Psalm 51: Secret Heart

Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 10, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 51, a deeply moving plea for a pure heart and a right spirit. Psalm 51 is a penitential psalm known by its Latin name, Miserere (Have Mercy). You, dear readers, may remember a reflection on this beautiful psalm from just about a month ago.


As I prayed with Psalm 51 today, I asked myself how my spirit has been doing in the intervening month. May I challenge you all with the same question?

Corona time is not easy on the Spirit. Confinement, uncertainty, suffering and loss have impacted all of us in some way. Restrictions away from friends, family, and community deplete us. Social unrest and political lunacy unsettle us.

On the other hand, some of us have been able to embrace this time as a long retreat from “the way things were”. It has been a time of washing our hearts down to their bare muscle. We have sat in the quiet with questions like “What is it that I most love,  most trust, most need, most believe in, most hope for?”.


It is such an appropriate time to pray Psalm 51, to be with God in our “secret heart” – that place where no one else ever hears our rawest thoughts and purest prayers:

  • to acknowledge any sin or guilt we carry
  • to name our desire for healing and clarity
  • to listen to the whispering of Wisdom within us
  • to find our strength by finding our rootedness in God
  • to reclaim joy even in the midst of difficulty
  • to make our heart at home in praise
  • to be righted by Mercy

Let’s pray with and for one another as we cherish this Psalm.


Poetry: The Place Where We Are Right – Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.
The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.
But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.

Music: Wisdom in the Secret Heart – Shane and Shane

3 thoughts on “Psalm 51: Secret Heart

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