February 25: Psalm 7

February 25: Psalm 7

A cry for vindication             Morecambre (Spirit of God, Descend Upon my Heart), p. 190
Penitentia (Here, O my Lord, I see Thee Face to Face), p. 199

O Lord my God, in You I refuge take. O save me from all those who me pursue,

Lest he should like a lion tear my soul and drag me off, with none to rescue me.

O Lord my God, if wrong is in my hands, if I did evil to my friend or foe,

Let my pursuer overtake me now and trample in the dust my life, my soul.

Arise, O Lord! In anger lift Yourself against the fury of my enemies,

Awake for me! Your judgment You have set. Let people in assembly compass You.

In triumph over them return on High. The Lord now sits to judge the peoples all.

O vindicate me, Lord, in righteousness, according to integrity in me.

O let the evil of the wicked cease, but every righteous one establish firm,

For You it is Who tries the minds and hearts; O Righteous God, You are the judge of men.

My shield and my defense is found with God, for He it is Who saves the right in heart.

A righteous judge, God judges righteously, and God is filled with anger ev’ry day.

If one does not repent, God whets His sword; He has His bow already strung and bent.

He has prepared his instruments of death; He makes His arrows fiery, deadly shafts.

See how the wicked evil thoughts conceives, is pregnant with ill will, and brings forth lies.

He digs a pit, but stumbles in himself; on his own head his plotted malice falls.

I will give thanks to Him who is the Lord according to His perfect righteousness;

And I will sing with psalms for evermore the name of Him who is the Lord Most High.

The humanism of the Psalter is a humanism rooted in the Incarnation. The Psalter is not human merely because it speaks for man in general, but because it speaks for Christ. The underlying voice of the Psalms is not simply “man,” but the Man. To enter into the prayer of this book is not merely to share the sentiments of King David or one of the other inspired poets. The foundational voice of the Psalms, the underlying bass line of its harmony is, rather, the voice of Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. It is not surprising, then, that we will on occasion come across certain sentiments in the Psalms that are difficult to appropriate as our own. There are cases in which my own “voice” is inadequate to express the sense of the psalm itself. Psalm 7 provides an early example of this phenomenon. How many of us would feel comfortable claiming for ourselves the moral innocence expressed in this psalm? The voice of this psalm is His of whom Peter wrote that He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (2 Peter 1:22). This is supremely a psalm of the Lord’s redemptive sufferings at the hands of injustice. Line by line, it inscribes the mounting drama of the Passion. Such is the proper setting for Psalm 7, as humanity’s single just Man suffers and dies to atone for the sins of the rest. To pray this psalm properly is to enter into the mind of the Lord in the context of His redemptive Passion. It is to taste, in some measure, the bitterness and the gall. (Reardon, p.13-14)

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