Friday, December 19, 2008

Ember Day Devotion

As discussed in a previous post, one dimension of the Ember days is fasting. Another is a special emphasis on prayer and supplication. So aside from attending celebrations of the Divine Office and Mass, if you can, I also suggest, for your devotion, that you pray the Litany, and perhaps a few psalms (especially for those who have not prayed the Divine Office). The Litany you can find on page 110 of The Lutheran Hymnal. An excellent choice of psalms to accompany the Litany would be the seven so called Penitential Psalms. They are, according to the common Hebrew numbering, Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143. You might end each of them with the Glory Be, to wit,

Glory be to the Father and to the Son * and to the Holy Ghost,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.

For your convenience, I provide below these Psalms in the classic English form of the Coverdale translation.

O LORD, rebuke me not in thine indignation, * neither chasten me in thy displeasure.
Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am weak; * O LORD, heal me, for my bones are vexed.
My soul also is sore troubled: * but, LORD, how long wilt thou punish me?
Turn thee, O LORD, and deliver my soul; * O save me, for thy mercy’s sake.
For in death no man remembereth thee; * and who will give thee thanks in the pit?
I am weary of my groaning: every night wash I my bed, * and water my couch with my tears.
My beauty is gone for very trouble, * and worn away because of all mine enemies.
Away from me, all ye that work vanity; * for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.
The LORD hath heard my petition; * the LORD will receive my prayer.
All mine enemies shall be confounded, and sore vexed; * they shall be turned back, and put to shame suddenly.

Blessed is he whose unrighteousness is forgiven, * and whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth no sin, * and in whose spirit there is no guile.
For whilst I held my tongue, my bones consumed away * through my daily complaining.
For thy hand is heavy upon me day and night, * and my moisture is like the drought in summer.
I will acknowledge my sin unto thee; * and mine unrighteousness have I not hid.
I said, I will confess my sins unto the LORD; * and so thou forgavest the wickedness of my sin.
For this shall every one that is godly make his prayer unto thee, * in a time when thou mayest be found;
But in the great water-floods * they shall not come nigh him.
Thou art a place to hide me in; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; * thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.
I will inform thee, and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt go; * and I will guide thee with mine eye.
Be ye not like to horse and mule, * which have no understanding;
Whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle, * lest they fall upon thee.
Great plagues remain for the ungodly; * but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD, mercy embraceth him on every side.
Be glad, O ye righteous, and rejoice in the LORD; * and be joyful, all ye that are true of heart.

Put me not to rebuke, O LORD, in thine anger; * neither chasten me in thy heavy displeasure.
For thine arrows stick fast in me, * and thy hand presseth me sore.
There is no health in my flesh, because of thy displeasure; * neither is there any rest in my bones, by reason of my sin.
For my wickednesses are gone over my head, * and are like a sore burden, too heavy for me to bear.
My wounds stink, and are corrupt, * through my foolishness.
I am brought into so great trouble and misery, * that I go mourning all the day long.
For my loins are filled with a sore disease, * and there is no whole part in my body.
I am feeble and sore smitten; * I have roared for the very disquietness of my heart.
Lord, thou knowest all my desire; * and my groaning is not hid from thee.
My heart panteth, my strength hath failed me, my strength hath failed me, * and the sight of mine eyes is gone from me.
My lovers and my neighbours * did stand looking upon my trouble,
And my kinsmen stood afar off: * they also that sought after my life laid snares for me.
And they that went about to do me evil talked of wickedness, * and imagined deceit all the day long.
As for me, I was like a deaf man, and heard not; * and as one that is dumb, who doth not open his mouth.
I became even as a man that heareth not, * and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
For in thee, O LORD, have I put my trust; * thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my God.
I have required that they, even mine enemies, should not triumph over me: * for when my foot slipt, they rejoiced greatly against me.
And I truly am set in the plague, * and my heaviness is ever in my sight.
For I will confess my wickedness, * and be sorry for my sin.
But mine enemies live, and are mighty; * and they that hate me wrongfully are many in number.
They also that reward evil for good are against me; * because I follow the thing that good is.
Forsake me not, O LORD, my God; * be not thou far from me.
Haste thee to help me, * O Lord God of my salvation.

Have mercy upon me, O God, * after thy great goodness;
According to the multitude of thy mercies * do away mine offences.
Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness, * and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults, * and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; * that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou art judged.
Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, * and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts, * and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; * thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, * that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Turn thy face from my sins, * and put out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God, * and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, * and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
O give me the comfort of thy help again, * and stablish me with thy free Spirit.
Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked, * and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou that art the God of my health; * and my tongue shall sing of thy righteousness.
Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord, * and my mouth shall show thy praise.
For thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it thee; * but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: * a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise.
O be favourable and gracious unto Sion; * build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblations; * then shall they offer young bullocks upon thine altar.

Hear my prayer, O LORD, * and let my crying come unto thee.
Hide not thy face from me * in the time of my trouble;
Incline thine ear unto me when I call; * O hear me, and that right soon.
For my days are consumed away like smoke, * and my bones are burnt up as it were a firebrand.
My heart is smitten down, and withered like grass; * so that I forget to eat my bread.
For the voice of my groaning, * my bones will scarce cleave to my flesh.
I am become like a pelican in the wilderness, * and like an owl that is in the desert.
I have watched, * and am even as it were a sparrow, that sitteth alone upon the house-top.
Mine enemies revile me all the day long; * and they that are mad upon me are sworn together against me.
For I have eaten ashes as it were bread, * and mingled my drink with weeping;
And that, because of thine indignation and wrath; * for thou hast taken me up, and cast me down.
My days are gone like a shadow, * and I am withered like grass.
But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever, * and thy remembrance throughout all generations.
Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Sion; * for it is time that thou have mercy upon her, yea, the time is come.
And why? thy servants think upon her stones, * and it pitieth them to see her in the dust.
The heathen shall fear thy Name, O LORD; * and all the kings of the earth thy Majesty;
When the LORD shall build up Sion, * and when his glory shall appear;
When he turneth him unto the prayer of the poor destitute: * and despiseth not their desire.
This shall be written for those that come after, * and the people which shall be born shall praise the LORD.
For he hath looked down from his sanctuary; * out of the heaven did the LORD behold the earth;
That he might hear the mourning of such as are in captivity, * and deliver the children appointed unto death;
That they may declare the Name of the LORD in Sion, * and his worship at Jerusalem;
When the people are gathered together, * and the kingdoms also, to serve the LORD.
He brought down my strength in my journey, * and shortened my days.
But I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of mine age; * as for thy years, they endure throughout all generations.
Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, * and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: * they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; * but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
The children of thy servants shall continue, * and their seed shall stand fast in thy sight.

Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O LORD; * Lord, hear my voice.
O let thine ears consider well * the voice of my complaint.
If thou, LORD, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, * O Lord, who may abide it?
For there is mercy with thee; * therefore shalt thou be feared.
I look for the LORD; my soul doth wait for him; in his word is my trust: * my soul fleeth unto the Lord;
Before the morning watch; I say, before the morning watch: * O Israel, trust in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is mercy, * and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel * from all his sins.

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and consider my desire; * hearken unto me for thy truth and righteousness’ sake.
And enter not into judgment with thy servant; * for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; * he hath smitten my life down to the ground;
He hath laid me in the darkness, as the men that have been long dead: * therefore is my spirit vexed within me, and my heart within me is desolate.
Yet do I remember the time past, I muse upon all thy works; * yea, I exercise myself in the works of thy hands.
I stretch forth my hands unto thee; * my soul gaspeth unto thee as a thirsty land.
Hear me, O LORD, and that soon; * for my spirit waxeth faint:
Hide not thy face from me, * lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
O let me hear thy loving-kindness betimes in the morning; * for in thee is my trust:
Show thou me the way that I should walk in; * for I lift up my soul unto thee.
Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies; for I flee unto thee to hide me: * teach me to do the thing that pleaseth thee, for thou art my God;
Let thy loving Spirit lead me forth into the land of righteousness: * quicken me, O LORD, for thy Name’s sake;
And for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble: * and of thy goodness slay mine enemies,
And destroy all them that vex my soul; * for I am thy servant.

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