March 21: Psalm 102

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March 21: Psalm 102

Fifth Penitential Psalm

Long Meter 88.88                     Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel)
with refrain from verse 1

O hear my prayer and listen, Lord! And let my cry for help reach You.

In day of grief hide not Your face. Your list’ning ear toward me O bend;

The day I call, Your answer send.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

For all my days go up in smoke, and like a hearth my bones are burned.

Like grass my heart is crushed and dried; I daily food forgotten leave;

My skin and bones together cleave.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

With sighs my bones cling to my flesh; I’m like a desert pelican,

Or like an owl in ruined wastes. I like awake, as on the roof

A sparrow stands, alone, aloof.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

All day my foes their taunts repeat; those filled with anger curse my name.

I food with tears and ashes mix, with wrath and anger all the day;

You lift me up and cast away!

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

An ev’ning shadow are my days; like grass I wither soon away.

But You, O Lord, forever sit upon Your throne, and Your renown

Abides through generations all.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

Arise! On Zion mercy have! The time to favor her has come.

Your servants love her dust and stones. So nations will the Lord’s name fear,

Your glory kings of earth revere.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

The Lord in glory has appeared, has rebuilt Zion, heard her prayer,

The destitute has not despised. This work shall ages all record

That men unborn may praise the Lord.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

He from His holy height looked down; the Lord from heaven viewed the earth,

To hear the groans of prisoners and free those who were doomed to die,

That men the Lord may magnify.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

In Zion let all men declare the glory of Jehovah’s name,

His praise tell in Jerusalem, when people all with one accord,

“Assembling, worship there the Lord.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

My strength He weakened in the way; my days He shortened. Then I pled,

“In mid-life take me not away, O God, whose years will never end,

But will through ages all extend.”

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

Of old You earth’s foundation laid; Your mighty hands the heavens made;

Yet they will die, while You endure. Like garments they will wear away,

Like clothing changed within a day.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

The heav’ns and earth will both be changed, but You are evermore the same,

Because Your years will never end. Your servants’ children dwell secure

Before You, established sure.

Refrain: O hear my prayer, O Lord my God!

Psalm 102, the fifth of the traditional “penitential psalms,” is structured on a contrast, pursued through two sequences. The first half of the first sequence is all “I” – I am miserable, I am wasting away…and so forth. The second half of the first sequence arrives with the expression, “But You, O Lord”- God is not like me; God is almighty and enthroned forever. He will arise and deliver His people. The second and shorter contrasting sequence repeats the first. Once again, as at the beginning, there is the sense of our human frailty, our shortened days. To this is contrasted the eternity of God. Thus, both sequences in this psalm form contrasts between the permanence of God and the transience of everything created. To the impermanence of the heavens is contrasted the permanence, and therefore complete dependability, of Christ (as this Psalm is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12 with reference to Christ). The permanent, the creating God addressed all through Psalm 102 is the very one revealed in the Gospel. (Reardon,
p. 201-202)

Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison; Kyrie eleison

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