Help, O Lord, for good men have vanished;
truth has gone from the sons of men.
Falsehood they speak one to another,
with lying lips, with a false heart. - Ps. 11
Years ago when I was a novice the issue was discussed at Chapter. Several of the monks wanted a deeper purge of all the negative, hostile, 'violent' verses and psalms from the monastic office.
I always thought that was wrong.
I've always thought that these psalms and those verses which called on God to destroy the enemies who oppress his people, were spiritually and psychologically healthy to pray. I've often wondered if that is why we have become so soft on sin, and passive in the face of those sins which cry to heaven for vengeance?
I find these psalms especially helpful in times of temptation - especially temptation to discouragement. The words can express our deepest frustration - with ourselves and our soul's enemies. In a sense, they can be a sort of exorcism, a spiritual defense in the spiritual combat. They also inform us, remind us of God's justice.
I find such psalms especially helpful when praying for Christians facing martyrdom, and the oppressors who persecute them. Similarly, I have found consolation in praying these psalms in defense of the defenseless innocents killed by abortion and infanticide.
Rather than expunging these verses from the psalter, I think they need to be reinstated, in the Liturgy and Offices.
"Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you." - Ps. 5
Once again, Rorate Caeli brings the changes to our attention in a very good post revealing the effects of the liturgical reform and the editing of the psalter - purging the more difficult psalms from the Ordinary Form and the Divine Office. Though rather critical in tone, I want to include a couple excerpts here:
For 2,000 years, Christians Eastern and Western had been praying the psalter of David in its integrity, and now, Catholics were handed an expurgated or abridged version, with verses removed by “experts” who knew better than the Holy Spirit, knew better than the Israelites, knew better than the Church Fathers and Doctors, knew better than Tradition. But of course they knew better: this was the Age of Enlightenment breaking in at last upon a fortress-like Church, an age in which we should shake ourselves free from the shackles of unenlightened piety, with its gnarled, enigmatic, sharp-edged, implacable expressions, and its archaic, earthy, tribal atmosphere. Razing the bastions, making the world safe for democracy, and all that good stuff.
This observation dovetailed with another talk given at the Sacra Liturgia conference about the reform of the lectionary, in which the speaker looked at how the Novus Ordo lectionary for Mass also suppresses “difficult” verses from both Testaments—verses that had always been present in the traditional Roman lectionary but were excluded from the new lectionary, in spite of its boast of being so much bigger and better.
Catholics who attend the Ordinary Form are not merely getting “more” Scripture, they are also getting different Scripture—and the principles of selection are politically correct, ecumenical, sensitive, excluding much that is dark or difficult. In other words, the principles are rather unlike Scripture itself. The modern principles and the premodern text to which they are applied sit uneasily together. - Posted by Benedict Constable
Arise O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered.
Perhaps such revisionism is why the Catholic hierarchy can seem so banal at times, the liturgy so effeminate in the touchy-feely sense, and Catholics so complacent and compromised by moral relativism?
I appreciate the following verses - especially when I pray for those who slaughter the innocent:
O God, break the teeth in their mouths,
tear out the fangs of these wild beasts, O Lord!
Let them vanish like water that runs away;
let them wither like grass that is trodden under foot:
let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime;
like a woman's miscarriage that never sees the sun. - Ps. 57
Upon waking, my daily prayer always begins this way:
Let God arise, let his foes be scattered.
Let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is blown away so will they be blown away;
like wax that melts before the fire,
so the wicked shall perish at the presence of God. - Ps. 68
I keep thinking of St. Paul's admonition: Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.