Psalm 51 - Prayer with a contrite and humbled heart




[New International Version] Psalm 51 belongs to Book II of the Book of Psalms. The fragility of the Human condition is exposed. We are born defenseless and it is God who gives us strength and purifies our soul.

The PS 51 belong to Book II of the book of PS composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book II comprises the PS 42 the 72 . The PS 51 is divided into 21 verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 51 - Prayer with a contrite and humbled heart

1  To the director. Psalm of David ,

2  When the prophet Nathan went to meet him,
after he had gone to meet Bathsheba.

3  Have mercy on me, O God, because of your mercy;
according to your great compassion, erase my guilt.

4  Wash me completely from my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

5  For I acknowledge my faults,
and my sin is always before me.

6  Against you, only against you have I sinned
and done evil in your eyes.
And so You are just in your sentence, You
are upright in your judgment.

7  Behold, I was begotten in guilt,
my mother conceived me in sin.

8  Behold, You appreciate the truth in the deepest;
and in intimacy you teach me wisdom.

9  With hyssop take away my sin and I shall be clean;
wash me and I’ll be whiter than snow.

10  Make me hear words of joy and joy,
and let these bones that thou hast bruised exult.

11  Turn your face away from my sin
and blot out all my iniquities.

12  Create for me, O God, a pure heart;
and renew a firm spirit within me.

13  Do not turn me away from your presence,
neither take away your holy spirit from me.

14  Give me again the joy of your salvation
and support me with a generous spirit.

15  I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.

16  Deliver me, O God, from the crimes of blood,
God of my salvation.
May my tongue sing your justice.

17  Open my lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall declare your praise.

18  For you do not welcome a sacrifice,
nor do you please any burnt offering that I offer.

19  My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit.
A contrite and humbled heart, O God, You do not despise.

20  In your loving-kindness treat Zion with kindness;
rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem.

21  Then shall you be pleased with legitimate sacrifices,
burnt offerings, or full offerings;
then bulls can be placed on your altar.

Meaning and interpretation

The PS 51 is a single sentence prayer known as  Miserere . This is the word with which your Latin translation begins. Miserere mei, God  (“Have mercy on me, O God”) It is, therefore, the most recognized of the penitential psalms . His message is one of humility and repentance .

This Psalm is typically included during the Mystery of Repentance (corresponding to the  sacrament of penance ), in daily personal prayers, and in many of the liturgical functions. Also associated with Ash Wednesday.

“ Behold, I was begotten in guilt, my mother conceived me in sin .” According to specialists, there is no evidence in the Bible to think that this reference could be linked to any sin in the act of conceiving a new human being. On the contrary. This expression means the fragility that marks the human condition and, as such, is present in human beings from the first moment of their existence. Origin is the equivalent of essence and, therefore, the human condition is essentially fragile and deficient.

In the Penitential Psalms we find wisdom , praise and forgiveness . Like the rest of the Psalms, they were written in a poetic way with the intention of praising and revering God, showing man how He acted and acted throughout all times.

The Penitential Psalms (6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 103; 143) are a request for forgiveness . They have a character of repentance , contrition and sacrifice , in which the rigor of Divine Justice is clearly presented to the sinner who is hardened in his faults.

The Psalmist, who repents of his wrongdoing, begs God for indulgence for your faults. From this attitude of contrition , another plea is born : that God may appease His holy wrath and ease the punishment for His Infinite Divine Kindness.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy.