Miserere mei, Deus

This is very beautiful.  If you are able to find fifteen minutes of quiet today, I would recommend following along in the text as you listen.  Here it is:

source: youtube

The text is from the Vulgate, Psalm L, Psalm 51 in most English Bibles:

Miserere mei, Deus

Have mercy on me, O God

Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam

According to your great compassion

Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum

And according to the multitude of your mercy.

Dele iniquitatem meam

Remove my iniquity.

Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea

Wash me entirely from my iniquities,

Et a peccato meo munda me

And clean me from my sin,

Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco

For I am familiar with my iniquities

Et peccatum meum contra me est semper

And my sin is always in opposition of me.

Tibi soli peccavi

I have sinned against you alone,

Et malum coram te feci

And in my heart I have done evil before you,

Ut iustificeris in sermonibus tuis

So that you were justified in your words

Et vincas cum iudicaris

And vindicated with justice.

Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum

Behold, for I have been born in iniquities,

Et in peccatis concepit me mater mea

And in sin my mother conceived me.

Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti incerta

Behold, for you delight in the truth.

Incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi

You have shown me the hidden and secrete parts of your wisdom.

Asparges me hysopo et mundabor

May you purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean;

Lavabis me et super nivem dealbabor

You shall wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam

Grant that I hear joy,

Et exultabunt ossa humiliata

And my humble bones will exult.

Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis

Turn your face from my sins

Et omnes iniquitates meas dele

And remove all my iniquities.

Cor mundum crea in me Deus

Create in me a cleansed heart, O God,

Et spiritum rectum in meis visceribus innova

And renew your righteous spirit in my guts.

Ne proicias me a facie tua

Do not turn me from your face,

Et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me

And take not your holy spirit from me.

Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui

Give me again the joy of your salvation,

Et spiritu principali confirma me

And strengthen me with your high spirit.

Docebo iniquos vias tuas

I will teach sinners your ways

Et impii ad te convertentur

And the impious shall be turned toward you.

Libera me de sanguinibus Deus

Free me from blood, O God,

Deus salutis meae

God of my salvation.

Exultabit lingua mea iustitiam tuam

My tongue shall exult in your justice.

Domine labia mea aperies

O Lord, you shall open my lips,

Et os meum adnuntiabit laudem tuam

And my mouth shall declare your praise.

Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium dedissem utique

Since if you had wanted a sacrifice, I would have given it,

Holocaustis non delectaberis

But you will not be delighted with offerings.

Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus

The sacrifice before God is a contrite spirit.

Cor contritum et humiliatum

A contrite and humble heart,

Deus non spernet

God will not despise this.

Benigne fac Domine in bona voluntate tua Sion

Act benevolently before the Lord, O Zion, for he is good,

Et aedificentur muri Hierusalem

And the walls shall be built around Jerusalem.

Tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae

Then you shall accept a sacrifice of justice,

Oblationes et holocausta

Offerings and sacrifices.

Tunc inponent super altare tuum vitulos.

Then they shall place bulls on your alter.


Writing and Thinking

In medieval times, books were written on a more expensive archetype of paper called parchment–they are sheep and calves which take assurance in that.˚  So whenever a monk wrote, he did so extremely carefully; he simply couldn’t afford to make a mistake.  The result was a compendium of incredible illuminations, a few of which I recently studied in the special collection here at my university:

A Medieval Illumination

I can’t even begin to imagine how ridiculously edifying it must have been, at a time when people were forced to rely so much on memory, to actually write something down in a tangible book.  People’s thoughts were much more organised, simply because they had to be; creating a book was the grand consummation of years of very meticulous thought.


˚ Pardon my ineloquent Shakespeare reference.