Monday, June 25, 2012

Misery Me! (Fortnight: Day 05)

One of the most common psalms prayed or chanted during Advent and Lent is Psalm 50(51), also known as one of the "penitential psalms." In the Western church, it is prayed during Lauds (Morning Prayer) and every Friday in the Divine Office. It is also sung during Mass on Ash Wednesday, and the First Sunday of Lent. If the Rite of Sprinkling is done before the principle Mass of a Sunday, the faithful chant the seventh verse.

Asperges me, Domine,
    Sprinkle me, O Lord,
hyssopo et mundabor,
    with hyssop and I shall be purified.
Lavabis me,
    Wash me,
et super nivem dealbabor.
    and I shall be whiter than snow.
Miserere mei, Deus,
    Have mercy on me, O God,
secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
    According to your loving kindness.

In yet another demonstration of our Catholic faith influencing the culture in various and sundry ways, the old English term, “Misery me,” is likely a corruption of the opening words of the psalm in Latin: “Miserere Dei.” The times we live in may be enough to evoke one or the other.

It is said that “Ecclesia semper reformanda” or “the Church is always in need of reform.” Whether the Church, or the social order, any reform must begin from within. If our cause be a just one, we look to the Just One for mercy, for ourselves, for our Nation, and for the world.

Now is as good a time as any.
 

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