Wrapping up the 49th Psalm, a rarity in the Catholic Lectionary, but good news for people concerned about the powerful and wealthy.
Today, a word of comfort for those tempted to envy or fear other people:
16 Do not be afraid when some become rich,
when the wealth of their houses increases.
17 For when they die they will carry nothing away;
their wealth will not go down after them.
18 Though in their lifetime they count themselves happy
—for you are praised when you do well for yourself—
19 they will go to the company of their ancestors,
who will never again see the light.
20 Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
they are like the animals that perish.
Well, given that today is Ash Wednesday, I’d nominate a verse from the appointed Responsorial Psalm of the day as a key to reflection: verse 15 of the Miserere, Psalm 51: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.” (or, in the Latin Vulgate: “Domine labia mea aperies et os meum adnuntiabit laudem tuam.”) It’s the verse that begins each liturgical day of the Roman Rite, and with good reason. It’s a distilled expression of faith, hope and love: a good model of the journey on which we embark in Lent. We express a desire – to God – expressing an open heart (or at least a desire for an open heart) to invite God to plant his grace within us, and for the fruits of that grace to grow to the greater glory of God.
Interestingly, given how fundamental the text is in Catholic liturgy, it’s not frequently encountered as a sung text. Given moderation of links, I will separately link my favorite musical setting of the text, by Orlando Lassus, with a pdf of the score and a YewTyoob audio. It’s a choral jewel: a lyrical and tender expression of hope. Lent is a practice of Hope. Remember the Act of Hope? It’s a wonderful bookend to the Act of Contrition (I sometimes begin my confessions with an Act of Hope for this reason):
“O my God, relying on Your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace and life everlasting through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.”
Promised links to follow by PS.
Links as promised:
Audio “video”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9j6KiluVbg