Cleansing Fire

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The Seven Penitential Psalms – Psalm 6

February 17th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

This Lent, in addition to reflecting on the humble majesty of Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony, I should also like to focus on the Seven Penitential Psalms. These seven selections from that book of the Bible speak to the very heart of what makes us sinful creatures. I was fortunate, in my research, to have found several accompanying prayers from the 17th Century which reverently beseech Our Lord for pardon, in this, the Lent of the Church and the Wilderness of our souls. Today we reflect on the first Penitential Psalm, Psalm VI – Prayer of one chastised by God:

Nunc anima mea turbata est… Pater, salvifica me ex hora hac?
(Io 12, 27)
My soul is in turmoil… Father, save me from this hour?
(John 12:27)
2 DOMINE, ne in furore tuo arguas me, * neque in ira tua corripias me. 2 O LORD, do not reprove me in Thy wrath, * nor in Thy anger chastise me.
3 Miserere mei, Domine, quoniam infirmus sum; * sana me, Domine, quoniam conturbata sunt ossa mea. 3 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am weak, * heal me, Lord, for my body is in torment.
4 Et anima mea turbata est valde, * sed tu, Domine, usquequo? 4 And my soul is greatly troubled, * but Thou, O Lord, how long?
5 Convertere, Domine, et eripe animam meam; * salvum me fac propter misericordiam tuam. 5 Turn to me, O Lord, and deliver my soul; * save me on account of Thy mercy.
6 Quoniam non est in morte, qui memor sit tui, * in inferno autem quis confitebitur tibi? 6 For who amongst the dead remembers Thee, * who of the dead will tell of Thee?
7 Laboravi in gemitu meo, lavabo per singulas noctes lectum meum; * lacrimis meis stratum meum rigabo. 7 I have suffered and wept, every night have I washed my bed * and drenched my blanket with my tears.
8 Turbatus est a furore oculus meus, * inveteravi inter omnes inimicos meos. 8 My eyes are filled with grief, * I have grown feeble in the midst of my enemies.
9 Discedite a me omnes, qui operamini iniquitatem, * quoniam exaudivit Dominus vocem fletus mei. 9 Leave me, all you who do evil, * for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
10 Exaudivit Dominus deprecationem meam, * Dominus orationem meam suscepit. 10 The Lord has heard my appeal, * the Lord has accepted my prayer.
11 Erubescant et conturbentur vehementer omnes inimici mei; * convertantur et erubescant valde velociter. 11 May my enemies be put to shame and come to ruin. * May they be turned away and be swiftly put to shame.

Now the accompanying prayer for the removal of pride from our lives:

Oratio contra superbiam
Prayer against pride
Humiliavit semetipsum Dominus noster Iesus Christus, factus oboediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis: et ego vilissimus terrae vermiculus, ego pulvis et cinis, ego peccatorum maximus, qui millies infernum merui, non vereor me animo efferre? Propitius esto mihi, Domine: agnosco et detestor exsecrabilem arrogantiam meam. Ne, obsecro, cum superbo Lucifero eiusque adseculis in gehennae barathrum me deturbes: convertere et eripe animam meam; adiuva me et salvum me fac propter misericordiam tuam. Elegi in posterum, abiectus esse in domo Dei magis, quam habitare in tabernaculis peccatorum. (Ps 83:11) Our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself, obedient unto death, even death on the Cross. And I, the most vile of worms, am but dust and ashes. I am the greatest of sinners who has merited hell a thousand times, do I not fear my soul to be carried off? Be gracious to me, O Lord. I acknowledge and detest my cursing arrogance. Do not, I beseech Thee, throw me down into the pit of Gehenna along with proud Lucifer and his servants. Turn to me and rescue my soul. Help me and save me on account of Thy mercy. I prefer to lie abject upon the threshold of the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of sinners. (Ps 83:11)

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