Psalm 51

Lenten Offering

Welcome to Week 4 of WINE’s Lenten Offering—our offering to the Lord of time and listening hearts.

The best-known and likely the best-loved of the Penitential Psalms is Psalm 51, which we will meditate on this week. “Create in me a clean heart” comes from here, as does “purge me with hyssop” and “against thee only have I sinned.”

Psalm 51 is the prayer that King David prayed when his sin with Bathsheba was found out and he had sent her husband, Uriah, to his death. It was a terrible sin and David—certain of God’s love—went straight to his knees to ask for God’s mercy and restoration.

If you haven’t begun yet, now is a good time to prepare for the Sacrament of Confession. You may want to take advantage of Reconciliation more than once during Lent. Psalm 51 is a wonderful prayer to use while you prepare, and a beautiful “Act of Contrition.” Pray the psalm, then ask God to help you remember those things you have done wrong and to give you the courage to bring them to him for forgiveness. Write down your sins so you won’t forget them when you go to Confession.

If you’re looking for an examination of conscience, here are some helpful links:

Confession is an act of honesty and courage—an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God. (Saint John Paul II, 9/14/1987 Homily)

May you become more deeply aware of God’s tender mercies this week.

—Sarah Christmyer

Questions to Ponder:

As a community of women, sharing a similar journey this Lent, we invite you to share your experiences and insights with each other on the blog (below) after you complete your prayer with Psalm 51. Here are some questions, based on the journaling questions in Create in Me a Clean Heart.

1. [READ] What struck you about Psalm 51? Did any words or phrases catch your eye? What did you notice about them?

2. [REFLECT] What did Psalm 51 say to you? Where did your heart draw you? After pondering that passage—what does it mean to you?

3. [RESPOND and REST] Were you able to move into a conversation with the Lord? The specific things that He says to our hearts, and our response, are often private. Would you like to share anything about the experience of hearing from Him, or entering into that conversation, or resting in his presence?