Saturday, March 08, 2008

A psalm for a sudden and unexpected death

2 of my daughters are students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On March 5, the student body president, Eve Carson, was suddenly and violently killed. My daughters were obviously grieving, and thousands of others on that campus shared that grief.

When death comes, we grieve, we are numbed, and we often feel that we have no words for prayer. This is the beauty of the prayers given to us, both in the Bible, and by the Church.

Psalm 130 is one such appropriate prayer for such a time. Usually entitled De Profundis (Latin for the opening words of the Psalm, "out of the depths") this is a psalm for those times when words fail, and when we rely on the intercession of the Holy Spirit for things that cannot be spoken:

1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.

2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.

3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

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