prayer of the innocent, the unblemished man who takes on himself our sin, and thus holds out to us the hope of mercy.

Cassiodorus comments:

"At the outset of the psalm the Lord Christ prays, not as one born God of the Father, but as One made man from the virgin Mary, that His enemies should not succeed in harming Him. He rises from the depths like a star of the material world, gradually mounting to the transcendent summit of His resurrection...Lord Christ, we have understood how numerous were Your sufferings in the flesh, and that You always prayed for Your persecutors. What a truly loving Judge, beneath whose eye none of those who make confession need despair! Your kindness matches Your power. Since You pray for Your enemies, which of Your own can fear that he may perish? Grant us to do what You command, grant us to fulfil what is of benefit, for just as we are nothing save what You are, so with You we can fulfil all the good for which we strive."


Let us strive indeed.

Psalm 58 (59)

Eripe me de inimícis meis, Deus meus: * et ab insurgéntibus in me líbera me.
Eripe me de operántibus iniquitátem: * et de viris sánguinum salva me.
Quia ecce cepérunt ánimam meam: * irruérunt in me fortes.
Neque iníquitas mea, neque peccátum meum, Dómine: * sine iniquitáte cucúrri, et diréxi.
Exsúrge in occúrsum meum, et vide: * et tu, Dómine, Deus virtútum, Deus Israël.
Inténde ad visitándas omnes Gentes: * non misereáris ómnibus, qui operántur iniquitátem.
Converténtur ad vésperam : et famem patiéntur ut canes: * et circuíbunt civitátem.
Ecce loquéntur in ore suo, et gládius in lábiis eórum: * quóniam quis audívit?
Et tu, Dómine, deridébis eos: * ad níhilum dedúces omnes Gentes.
Fortitúdinem meam ad te custódiam, quia, Deus, suscéptor meus es: * Deus meus, misericórdia ejus prævéniet me.
Deus osténdet mihi super inimícos meos, ne occídas eos: * nequándo obliviscántur pópuli mei.
Dispérge illos in virtúte tua: * et depóne eos, protéctor meus, Dómine :
Delíctum oris eórum, sermónem labiórum ipsórum: * et comprehendántur in supérbia sua.
Et de exsecratióne et mendácio annuntiabúntur in consummatióne: * in ira consummatiónis, et non erunt.
Et scient quia Deus dominábitur Jacob: * et fínium terræ.
Converténtur ad vésperam : et famem patiéntur ut canes, * et circuíbunt civitátem.
Ipsi dispergéntur ad manducándum: * si vero non fúerint saturáti, et murmurábunt.
Ego autem cantábo fortitúdinem tuam: * et exsultábo mane misericórdiam tuam.
Quia factus es suscéptor meus, * et refúgium meum, in die tribulatiónis meæ.
Adjútor meus, tibi psallam, quia, Deus, suscéptor meus es: * Deus meus, misericórdia mea.

For the translation:

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; and defend me from them that rise up against me.
Deliver me from them that work iniquity, and save me from bloody men.
For behold they have caught my soul: the mighty have rushed in upon me:
Neither is it my iniquity, nor my sin, O Lord: without iniquity have I run, and directed my steps.
Rise up to meet me, and behold: even you, O Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel.
Attend to visit all the nations: have no mercy on all them that work iniquity.
They shall return at evening, and shall suffer hunger like dogs: and shall go round about the city.
Behold they shall speak with their mouth, and a sword is in their lips: for who, say they, has heard us?
But you, O Lord, shall laugh at them: you shall bring all the nations to nothing.
I will keep my strength to you: for you are my protector: My God, his mercy shall prevent me.
God shall let me see over my enemies: slay them not, lest at any time my people forget.
Scatter them by your power; and bring them down, O Lord, my protector:
For the sin of their mouth, and the word of their lips: and let them be taken in their pride.
And for their cursing and lying they shall be talked of, when they are consumed: when they are consumed by your wrath, and they shall be no more.
And they shall know that God will rule Jacob, and all the ends of the earth.
They shall return at evening and shall suffer hunger like dogs: and shall go round about the city.
They shall be scattered abroad to eat, and shall murmur if they be not filled.
But I will sing your strength: and will extol your mercy in the morning.
For you have become my support, and my refuge, in the day of my trouble.
Unto you, O my helper, will I sing, for you are God my defence: my God my mercy.

Tenebrae of Good Friday

Nocturn I: Psalms 2, 21, 26*
Nocturn II: Psalms 37, 39, 53*
Nocturn III: Psalms 58, 87*, 93
Lauds: 50*, 142, 84, [Hab], 147

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