Vienna,,Austira,-,October,22,,2020:,The,Painting,Of,Crucifixion

Preparing For Lent: The Seven Penitential Psalms

In the traditional Roman Liturgical Calendar, the two and a half weeks before Ash Wednesday are known as Septuagesima, after the Sunday which heads this pre-Lent season.  With the ministers vested in violet and the Alleluia replaced by the Tract, this season helps ease the faithful into Lent. 

Prior to the 1917 Code of Canon Law, all the days of Lent, including Sundays, were days of abstinence, while non-Sundays were also days of fasting.  Lent, then, would have been 40 days of fasting and 46 days of abstinence.  Over the course of the 20th Century, the Lenten discipline was progressively reduced to today where the only days of mandatory fasting are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  Ash Wednesday along with all of the Fridays of Lent are days of mandatory abstinence (in the United States, the regulation which allows a replacement for abstinence on Fridays does not apply in Lent). 

Beyond this, it is now left to the discretion of the faithful as to how each will keep Lent as a penitential season.  This can be accomplished by means of prayer, bodily mortification, and almsdeeds.

One possible way the faithful may keep their Lent would be to incorporate the praying of the Seven Penitential Psalms, perhaps by praying one each day of the week.  These Psalms are indicated in the traditional breviary and are given, along with the Litany of the Saints and the associated versicles and prayers, as penances to those who receive Tonsure and the Minor Orders. 

The Seven Penitential Psalms, along with brief descriptions from Dom Guéranger’s Liturgical Year (Septuagesima), are given below (please note that the Psalms are numbered following the Vulgate numbering).

1. Psalm 6 (Domine, ne in furore.) – “David, struck down by sickness, asks pardon of God, and beseeches Him to heal the wounds of his soul.”

2. Psalm 31 (Beati, quorum.) – “David experiences the happiness felt by a soul whose sins have been forgiven her by God; he expresses his feelings, by comparing himself to a sick man, who was at the point of death, and is restored to health.”

3. Psalm 37 (Domine, ne in furore.) – “The royal prophet feels the consequences left in him by his past sins, and he begs God to have pity on him.”

4. Psalm 50 (Miserere.) – “The grief and prayer of David, when the prophet Nathan was sent, by God, to reproach him for the twofold crime he had committed by his sin with Bethsabee, are the subject of this psalm.”

5. Psalm 101 (Domine, exaudi.) – “David laments over the captivity of God’s people in Babylon, and prays for the restoration of Sion.  His words are appropriate for the soul, who grieves over her sins, and implores to be regenerated by grace.”

6. Psalm 129 (De profundis.) – “The sinner seeing the depths of the abyss into which sin has led him, can hope for help from none but his God, whose mercy is infinite.”

7. Psalm 142 (Domine, exaudi.) – “David, who had taken refuge in a cave, sees himself surrounded by the army of Saul; he beseeches God not to deal with him according to the rigour of His just judgments, but to show him a way whereby to escape the danger that threatens him.  The sinner implores God to deliver him from the sins and temptations which beset him.”

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Articles

Related Posts

Explore the profound significance of Marian piety in the Catholic Faith. Discover the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in answering the prayers of her faithful followers.

Five Powerful Marian Prayers

Marian piety has played an integral role in the Catholic Faith since its beginnings. The Blessed Virgin Mary is our most powerful heavenly intercessor and lovingly answers the prayers of her faithful sons and daughters.

Read More »

Participating In The Divine Nature

In a previous article, it was stated that because of its immateriality and supernaturality, the Church’s theologians utilize various analogies to explain Sanctifying Grace, the foundation of the spiritual life.  The article then went on to explain one of these analogies, namely that of Sanctifying Grace being the supernatural soul of the soul.  But this is not the only analogy worth investigating.

Read More »

Christ Establishes Confession

The Secret of Confession seeks to teach and console the reader of the graces, tradition, and efficacy of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In the following excerpt, Fr. Paul O’Sullivan traces the sacrament through Church history all the way to its institution by Christ.

Read More »
Uncover the beauty of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion rooted in divine love and atonement for sins. Meditate on this sacred image to kindle fervent love in lukewarm souls.

True Devotion And The Image Of The Sacred Heart

There is no devotion more sweet than the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for the object of this devotion is Love itself. This holy devotion was instituted by Our Lord Himself as a means of reparation and atonement for man’s incalculable sins. Meditation upon the image of the Sacred Heart is effective in stirring to fervor the love of lukewarm souls.

Read More »