King David’s Psalm 51 is a humbling and powerful prayer of repentance that we can turn to in preparation for the Sacrament of Confession. It reveals the goodness of God Who is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 145:8).
Scripture tells us that the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to confront David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), because he had committed the sin of murder by having his soldier, Uriah, killed. David did this to cover up his sin of adultery with Uriah’s wife, Basheba, who became pregnant with his child (2 Samuel 11:1-27, 12:1-25).
After his conscience was pierced David humbled himself and repented with true contrition of heart. When we ponder the repentance and restoration of David, we find a key that unlocks a treasure.
The Key is Trust in God’s Merciful Love. The Treasure is Salvation! We can relate to David because of our sinfulness. Like David, God gazes upon us with “age-old love” and mercy (Jeremiah 31:3).
God embraces us with tenderness when we return to Him with our every misery and sin so that He can forgive us and restore us.
During this Lenten season let us rest upon the bosom of Our Heavenly Father and receive His love. Take quiet moments daily to reflect on our lives and ask Him to reveal to us when we have sinned, then humbly repent.
We can also ask Our Merciful Father to heal us at the root of our sinful tendencies and for the grace to have a holy hatred for sin. For the discernment of spirits to recognize temptations and reject all evil. For His protection from the influence of evil and an increase of love for God and growth in virtue.
Let us pray this Psalm with deepest humility and trust in His mercy which flows upon us through the Precious Blood of His Son, Christ Jesus…Who is Our Salvation.
Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes So that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment. Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, you desire true sincerity; and secretly you teach me wisdom. Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may
be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
You will let me hear gladness and joy; the bones you have crushed will rejoice. Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities. A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit.
Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit. I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice. Lord, you will open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.