Ad Dominum. A prayer in tribulation. A gradual canticle. The following psalms, in number fifteen, are called gradual psalms, or canticles, from the word gradus, signifying steps, ascensions, or degrees: either because they were appointed to be sung on the fifteen steps, by which the people ascended to the temple: or, that in the singing of them the voice was to be raised by certain steps or ascensions: or, that they were to be sung by the people returning from their captivity and ascending to Jerusalem, which was seated amongst mountains. The holy fathers, in a mystical sense, understand these steps, or ascensions, of the degrees by which Christians spiritually ascend to virtue and perfection; and to the true temple of God in the heavenly Jerusalem.
1 In my trouble I cried to the Lord: and he heard me.
2 O Lord, deliver my soul from wicked lips, and a deceitful tongue.
3 What shall be given to thee, or what shall be added to thee, to a deceitful tongue?
4 The sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals that lay waste.
5 Woe is me, that my sojourning is prolonged! I have dwelt with the inhabitants of Cedar:
6 My soul hath been long a sojourner.
7 With them that hated peace I was peaceable: when I spoke to them they fought against me without cause.