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March 2021

Psalm 69:1-2,7-9

Save me, O God,
 for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.
I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is;
 I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me.

And why? for thy sake have I suffered reproof;
 shame hath covered my face.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren,
 even an alien unto my mother’s children.
For the zeal of thine house hath even eaten me
 and the rebukes of them that rebuked thee are fallen upon me.


The first two verses are not included in today's Mass reading. I just like them. This is one of the imprecatory psalms, full of curses for the psalmist's enemies, and God's. Verse 23 has some relevance for our society.

Let their table be made a snare to take themselves withal 
 and let the things that should have been for their wealth be unto them an occasion of falling.

Psalm 71:1-2

In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust, let me never be put to confusion,
 but rid me, and deliver me, in thy righteousness; incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
Be thou my strong hold, whereunto I may alway resort;
 thou hast promised to help me, for thou art my house of defence, and my castle.


Ronald Knox Again

I'm just finishing up A Retreat for Lay People, which I planned to read over Lent, and have actually followed through on that plan. There's a lot of really good stuff here, a lot of quotable stuff. The next-to-last chapter is about Mary Magdalene, and this seems a good note for what will most likely be my last post, apart from the psalms, until Easter Monday. 

...for her, the interior virtues. She is the heroine of contrition; and contrition does not, of itself, alter the external fact of our sins; it only alters our attitude towards them. She is the heroine of resignation, and resignation does not help us to do anything; it only helps us to suffer, with patience, those bad times which will come to us whether we are patient over them or no. She is the heroine of hope; and hope does not change the course of the world's history; it only enables us to look forward, in a dark hour, to God's promise that the course of history will yet be changed.


Psalm 27:1-2

The Lord is my light, and my salvation; whom then shall I fear?
 The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even mine enemies, and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh,
 they stumbled and fell.



Psalm 22:16-17

For many dogs are come about me,
 and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.
They pierced my hands and my feet; I may tell all my bones;
 they stand staring and looking upon me.


The opening of this psalm is surely one of the most important for Christians. Usually it's not too far from what I grew up with in the King James:

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Though I don't recall hearing the words that follow:

why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

"Roaring" sounds pretty odd to our ears, and presumably had different connotations at the time. I think I'd remember it if it had been widely quoted. 

New American:

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?

But Coverdale adds something noticeably different:

My God, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me,
and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?

I wonder what his warrant for "look upon me" was. 

Psalm 18:1-5

I will love thee, O Lord, my strength; the Lord is my stony rock, and my defence,
 my Saviour, my God, and my might, in whom I will trust, my buckler, the horn also of my salvation, and my refuge.
I will call upon the Lord, which is worthy to be praised;
 so shall I be safe from mine enemies.
The sorrows of death compassed me
 and the overflowings of ungodliness made me afraid.
The pains of hell came about me 
 the snares of death overtook me.
In my trouble I will call upon the Lord,
 and complain unto my God.


Psalm 40:11-13

I have declared thy righteousness in the great congregation;
 lo, I will not refrain my lips, O Lord, and that thou knowest.
I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart;
 my talk hath been of thy truth, and of thy salvation.
I have not kept back thy loving mercy and truth
 from the great congregation.


No psalm today

The psalm for Mass is not from Psalms, but rather from the book of Daniel: Daniel 3:52-56. Obviously that is not in the Coverdale Psalms. Moreover, it is not in the Coverdale Bible, of which the Psalms are as far as I know the only widely-used survival of that translation. 

The reason it's not in the Coverdale Bible is probably known to those who are more biblically literate than I am: it's not in any Protestant translation, because it's only found in the Greek Septuagint, which Protestants don't consider to be authoritative. I only learned this because I thought I would see how it read in the King James, and couldn't figure out why in various online KJV sources Daniel 3 has only thirty verses. 

Some Protestants, notably Anglicans, kept those and some other segments of Daniel as "apocrypha," which is why most Protestants probably don't know that marvelous passage known as the Song of the Three Young Men (or variants) in which Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego (as I learned their names long ago) invoke a long list of things, beginning with "All ye works of the Lord," exhorting them to "praise and exalt him above all for ever." There is a great musical setting of it, more or less a chant as I recall (though it's been over forty years), that I heard once or twice when I was an Episcopalian.