Psalm 89.  Domine, refugium

Original sin and Redemption

This grave, melancholy Psalm does not seem at home in the sunny atmosphere of Lauds.  It is the dark side of the day's theme for prayer, background for the Resurrection and the Eucharist.  It portrays human frailty and death as consequences of original sin, and ends with a petition for the joy and blessedness for which every human heart yearns.  This blessedness is destined for us through the Redemption of Jesus Christ.  And the holy Eucharist is the tree of life whose fruit is a pledge of immortality and future resurrection.

God's years and man's years

Dómine, refúgium factus es nobis: * a generatióne in generatiónem.
2  Priúsquam montes fíerent, aut formarétur terra et orbis: * a sæculo et usque in sæculum tu es, Deus.
3  Ne avértas hóminem in humilitátem: * et dixísti: Convertímini, fílii hóminum.
4  Quóniam mille anni ante óculos tuos, * tamquam dies hestérna, quæ prætériit.
5  Et custódia in nocte, * quæ pro níhilo habéntur, eórum anni erunt.
6  Mane sicut herba tránseat, mane flóreat, et tránseat: * véspere décidat, indúret et aréscat.

Lord, thou hast been our refuge, * from one generation to another.
2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, * thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.
3  Turn thou not man to be made low ; * thou hast said, Turn ye, O ye children of men.
4  For a thousand years in thy sight * are but as yesterday when it is past.
5  And as a watch in the night, * things that are counted as nought, shall their years be.
6  In the morning man shall grow up like the grass, yea, in the morning he shall flourish and pass away : * in the evening he shall fall, dry up, and wither.

Sin as the basis of human misery

7  Quia defécimus in ira tua, * et in furóre tuo turbáti sumus.
8  Posuísti iniquitátes nostras in conspéctu tuo: * sæculum nostrum in illuminatióne vultus tui.
9  Quóniam omnes dies nostri defecérunt: * et in ira tua defécimus.
10  Anni nostri sicut aránea meditabúntur: * dies annórum nostrórum in ipsis, septuagínta anni.
11  Si autem in potentátibus, octogínta anni: * et ámplius eórum, labor et dolor.
12  Quóniam supervénit mansuetúdo: * et corripiémur.
13  Quis novit potestátem iræ tuæ: * et præ timóre tuo iram tuam dinumeráre?
14  Déxteram tuam sic notam fac: * et erudítos corde in sapiéntia.

7  For we are consumed away in thy wrath, * and are troubled in thine indignation.
8  Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee; * and our life in the light of thy countenance.
9  For all our days are gone: * and thy wrath we are consumed away.
10  Our years shall be considered as a spider : * the days of our years are threescore years and ten.
11  But if in the strong they come to fourscore years, * then what is more of them is but labour and sorrow.
12  For meekness hath come upon us, * and we shall be swept away.
13  Who knoweth the power of thy wrath? * or how for fear to number aright thy wrath?
14  So make thy right hand hand known : * and men applied their hearts unto wisdom.

Plea for grace and mercy

15  Convértere, Dómine, úsquequo? * et deprecábilis esto super servos tuos.
16  Repléti sumus mane misericórdia tua: * et exsultávimus, et delectáti sumus ómnibus diébus nostris.
17  Lætáti sumus pro diébus, quibus nos humiliásti: * annis, quibus vídimus mala.
18  Réspice in servos tuos, et in ópera tua: * et dírige fílios eórum.
19  Et sit splendor Dómini Dei nostri super nos, et ópera mánuum nostrárum dírige super nos: * et opus mánuum nostrárum dírige.

15  Turn thee again, O Lord, at the last, * and be gracious unto thy servants.
16  We are filled in the morning with thy mercy, * and we have rejoiced and we are glad all the days of our life.
17  We have rejoiced for the days in which thou hast humbled us; * and for the years wherein we have suffered evils.
18  Look upon thy servants, and upon thy works : * and be thou a guide unto their children.
19  And the glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us: prosper thou the work of our hands upon us; * O prosper thou our handy-work.