Have mercy on me, O God

    We have made it! Almost forty days have gone by since Ash Wednesday and while we are not there yet, we are on the home stretch coming into the Triduum. There is not much that can be said—in fact this time is usually filled with silence and a deep sense of foreboding and loss. What is there to say? It has all been said already. So I will leave it to King David in one of the most beautiful recordings I have heard of the Miserere Mei Deus (Psalm 51).

    Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
    according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.

    Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

    For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.

    Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
    so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

    Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

    Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

    Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

    Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

    Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

    Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

    Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.

    Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

    Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.

    Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

    Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.

    You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

    My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

    May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

    Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.