Today’s Office of Readings asks us to pray Psalm 34(35). It is a prayer asking God to save us in times of persecution. The Italian translation offers some wonderful phrases that are very descriptive. My translation into English follows:
Lord, judge those who accuse me, fight those who fight me. Grab your shield and rise to my aid. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
I however esult in my Lord for the joy of his salvation. All my bones say, “Who is like you, Lord, who frees the weak from the strong, the miserable one and the poor from the predator?”
Violent witnesses rise up and interrogate me on things of which I am ignorant; they render evil for good, desolation for my life.
I, when they were sick, I dressed in sackcloth, I afflicted myself with fasting, in my chest my prayers echoed. I was in anguish as for a brother, in mourning as for my mother, I prostrated myself in sadness.
But they enjoy my fall, they gather together, they gather against me to strike me all of a sudden. They tear at me without pause, the put me to the test, mockery upon mockery, against me they grind their teeth.
How long, Lord will you stand by and watch? Free my life from their violence, from the fangs of the lion, free my one and only well being.
I will praise you in the grand assembly, I will celebrate you in the midst of a numerous people. May lying enemies not exult over me, do not let them wink their eyes they who hate me without reason.
Lord, you have seen, do not be quiet. God, don’t stand far from me. Awaken, awaken yourself for my judgment, for my cause, Lord my God.
May he esult and rejoice who loves my right, may he forever say, “Great is the Lord who desires peace for his servant.”
My tongue will celebrate your justice, will sing your praise forever.”