Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Psalm 51 - The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;a broken and a contrite heart

Gregorio Allegri - Miserere Mei
Tallis Scholars

Since this setting is pure Vatican choir repertoire, I have no idea what the Orthodox priests are all about.

51 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to Your lovingkindness;
according to the abundance of Your compassion,
    blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
    and done this evil in Your sight,
so that You are justified when You speak,
    and You are blameless when You judge.
5 I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward parts,
    and in the hidden part You make me to know wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness,
    that the bones that You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
    and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
    and uphold me with Your willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
    and sinners will return to You.
14 Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God,
    God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or I would give it;
    You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and a contrite heart,
    O God, You will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure;
    build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You will be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
    with burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
    then they will offer young bulls on Your altar.

I couldn't find a setting in English that I liked so I posted the famous one from the Vulgate by Allegri.

These days the Psalms of lament and regret and anger seem to be the most appropriate.  How can we sing a joyful song when we are facing down a catastrophe brought on by our own acts?

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