Today, read the English translation of psalm 51 below, and listen to this beautiful recording in a time of contemplative prayer. This psalm has been set to music so many times throughout the ages that many of us may have a favorite recording.
But we don’t often pray about our sin with this kind of whole-hearted devotion. Our culture emphasizes feeling good about ourselves. “Don’t beat yourself up.” “No regrets.” “Sorry, not sorry.” “No apologies.”
Lent gives us an opportunity to recognize and regret our sins, to learn from our mistakes, to apologize, secure in the knowledge that God will hide His face from all our sins and blot out our iniquities.
Pray the psalm, or pray repeatedly the first line: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; in your great compassion blot out my offenses.”
“Miserere mei, Deus Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum Dele iniquitatem meam”
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness;
in your great compassion blot out my offenses.
2 Wash me through and through from my wickedness
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you only have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight.
5 And so you are justified when you speak
and upright in your judgment.
6 Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth,
a sinner from my mother’s womb.
7 For behold, you look for truth deep within me,
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.
8 Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure;
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.
9 Make me hear of joy and gladness,
that the body you have broken may rejoice.
10 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquities.