Tag Archives: Penitential Psalms

Lord, It Is For You That I Wait

A priest, in Addis Ababa.

The 7 Penitential Psalms set forth the meaning of the season of Lent which invites us to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Psalm 38

A psalm of David. For remembrance.

LORD, do not punish me in your anger;
in your wrath do not chastise me!

Your arrows have sunk deep in me;
your hand has come down upon me.

There is no wholesomeness in my flesh because of your anger;
there is no health in my bones because of my sin.

My iniquities overwhelm me,
a burden too heavy for me.

Foul and festering are my sores
because of my folly.

I am stooped and deeply bowed;
every day I go about mourning.

My loins burn with fever;
there is no wholesomeness in my flesh.

I am numb and utterly crushed;
I wail with anguish of heart.

My Lord, my deepest yearning is before you;
my groaning is not hidden from you.

My heart shudders, my strength forsakes me;
the very light of my eyes has failed.

Friends and companions shun my disease;
my neighbors stand far off.

Those who seek my life lay snares for me;
they seek my misfortune, they speak of ruin;
they plot treachery every day.

But I am like the deaf, hearing nothing,
like the mute, I do not open my mouth,

I am even like someone who does not hear,
who has no answer ready.

LORD, it is for you that I wait;
O Lord, my God, you respond.

For I have said that they would gloat over me,
exult over me if I stumble.

I am very near to falling;
my wounds are with me always.

I acknowledge my guilt
and grieve over my sin.

My enemies live and grow strong,
those who hate me grow numerous fraudulently,

Repaying me evil for good,
accusing me for pursuing good.

Do not forsake me, O LORD;
my God, be not far from me!

Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my salvation!

Ps 37, Domine Ne in Furore, A. Gabrieli

The LORD Looked Down from the Holy Heights

In Ethiopia, a woman prays.

In Ethiopia, a woman prays at an outdoor shrine.

The 7 Penitential Psalms set forth the meaning of the season of Lent which invites us to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Psalm 102

The prayer of one afflicted and wasting away whose anguish is poured out before the LORD.

LORD, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress.
Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.
For my days vanish like smoke;
my bones burn away as in a furnace.
My heart is withered, dried up like grass, too wasted to eat my food.
From my loud groaning I become just skin and bones.
I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake and moan, like a lone sparrow on the roof.
All day long my enemies taunt me; in their rage, they make my name a curse.
I eat ashes like bread, mingle my drink with tears.
Because of your furious wrath, you lifted me up just to cast me down.
My days are like a lengthening shadow; I wither like the grass.

But you, LORD, are enthroned forever; your renown is for all generations.
You will again show mercy to Zion; now is the time for pity;
the appointed time has come.
Its stones are dear to your servants; its dust moves them to pity.
The nations shall fear your name, LORD, all the kings of the earth, your glory,
Once the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in glory,
Heeding the plea of the lowly, not scorning their prayer.
Let this be written for the next generation, for a people not yet born,
that they may praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from the holy heights, viewed the earth from heaven,
To attend to the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”
Then the LORD’s name will be declared on Zion, his praise in Jerusalem,
When peoples and kingdoms gather to serve the LORD.

He has shattered my strength in mid-course, has cut short my days.
I plead, O my God, do not take me in the midst of my days.
Your years last through all generations.
Of old you laid the earth’s foundations; the heavens are the work of your hands.
They perish, but you remain; they all wear out like a garment;
Like clothing you change them and they are changed,
but you are the same, your years have no end.
May the children of your servants live on;
may their descendants live in your presence.


Psalm 102 in a setting by Alexander Archangelsk (1846-1924).

Blessed… In Whose Spirit There Is No Deceit

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this man was sitting on the curb outside the church, following the prayers of the Mass. The Mass is broadcast into the streets so you can follow the prayers,

The 7 Penitential Psalms set forth the meaning of the season of Lent which invites us to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Psalm 32

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to thee,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my trangressions to the Lord”;
then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah
Therefore let every one who is godly
offer prayer to thee;
at a time of distress, in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
Thou art a hiding place for me,
thou preservest me from trouble;
thou dost encompass me with deliverance. Selah
I will instruct you and teach you
the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not keep with you.
Many are the pangs of the wicked;
but steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in the Lord.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Turn Back Lord, Rescue My Soul

In Aksum, Ethiopia, a man caught up in prayer.

In Axum, Ethiopia, a man caught up in prayer.

The 7 Penitential Psalms set forth the meaning of the season of Lent which invites us to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Psalm 6

For the leader; with stringed instruments, “upon the eighth.” A psalm of David.

Do not reprove me in your anger, LORD,
nor punish me in your wrath.

Have pity on me, LORD, for I am weak;
heal me, LORD, for my bones are shuddering.

My soul too is shuddering greatly—
and you, LORD, how long?

Turn back, LORD, rescue my soul;
save me because of your mercy.

For in death there is no remembrance of you.
Who praises you in Sheol?

I am wearied with sighing;
all night long I drench my bed with tears;
I soak my couch with weeping.

My eyes are dimmed with sorrow,
worn out because of all my foes.

Away from me, all who do evil!
The LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.

The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD will receive my prayer.

My foes will all be disgraced and will shudder greatly;
they will turn back in sudden disgrace.

Psalm 6, set to music by Josquin des Prez.

De Profundis

The Seven Penitential Psalms set forth the meaning of the season of Lent which invites us to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Psalm 130, the De Profundis, has been set to music by many composers. Marc-Antoine Charpentier, who lived in the 17th century, wrote this version.

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!
Lord, hear my voice!
Let thy ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.