Monday, September 26, 2011

Most Beautiful Psalm nominee

Like the deer that yearns *
for running streams,
so my soul is yearning *
for you, my God.

My soul is thirsting for God, *
the God of my life;
when can I enter and see *
the face of God? 

Psalm 42 is one of my favorites. It includes nature imagery, it expresses longing for union with God, and it expresses trust in a time of suffering.   This one, plus Psalm 19A (The heavens proclaim the glory of God...) combine to delight me every time Monday of week II in the psalter rolls around. 

Do you have a favorite psalm?


  1. Why yes, yes I do...Psalm 25
    Of David.

    To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul,
    my God, in you I trust;
    do not let me be disgraced;
    do not let my enemies gloat over me.
    No one is disgraced who waits for you,
    but only those who are treacherous without cause.
    Make known to me your ways, LORD;
    teach me your paths.
    Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,
    for you are God my savior,
    for you I wait all the day long.
    Remember your compassion and your mercy, O LORD,
    for they are ages old.
    Remember no more the sins of my youth;remember me according to your mercy, because of your goodness, LORD.
    Good and upright is the LORD,
    therefore he shows sinners the way,
    He guides the humble in righteousness,
    and teaches the humble his way.
    All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth
    toward those who honor his covenant and decrees.
    For the sake of your name, LORD,
    pardon my guilt, though it is great.
    Who is the one who fears the LORD?
    God shows him the way he should choose.
    He will abide in prosperity,
    and his descendants will inherit the land.
    The counsel of the LORD belongs to those who fear him;
    and his covenant instructs them.
    My eyes are ever upon the LORD,
    who frees my feet from the snare.
    Look upon me, have pity on me,
    for I am alone and afflicted.
    Relieve the troubles of my heart;
    bring me out of my distress.
    Look upon my affliction and suffering;
    take away all my sins.
    See how many are my enemies,
    see how fiercely they hate me.
    Preserve my soul and rescue me;
    do not let me be disgraced, for in you I seek refuge.
    Let integrity and uprightness preserve me;
    I wait for you, O LORD.
    Redeem Israel, O God,
    from all its distress!

  2. Good one. That came up in daytime prayer last week. I especially like the idea of "don't remember my sins; remember ME."

  3. This is mine, and I'm not really sure why. I have always loved it.

    [1] The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
    [2] Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
    [3] There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
    [4] Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
    [5] Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
    [6] His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
    [7] The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
    [8] The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
    [9] The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
    [10] More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
    [11] Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
    [12] Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
    [13] Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
    [14] Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

    This is from the King James Version, which even some Catholics believe is unsurpassed for poetic beauty. Note (ironically) that in verse 4, many Catholic versions use the dull word "tent"; the Protestant version above says "tabernacle"

    PS. I don't want to start any wars about various translations! My everyday bibles are (of course) Catholic translations, but I do love the poetry of the KJV.

  4. Mrs. Pinkerton--I hope you said Lauds today, since the first half of 19 was there. I love it too. No objection here to comparing translations. I brought in Douay the yesterday with leviathan/monster.
    Mostly I quote from the breviary in this blog simply because the blog is about the breviary. But I recognize that the Grail Psalms are not the most literary translation. It is said that this translation was made to be well suited for chanting in English, and they do seem to work that way. There is a new Grail psalter out there, but so far no breviary that contains it. Whenever I get to that line in PS 19 about the tent for the sun, I don't envision a modern camping tent, but the fancy tents of wealthy nomad types. Like the guy who hired Ben Hur as his charioteer. Maybe I should put that picture in a future blog post.

  5. Yes, the Ben Hur tent! That is MY kind of camping (with servants).

  6. There are a few psalms that I love, but if I had to pick one, probably it would be Psalm 51:

    1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
    According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
    2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
    And cleanse me from my sin.
    3 For I know my transgressions,
    And my sin is ever before me.
    4 Against You, You only, I have sinned
    And done what is evil in Your sight,
    So that You are justified when You speak
    And blameless when You judge.

    5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    And in sin my mother conceived me.
    6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
    And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
    7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    8 Make me to hear joy and gladness,
    Let the bones which You have broken 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 steadfast 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 sustain me with a willing spirit.
    13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
    And sinners will be converted to You.

    14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
    Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
    15 O Lord, open my lips,
    That my mouth may declare Your praise.
    16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
    You are not pleased with burnt offering.
    17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

    18 By Your favor do good to Zion;
    Build the walls of Jerusalem.
    19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,
    In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
    Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

  7. It's nice we get to say that psalm every Friday. Thinking about one's sinfulness is not a favorite topic, but what lovely words with which to do it.

    Mariette--you sound like you've had your share of sleepless nights at national parks in a tent with a bunch of overexcited kids who are high on toasted marshmallow. Lots of good camping memories for me, but only after many years have erased the painful aspects.

  8. Well there are a few that I really like but I will go with Psalm 121.

    I lift up my eyes to the hills- Where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
    He will not let your foot slip -
    He who watches over you will not slumber;
    Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
    The LORD watches over you
    The LORD is your shade at your right hand;
    The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
    The LORD will keep you from all harm -
    He will watch over your life;
    The LORD will watch over your coming and going
    Both now and forevermore.

  9. Friday Morning Prayer - Psalm 51.

  10. The 23rd Psalm
    The Lord is My Shepherd
    For want shall I know
    I feed in Green Pastures
    Safe folded I rest
    He leadeth my soul where
    The still waters flow
    Restores me when wandering
    Redeems when Oppressed