Have mercy on me, Lord

The Responsorial Psalm from the Daily Mass for the Friday after Ash Wednesday is an excellent prayer of repentance and petitioning God for forgiveness (I pasted the full text here):

Psalm 51: “Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.

Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.

For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.

Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.

True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.

Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.

Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.

Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.

A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.

Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.

Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.

I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.

Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.

Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.

For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.

My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.

Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.”

(Via USCCB.)

It is a prayer that would make an appropriate companion to the nightly examination of conscience that Catholics and people in 12 Step Movements are supposed to do. For that matter it would make a wonderful prayer during a Step 5 and Step 7.

But apart from the Steps and a nightly examen, read it slowly at first, dwelling upon each line and savor how the words of the prayer are very healing. It was written by Kind David, after being confronted by his adulterous and murderous affair with Bathsheba.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"


  1. This is one of my favorite psalms. I get to sing a very special version of it when it comes around in the liturgical cycle. Its quite beautiful and really reminds me of my need to repent and trust in God.

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