Thursday, October 27, 2011

Psalm 22/4 - The paths of righteousness

Today’s verse of Psalm 22 is Deduxit me super semitas justitiæ propter nomen suum, which the (updated edition of the) Douay-Rheims translates as ‘He has led me on the paths of justice, for his own name's sake’.

The Latin

 Taking it phrase by phrase, this is actually a pretty straightforward verse translation-wise:

dedúxit me = he has led me/guided me

super (+accusative) sémitas justítiæ =on the paths of justice/righteousness

propter (+accusative) nomen tuum =according to/on account of/for the glory of his name

Pope Benedict comments on it:

“Dear brothers and sisters, if we follow the “Good Shepherd” — no matter how difficult, tortuous or long the pathways of our life may seem, even through spiritual deserts without water and under the scorching sun of rationalism — with the guidance of Christ the Good Shepherd, we too, like the Psalmist, may be sure that we are walking on “paths of righteousness” and that the Lord is leading us, is ever close to us and that we “shall lack nothing”.”

Psalm 22 so far:

Here is the first half of the psalm with today’s verse highlighted:

Dominus regit me, et nihil mihi deerit: in loco pascuæ, ibi me collocavit.
Super aquam refectionis educavit me; animam meam convertit.
Deduxit me super semitas justitiæ propter nomen suum.
Nam etsi ambulavero in medio umbræ mortis, non timebo mala, quoniam tu mecum es.
Virga tua, et baculus tuus, ipsa me consolata sunt.

St Robert Bellarmine

St Robert Bellarmine interprets the psalm as setting out what the shepherd does for his flock, and thus how this applies to us. So, he suggests:

“Sheep require, first, rich pasture [food, the sacraments, especially the Eucharist] ; secondly, pure water [the spiritual water of grace]; thirdly, one to bring them back when they stray [the grace of conversion when we fall into sin]; fourthly, to be brought through easy passages; fifthly, to be protected from wolves and wild beasts; sixthly, to be supported when tired and weary; sev¬enthly, if cut or maimed by passing through cliffs or rocks, to be cured; and, lastly, at the close of day, at the end of their journey, to have a home wherein they may securely rest.”

On today’s verse then, he comments:

“The fourth duty of the shepherd, made me walk in the narrow path of his commandments; and, thereby, lead the life of the just. That he effected by taking from the power and strength of the tempter, by an increase of charity, by additional sweetness, by illuminating with his justice, by enticements, by excitement, by endearment, by terror, and other innumerable ways, on which, if we would only reflect for a moment, we would never cease, during our whole lifetime, to return thanks to so sweet a Pastor; the more so, when all this has been done, not by reason of our previous merits, but "on account of his own name, that he may make known the riches of his mercy to the praise of the glory of his grace."


deduco, duxi ductum, ere 3, to lead or bring down; guide, lead, conduct
me (pronoun) me
super, with, on, upon, for, because of.
semita, ae, f., a path, way; course of life, action, conduct, or procedure.
justitia, ae, f. justice, righteousness, innocence, piety, moral integrity
propter, prep, with acc. on account of, by reason of, because of, from, for, for the sake of.
nomen, inis, n. name; God himself; the perfections of God, His glory, majesty, wisdom, power, goodness,
suus a um his, hers, its

For the next verse, go here

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