Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso eripe me: quia tu es Deus meus, et fortitudo mea.
Click here to listen to an audio recording of the chant.
Sung by Br. Jacob Berns, OSB, of St. John’s Abbey.
“Be my judge, God, and plead my cause against an unholy people. Deliver me from the deceitful and malicious human. For you are my God and my strength.” (Ps 43(42):1–2)
This supplication for help leads us closer to passion and cross. Its melody seems highly emotional and affectionate: The words causam meam (my cause), doloso (deceitful), and eripe me (deliver me) let us hear the praying person howl and yell, without any glamor or happiness.
At quia tu es Deus meus (for you are my God) we can – just like in some of last weeks’ introits – identify a play with the directions upward (to God) and downward (to the earth): Tu addresses God directly with the eyes up to heaven, but then the singer metaphorically bows down in humility when he or she finishes the words Deus meus (my God).
These are the days when we confront ourselves with all abysmal evilness humans are capable of. If there is any power that can save us, it must be divine. This knowledge requires openness for heaven as well as humility on earth.