Today in this Lenten series on the psalms of Tenebrae we have reached the psalms set for Tenebrae of Holy Saturday.
Psalm 4 is normally said at Compline, and its inclusion in Tenebrae is presumably because of the verse: In pace in idípsum dórmiam et requiéscam (In peace in the self same I will sleep, and I will rest), for today's Office recalls Christ’s ‘resting’ in the tomb.
The sixth century commentator Cassiodorus interprets the psalm as being about the creation of the great community that is the Church, born of that preaching of Christ both to those alive, and to the dead:
"Throughout the psalm the words are spoken by holy mother Church. She is not a ghostly fashioning of our hearts' imagination, like 'fatherland' or 'state' or something without living personality; the Church is the aggregate of all the holy faithful, one soul and one heart, me bride of Christ, the Jerusalem of the age to come...In the first section she asks that her prayer be heard, and rebukes the faithless for worshipping false gods and neglecting worship of the true God. In the second part she warns the world at large that it must abandon deceitful superstition, and offer the sacrifice of justice. Then in her attempt to win over the minds of pagans by the promise she has made, she relates that the Lord has bestowed great gifts on Christians…"
Cum invocarem exaudivit me Deus justitiæ meæ, in tribulatione dilatasti mihi.
Miserere mei, et exaudi orationem meam.
Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde? ut quid diligitis vanitatem, et quæritis mendacium?
Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum; Dominus exaudiet me cum clamavero ad eum.
Irascimini, et nolite peccare; quæ dicitis in cordibus vestris, in cubilibus vestris compungimini.
Sacrificate sacrificium justitiæ, et sperate in Domino. Multi dicunt : Quis ostendit nobis bona?
Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine : dedisti lætitiam in corde meo.
A fructu frumenti, vini, et olei sui, multiplicati sunt.
In pace in idipsum dormiam, et requiescam; quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe constituisti me.
And the English:
When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress, you have enlarged me. Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer.
O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying?
Know also that the Lord has made his holy one wonderful: the Lord will hear me when I shall cry unto him.
Be angry, and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.
Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, Who shows us good things?
The light of your countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us: you have given gladness in my heart.
By the fruit of their corn, their wine, and oil, they rest: In peace in the self same I will sleep, and I will rest: For you, O Lord, singularly have settled me in hope.
Tenebrae of Holy Saturday
Nocturn I: Psalms 4, 14, 15
Nocturn II: Psalms 23, 26, 29
Nocturn III: Psalms 53*, 75*, 87*
Lauds: 50*, 91, 63, [Is 38], 150