Psalm 38.  Dixi, Custodiam

In doubt and despair
Fourth enemy of the kingdom:  doubt

This somewhat difficult Psalm rises from inner conflicts and doubts of faith, surmounts the apparent contradictions of nature and the world, and arrives at a belief in the justice of heaven that sets all things aright.  It is from this point of vantage that the psalmist takes every trial upon himself and prays for all his sufferings to be turned away.  This Psalm we pray for our Gethsemane, for everyone's Gethsemane.

Restraint in grief

Dixi: Custódiam vias meas: * ut non delínquam in lingua mea.
2  Pósui ori meo custódiam, * cum consísteret peccátor advérsum me.
3  Obmútui, et humiliátus sum, et sílui a bonis: * et dolor meus renovátus est.
4  Concáluit cor meum intra me: * et in meditatióne mea exardéscet ignis.

I said, I will take heed to my ways, * that I offend not in my tongue.
2  I have set a guard to my mouth, * while the ungodly stood against me.
3  I held my tongue, and was brought low, and spake nothing even from good things: * and my sorrow was renewed.
4  My heart was hot within me: * and while I was thus musing the fire kindled.

Contingency of human existence

5  Locútus sum in lingua mea: * Notum fac mihi, Dómine, finem meum.
6  Et númerum diérum meórum quis est: * ut sciam quid desit mihi.
7  Ecce mensurábiles posuísti dies meos: * et substántia mea tamquam níhilum ante te.
8  Verúmtamen univérsa vánitas, * omnis homo vivens.
9  Verúmtamen in imágine pertránsit homo: * sed et frustra conturbátur.
10  Thesaurízat: * et ignórat cui congregábit ea.

5  I spake with my tongue : * Lord, let me know mine end.
6  And what is the number of my days; * that I may know what is wanting to me.
7  Behold, thou hast made my days to be measured, * and my substance is even as nothing before thee.
8  And verily all things are vanity, * every man living.
9  For man surely passeth as a vain shadow, * yea, and he disquieteth himself in vain.
10  He heapeth up riches, * and cannot tell for whom he shall gather them.

Confession of sin

11  Et nunc quæ est exspectátio mea? Nonne Dóminus? * Et substántia mea apud te est.
12  Ab ómnibus iniquitátibus meis érue me: * oppróbrium insipiénti dedísti me.
13  Obmútui, et non apérui os meum, quóniam tu fecísti: * ámove a me plagas tuas.
14  A fortitúdine manus tuæ ego deféci in increpatiónibus: * propter iniquitátem corripuísti hóminem.
15  Et tabéscere fecísti sicut aráneam ánimam ejus: * verúmtamen vane conturbátur omnis homo.

11  And now what is my hope? Is it not the Lord? * truly my substance is even with thee.
12  Deliver me from all mine offences; * thou hast made me a rebuke unto the foolish.
13  I became dumb, and opened not my mouth, for it was thy doing : * take thy plague away from me.
14  The strength of thy hand hath made me faint in rebukes : * thou hast chastened man for iniquity.
15  Thou hast made his soul to consume away, like as it were a spider : * in truth every man is confounded in vain.

Plea for mercy

16  Exáudi oratiónem meam, Dómine, et deprecatiónem meam: * áuribus pércipe lácrimas meas.
17  Ne síleas: quóniam ádvena ego sum apud te, et peregrínus, * sicut omnes patres mei.
18  Remítte mihi, ut refrígerer priúsquam ábeam, * et ámplius non ero.

16  Hear my prayer, O Lord, and my supplication : * give ear to my tears.
17  Be thou not silent: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, * as all my fathers were.
18  O spare me, that I may be refreshed, * before I go hence, and be seen no more.