April 4: Psalm 143

April 4: Psalm 143

Seventh Penitential Psalm

669.668                    St. Elizabeth (Fairest Lord Jesus)

Lord, hearken to my prayer; my supplication hear.

Reply in truth and in righteousness. And with Your servant now

To judgment do not come, for in Your sight no man is just.

The foe has hounded me, my life to earth he crushed.

Entombed he kept me as those long dead. My spirit therefore faints,

Within me overwhelmed. My heart in me is desolate.

I days of old recall; I muse on all Your deeds;

I ponder long what Your hands have wrought. I stretch my hands to You;

My soul longs after You as thirsts a dry and desert land.

Haste, Lord, to answer me! O how my spirit fails!

Hide not the light of Your face from me, lest I become like those

Who to the pit go down. O let me not with them descend.

Let me Your mercy hear when morning light appears;

I flee to You for my hiding place. Teach me to know the way;

Show me how I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.

Deliver me, O Lord, from all my enemies;

That You may hide me I flee to You. Teach me to do Your will,

For You alone are God; let Your good Spirit lead me on.

For Your name’s sake, O Lord, deal with me graciously;

Relieve my soul in Your righteousness. In Your unfailing love,

Silence my enemies, because I am Your servant true.

Though this psalm is easily and beautifully prayed as a personal prayer, one may also pray this psalm in a purely Christological sense and reference, with particular attention to the Sabbath rest of Jesus in the grave, awaiting the Sunday Resurrection. Almost every line takes on an enhanced poignancy in that context. (Reardon, p. 286)

Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison; Kyrie eleison

In preparation for the coming days of Christ’s Passion, you may want to close this day with another setting of this final Penitential Psalm. The setting below is to the tune of Aberystwyth (Jesus, Lover of My Soul), p. 189.

O Lord God do hear my prayer,

give ear to my cry to you,

May your faithfulness be there

and your righteousness like dew.

Do not judge your servant, Lord,

For none stands righteous with you.

By your mercy, we’re restored,

and our lives you do renew.

My en-e-my has pursued,

he has crushed me to the ground.

Like a dead man I am viewed,

darkness closes all around.

So my spirit faints in me!

My heart is in such distress.

And my soul is so thirsty,

in this land of barrenness!

I remember days of old,

and recall your works alone.

What your hands wrought I behold,

my hands spread before your throne.

Answer me with haste, O Lord!

for my spirit faints in me.

May my life be not ignored,

lest like those in death I’ll be.

Let the morning bring me news

of your steadfast love on high,

for my trust is all in you,

Show me to your way, I cry!

For to you I lift my soul,

rescue me from enemies;

You alone do I extol

and I hide myself in Thee.

Teach me, Lord, to do your will,

May your Spirit lead me so.

By your name preserve me still,

rescue me from ev’ry foe.

In your righteousness save me,

Your great love will quell my fear.

Silence ev’ry enemy,

For I am your servant here.

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