Friday, March 7, 2014

"Have mercy on me, God"

It seems fitting for this Friday after Ash Wednesday to contemplate Psalm 51, often called the Miserere mei, or, even more succinctly, the Miserere.

Except for certain days and times, the Church's Morning Prayer for Friday each week begins with the recitation of Psalm 51. The reason for beginning Morning Prayer on Friday with this psalm is because, typically, Fridays are days of penance. So our Friday traditio today is a lovely Anglican chant setting from St. John's Anglican Church in Detroit of this penitential psalm.

Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes
So that you are just in your word,
and without reproach in your judgment
Behold, I was born in guilt,
in sin my mother conceived me (verses 3-7)

From Georges Rouault's Miserere series

Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.
Do not drive me from before your face,
nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;
uphold me with a willing spirit. (verses 11-14)

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