Psalm 88.  Misericordias Domini

Enthroned upon the Cross

From three to six o'clock the lifeless body of our Lord hangs on the Cross.  His apparent degradation is in reality his greatest exaltation.  "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).  For him, the Cross has become a royal throne from which he means to rule over all the earth.  This is the strange fulfillment of the Angel's promise to the blessed Virgin Mary:  "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:32-33).  Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of David, and in him the promise and prophecy are fulfilled (Ps. 88).  For us the Psalm becomes an act of homage to our King and Lord enthroned upon the wood of the Cross.

Recollection of God's promises

Misericórdias Dómini * in ætérnum cantábo.
2  In generatiónem et generatiónem * annuntiábo veritátem tuam in ore meo.
3  Quóniam dixísti : In ætérnum misericórdia ædificábitur in cælis: * præparábitur véritas tua in eis.
4  Dispósui testaméntum eléctis meis, jurávi David, servo meo: * Usque in ætérnum præparábo semen tuum.
5  Et ædificábo in generatiónem et generatiónem * sedem tuam.

The mercies of the Lord; * will I sing for ever.
2  I will shew forth thy truth with my mouth, * from one generation to another.
3  For I have said, Mercy shall be set up for ever in the heavens; * thy truth shalt thou stablish therein.
4  I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant : * thy seed will I stablish for ever.
5  And I will set up thy throne * from one generation to another.

Faith in the promises

6  Confitebúntur cæli mirabília tua, Dómine, * étenim veritátem tuam in ecclésia sanctórum.
 Quóniam quis in núbibus æquábitur Dómino: * símilis erit Dómino in fíliis Dei?
8  Deus, qui glorificátur in consílio sanctórum: * magnus et terríbilis super omnes qui in circúitu ejus sunt.
9  Dómine, Deus virtútum, quis símilis tibi? * potens es, Dómine, et véritas tua in circúitu tuo.
10  Tu domináris potestáti maris: * motum autem flúctuum ejus tu mítigas.
11  Tu humiliásti sicut vulnerátum, supérbum: * in bráchio virtútis tuæ dispersísti inimícos tuos.
12  Tui sunt cæli, et tua est terra, orbem terræ et plenitúdinem ejus tu fundásti: * aquilónem, et mare tu creásti.
13  Thabor et Hermon in nómine tuo exsultábunt: * tuum bráchium cum poténtia.
14  Firmétur manus tua, et exaltétur déxtera tua: * justítia et judícium præparátio sedis tuæ.
15  Misericórdia et véritas præcédent fáciem tuam: * beátus pópulus, qui scit jubilatiónem.
16  Dómine, in lúmine vultus tui ambulábunt, et in nómine tuo exsultábunt tota die: * et in justítia tua exaltabúntur.
17  Quóniam glória virtútis eórum tu es: * et in beneplácito tuo exaltábitur cornu nostrum.
18  Quia Dómini est assúmptio nostra, * et Sancti Israël, regis nostri.

6  O Lord, the very heavens shall confess thy wondrous works; * and thy truth in the congregation of the saints.
7  For who among the clouds can be compared unto the Lord: * and who is like unto the Lord among the children of God?
8  God, who is glorified in the council of the saints, * great and terrible above all them that are round about him.
9  O Lord God of hosts, who is like unto thee? * thou art mighty, O Lord, and thy truth is round about thee.
10  Thou rulest the raging of the sea; * thou stillest the motion of the waves thereof.
11  Thou hast humbled the proud, as one that is slain : * thou hast scattered thine enemies abroad with thy mighty arm.
12  Thine are the heavens, and thine is the earth, thou hast stablished the round world and all the fulness thereof : * thou hast created the north and the south.
13  Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy Name : * thou hast a mighty arm.
14  Let thy hand be strengthened, and thy right hand exalted : * justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne.
15  Mercy and truth shall go before thy face : * blessed is the people that knoweth jubilation.
16  They shall walk in the light of thy countenance, O Lord, and in thy Name shall they rejoice all the day : * and in thy justice shall they be exalted.
17  For thou art the glory of their strength : * and in thy loving-kindness shall our horns be exalted.
18  For our defence is of the Lord; * even the Holy One of Israel and our King.

God's great promises to David

19  Tunc locútus es in visióne sanctis tuis, et dixísti: * Pósui adjutórium in poténtem : et exaltávi eléctum de plebe mea.
20  Invéni David, servum meum: * óleo sancto meo unxi eum.
21  Manus enim mea auxiliábitur ei: * et bráchium meum confortábit eum.
22  Nihil profíciet inimícus in eo: * et fílius iniquitátis non appónet nocére ei.
23  Et concídam a fácie ipsíus inimícos ejus: * et odiéntes eum in fugam convértam.
24  Et véritas mea, et misericórdia mea cum ipso: * et in nómine meo exaltábitur cornu ejus.
25  Et ponam in mari manum ejus: * et in flumínibus déxteram ejus.
26  Ipse invocábit me: Pater meus es tu: * Deus meus, et suscéptor salútis meæ.
27  Et ego primogénitum ponam illum: * excélsum præ régibus terræ.
28  In ætérnum servábo illi misericórdiam meam: * et testaméntum meum fidéle ipsi.
29  Et ponam in sæculum sæculi semen ejus: * et thronum ejus sicut dies cæli.
30  Si autem derelíquerint fílii ejus legem meam: * et in judíciis meis non ambuláverint.
31  Si justítias meas profanáverint: * et mandáta mea non custodíerint :
32  Visitábo in virga iniquitátes eórum: * et in verbéribus peccáta eórum.
33  Misericórdiam autem meam non dispérgam ab eo: * neque nocébo in veritáte mea :
34  Neque profanábo testaméntum meum: * et quæ procédunt de lábiis meis, non fáciam írrita.
35  Semel jurávi in sancto meo: Si David méntiar: * semen ejus in ætérnum manébit.
36  Et thronus ejus sicut sol in conspéctu meo, * et sicut luna perfécta in ætérnum : et testis in cælo fidélis.

19  Then spakest thou in a vision unto thy saints, and didst say, * I have laid help upon one that is mighty, and have exalted one chosen out of my people.
20  I have found David my servant; * with my holy oil have I anointed him.
21  My hand shall hold him fast, * and my arm shall strengthen him.
22  The enemy shall have no advantage over him; * and the son of wickedness shall not have power to hurt him.
23  I will smite down his foes before his face, * and them that hate him will I put to flight.
24  My truth also and my mercy shall be with him; * and in my Name shall his horn be exalted.
25  I will set his hand also in the sea, * and his right hand in the rivers.
26  He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, * and the rock of my salvation.
27  And I will make him my firstborn, * higher than the kings of the earth.
28  My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, * and my covenant shall stand fast with him.
29  His seed also will I make to endure for ever, * and his throne as the days of heaven.
30  But if his children forsake my law, * and walk not in my judgments;
31  If they profane my statutes, * and keep not my commandments;
32  I will visit their offences with the rod, * and their sin with scourges.
33  But my mercy will I not utterly take from him, * nor suffer my truth to fail.
34  Neither will I profane my covenant : * nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
35  Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David : * his seed shall endure for ever.
36  And his throne is like as the sun before me, * and as the moon perfect for evermore, and a faithful witness in heaven.

The present is dark

37  Tu vero repulísti et despexísti: * distulísti Christum tuum.
38  Evertísti testaméntum servi tui: * profanásti in terra Sanctuárium ejus.
39  Destruxísti omnes sepes ejus: * posuísti firmaméntum ejus formídinem.
40  Diripuérunt eum omnes transeúntes viam: * factus est oppróbrium vicínis suis.
41  Exaltásti déxteram depriméntium eum: * lætificásti omnes inimícos ejus.
42  Avertísti adjutórium gládii ejus: * et non es auxiliátus ei in bello.
43  Destruxísti eum ab emundatióne: * et sedem ejus in terram collisísti.
44  Minorásti dies témporis ejus: * perfudísti eum confusióne.

37  But thou hast abhorred and despised : * yea, thou hast been wroth with thine Anointed.
38  Thou hast overthrown the covenant of thy servant, * thou hast profaned his Sanctuary upon earth.
39  Thou hast broken down all his hedges, * and hast set his foundation upon thy fear.
40
  All that pass by the way have plundered him, * and he is become a reproach to his neighbours.
41  Thou hast set up the right hand of them that oppress him, * and thou hast made all his adversaries to rejoice.
42  Thou hast turned away the help of his sword, * and hast not assisted him in the battle.
43  Thou hast made his glory to cease, * and cast his throne down to the ground.
44  The days of his time hast thou shortened, * and covered him with dishonour.

Plea for grace and restoration

45  Usquequo, Dómine, avértis in finem: * exardéscet sicut ignis ira tua?
46  Memoráre quæ mea substántia: * numquid enim vane constituísti omnes fílios hóminum?
47  Quis est homo, qui vivet, et non vidébit mortem: * éruet ánimam suam de manu ínferi?
48  Ubi sunt misericórdiæ tuæ antíquæ, Dómine: * sicut jurásti David in veritáte tua?
49  Memor esto, Dómine, oppróbrii servórum tuórum: * (quod contínui in sinu meo) multárum Géntium.
50  Quod exprobravérunt inimíci tui, Dómine, * quod exprobravérunt commutatiónem Christi tui.

45  How long wilt thou hide thyself for ever : * and shall thy wrath burn like fire?
46  O remember what my substance is; * for hast thou made all men for nought?
47  What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? * and shall he deliver his soul from the hand of hell?
48  Lord, where are thy mercies of old, * which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?
49  Be mindful, O Lord, of the reproach of thy servants, which I do bear in my bosom : * yea, the reproach of many people.
50  Wherewith thine enemies have blasphemed thee, O Lord, * and blasphemed the change of thine Anointed.

Finale (end of Book 3 of Psalms)

51  Benedíctus Dóminus in ætérnum: * fiat, fiat.

51  Blessed be the Lord for evermore. * Amen, and Amen.