17 FEBRUARY 2018
PRAYING PSALM 51
This psalm is often prayed by individuals and communities seeking forgiveness and mercy, flowing out from the steadfast love of God. The Old Testament period considered two sins, murder and rape/incest as sins that could not be atoned - murder led to the death of the body and rape/incest to the death of the soul - Nathan confronted David with these two sins (II Samuel 11-12). This great man, chosen by God to be king, had done something that could not be atoned. David threw himself at the mercy of God. This psalm reveals the heart of David as he realized what he had done. David appealed to God's steadfast, unfailing, covenant Love because he knew God would never break His covenant, even when man breaks it. His confession and prayer for mercy has now become part of our Christian heritage.
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness;
In your abundant compassion, blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt;
From my sin, cleanse me.
What offense, in your life, needs cleansing, healing and transformation?
For I know my offense;
My sin is always before me.
Against you alone have I sinned;
I have done such evil in your sight.
What sin is always before you that need forgiveness, healing and transformation?
Cleanse me with hyssop that I may be pure;
Wash me, make me whiter than snow.
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness;
Let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Reflect on the "spring within" - the water that cleanses and purifies!
Turn away your face from my sins;
Blot out all my guilt.
A clean heart create for me, God;
Renew in me a steadfast spirit.
Keep praying: May I be renewed with a steadfast spirit .
Do not drive me away from your presence,
Nor take from me your Holy Spirit.
Restore my joy in your salvation,
Sustain in me a willing spirit.
Keep praying: Sustain in me a willing spirit.
Blessings and peace,
Acknowledgment: This Reflection was presented at a recent Lenten
retreat given by Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs of the Wellspring Spirituality
Center in Whitehouse, Texas USA.