Cleansing Fire

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The Seven Penitential Psalms – Psalm 31

February 21st, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

We now turn our attention to the second of the Seven Penitential Psalms – Psalm XXXI. In this, we read a prayer for deliverance from greed. It is widely held that St. Augustine, on his deathbed, had these seven psalms held before him, that he may read them before joining his Creator. Let us now study these words with equal devotion and diligence.

David dicit beatitudinem hominis, cui Deus reputat iustitiam sine operibus
(Rom 4: 6)
David declares the blessedness of the man to whom God credits justice without works.
(Rom 4: 6)
1 BEATI, quorum remissae sunt iniquitates, * et quorum tecta sunt peccata. 1 BLESSED is he whose iniquities are forgiven, * and whose sins are covered.
2 Beatus vir, cui non imputavit Dominus peccatum, * nec est in spiritu eius dolus. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin, * and in whose spirit there is no guile.
3 Quoniam tacui, inveteraverunt ossa mea, * dum clamarem tota die. 3 Because I was silent my bones wasted away, * as I cried out all day.
4 Quoniam die ac nocte gravata est super me manus tua, * conversus sum in aerumna mea, dum configitur spina. 4 For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: * I am twisted in my affliction whilst the thorn is fastened upon me.
5 Delictum meum cognitum tibi feci * et iniustitiam meam non abscondi. 5 I have acknowledged my sin to Thee, * and my guilt I have not concealed.
Dixi: <>. * Et tu remisisti impietatem peccati mei. I said “I will confess my injustice against myself to the Lord:” * and Thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin.
6 Pro hac orabit ad te omnis sanctus * in tempore opportuno. 6 For this shall every one that is holy pray to Thee * in due time.
Verumtamen in diluvio aquarum multarum * ad eum non approximabunt. Though in a flood of many waters, * they shall not reach him.
7 Tu es refugium meum, a tribulatione quae circumdedit me; * exsultatio mea, erue me a circumdantibus me. 7 Thou art my refuge, from the tribulation which surrounds me: * my joy, deliver me from those surrounding me.
8 Intellectum tibi dabo et instruam te in via hac, qua gradieris; * firmabo super te oculos meos. 8 I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in the way in which thou shalt walk: * I will fix my eyes upon thee.
9 Nolite fieri sicut equus et mulus, * quibus non est intellectus. 9 Do not become like the horse and the mule, * who have no understanding.
In camo et freno maxillas eorum constringe, * qui non approximant ad te. With bit and bridle bind them fast, * else they will not come near to thee.
10 Multa flagella peccatoris, * sperantem autem in Domino misericordia circumdabit. 10 Many are the sorrows of the sinner, * but mercy shall surround him that hopeth in the Lord.
11 Laetamini in Domino et exsultate, iusti, * et gloriamini, omnes recti corde. 11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye just, * and glory, all ye of righteous heart.

And now the accompanying prayer for this psalm:

Oratio contra avaritiam
Prayer against greed
Quid mihi est in caelo1 et a te quid volui super terram, Deus cordis mei, et pars mea Deus in aeternum? Non satiatur oculus visu, nec auri impletur auditu: satiabor, cum apparuerit gloria tua. Eheu quod tanto hactenus studio Mammonae servivi: Et quid mihi proderit, si universum mundum lucratus fuero, animae vero meae detrimentum patiar? Dormierunt somnum suum omnes viri divitiarum et nihil invenerunt in manibus suis, confitebor adversum me iniustitiam meam Domino, et tu remittes, spero, impietatem peccati mei. Pauperis in posterum miserebor, male parta restituam et tuo me servitio ferventius impendam. Tu, Domine, adiuva me, qui reples in bonis desiderium meum. (Ps 102:5) What is mine in heaven and so what should I want on earth from Thee, O God of my heart and my portion in eternity? The eye is not satisfied, nor is the ear filled, but I shall be satisfied when Thy glory will have appeared. Oh how I have served Mammon with such zeal so far! And what will it profit me if I have gained the whole world if indeed I shall suffer the loss of my soul? All the rich have gone to their sleep and found their hands empty. I will confess to Thee, my Lord, my unjust deeds, and Thou shalt, I pray, remit the impiety of my sins. In the future I will have mercy on the poor, I shall give until it hurts and I will expend myself fervently in Thy service. Help me, O Lord, Thou who filleth my desires with good things. (Ps 102:5)

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