Psalms for a Catholic Life

King David

Pre-Confession: Penitential Psalm for Forgiveness

Psalm 50

The repentance and confession of David after his sin. The fourth penitential psalm.

[1] Unto the end, a psalm of David,
[2] When Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bethsabee. [3]

HAVE mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity. [4] Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. [5] For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
[6] To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words and mayst overcome when thou art judged. [7] For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. [8] For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me. [9] Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. [10] To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
[11] Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. [12] Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. [13] Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me. [14] Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. [15] I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee.
[16] Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice. [17] O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise. [18] For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted. [19] A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. [20] Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
[21] Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.

Gloria Patri … 

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Post-Confession: Psalm of Praise

Psalm 102

Benedic, anima.
Thanksgiving to God for His mercies.

[1] FOR DAVID himself.

BLESS the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless his holy name. [2] Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all he hath done for thee. [3] Who forgiveth all thy iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases. [4] Who redeemeth thy life from destruction: who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion. [5] Who satisfieth thy desire with good things: thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s.

.[6] The Lord doth mercies, and judgment for all that suffer wrong. [7] He hath made his ways known to Moses: his wills to the children of Israel. [8] The Lord is compassionate and merciful: longsuffering and plenteous in mercy. [9] He will not always be angry: nor will he threaten for ever. [10] He hath not dealt with us according to our sins: nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

.[11] For according to the height of the heaven above the earth: he hath strengthened his mercy towards them that fear him. [12] As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our iniquities from us. [13] As a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him: [14] For he knoweth our frame. He remembereth that we are dust: [15] Man’s days are as grass, as the flower of the field so shall he flourish.

.[16] For the spirit shall pass in him, and he shall not be: and he shall know his place no more. [17] But the mercy of the Lord is from eternity and unto eternity upon them that fear him: And his justice unto children’s children, [18] To such as keep his covenant, And are mindful of his commandments to do them. [19] The Lord hath prepared his throne in heaven: and his kingdom shall rule over all. [20] Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders.

.[21] Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts: you ministers of his that do his will. [22] Bless the Lord, all his works: in every place of his dominion, O my soul, bless thou the Lord.

Gloria Patri …  

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Pre-Communion: The Soul’s Longing for God

Psalm 83

Quam dilecta.
The soul aspireth after heaven; rejoicing in the mean time, in being in the communion of God’s church upon earth.

[1] Unto the end, for the winepresses, a psalm for the sons of Core. [2]

HOW lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! [3] My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. [4] For the sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones: Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. [5] Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise thee for ever and ever.
[6] Blessed is the man whose help is from thee: in his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps*, [7] In the vale of tears, in the place which he hath set. [8] For the lawgiver shall give a blessing, they shall go from virtue to virtue: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion. [9] O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. [10] Behold, O God our protector: and look on the face of thy Christ.
[11] For better is one day in thy courts above thousands. I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners. [12] For God loveth mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory. [13] He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Gloria Patri …  

* [6] “In his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps”: Ascensiones in corde suo disposuit. As by steps men ascended to the temple of God situated on a hill; so the good Christian ascends towards the eternal temple by certain steps of virtue disposed or ordered within the heart: and this whilst he lives as yet in the body, in this vale of tears, the place which man hath set: that is, which he hath brought himself to: being cast out of paradise for his sin.


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Post-Communion: In Thanksgiving

Psalm 95

Cantate Domino.
 An exhortation to praise God for the coming of Christ and his kingdom.

[1] A canticle for David himself, when the house was built* after the captivity.

SING ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord, all the earth. [2] Sing ye to the Lord and bless his name: shew forth his salvation from day to day. [3] Declare his glory among the Gentiles: his wonders among all people. [4] For the Lord is great, and exceedingly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. [5] For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens.
[6] Praise and beauty are before him: holiness and majesty in his sanctuary. [7] Bring ye to the Lord, O ye kindreds of the Gentiles, bring ye to the Lord glory and honour: [8] Bring to the Lord glory unto his name. Bring up sacrifices, and come into his courts: [9] Adore ye the Lord in his holy court. Let all the earth be moved at his presence. [10] Say ye among the Gentiles, the Lord hath reigned. For he hath corrected the world, which shall not be moved: he will judge the people with justice.
[11] Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, let the sea be moved, and the fulness thereof: [12] The fields and all things that are in them shall be joyful. Then shall all the trees of the woods rejoice [13] Before the face of the Lord, because he cometh: because he cometh to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with justice, and the people with his truth.

Gloria Patri …  

* [1] “When the house was built”: Alluding to that time, and then ordered to be sung: but principally relating to the building of the church of Christ, after our redemption from the captivity of Satan.


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In the Evening: God’s Protection

Psalm 90

Qui habitat.
The just is secure under the protection of God.

[1] The praise of a canticle for David.

HE THAT dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob. [2] He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust. [3] For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word. [4] He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust. [5] His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
[6] Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil. [7] A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee. [8] But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked. [9] Because thou, O Lord, art my hope: thou hast made the most High thy refuge. [10] There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.
[11] For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways. [12] In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. [13] Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon. [14] Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name. [15] He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.
[16] I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.

Gloria Patri … 


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In Times of Tribulation

Psalm 12

Usquequo, Domine.
 A prayer in tribulation. *

[1] Unto the end, a psalm for David.

HOW long, O Lord, wilt thou forget me unto the end? how long dost thou turn away thy face from me? [2] How long shall I take counsels in my soul, sorrow in my heart all the day? [3] How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? [4] Consider, and hear me, O Lord my God. Enlighten my eyes that I never sleep in death: [5] Lest at any time my enemy say: I have prevailed against him. They that trouble me will rejoice when I am moved:
[6] But I have trusted in thy mercy. My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation: I will sing to the Lord, who giveth me good things: yea I will sing to the name of the Lord the most high.

Gloria Patri … 

* Psalm XII pre-figures Christ in His Agony, apparently forsaken and forgotten by the Eternal Father. (Source: Blessed be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book, p.404.)


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For the Departed, Especially Our Friends & Benefactors

Psalm 129

De profundis.
A prayer of a sinner, trusting in the mercies of God. The sixth penitential psalm.

[1] Out of the depths

OUT of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord: [2] Lord, hear my voice. Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. [3] If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall stand it. [4] For with thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord. My soul hath relied on his word: [5] My soul hath hoped in the Lord.
[6] From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord. [7] Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with him plentiful redemption. [8] And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
(Pre-1968 Indulgence of 3 years; 5 years every day in November)

V/. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.
R/. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V/. May they rest in peace.
R/. Amen.
(Pre-1968 Indulgence of 300 days, each time, for the Holy Souls)

* For your information, see full De Profundis Prayer and also Daily Prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

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