Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Psalms with Pope Benedict: Psalm 3 (v8) - Salvation is from the Lord

In this post we have reached the last verse of Psalm 3. The second last verse dealt with the fate of God and the psalmist’s enemies. This verse contrasts that fate with the blessing that will come on God’s people.

Psalm 3

Here is the full text of the psalm, with today's verse highlighted:

Dómine quid multiplicáti sunt qui tríbulant me? * multi insúrgunt advérsum me.
Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? many are they who rise up against me.

Multi dicunt ánimæ meæ: * Non est salus ipsi in Deo ejus.
Many say to my soul: There is no salvation for him in his God.

Tu autem, Dómine, suscéptor meus es, * glória mea, et exáltans caput meum.
But thou, O Lord art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head.

Voce mea ad Dóminum clamávi: * et exaudívit me de monte sancto suo.
I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and he hath heard me from his holy hill.

Ego dormívi, et soporátus sum: * et exsurréxi, quia Dóminus suscépit me.
I have slept and taken my rest: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me

Non timébo míllia pópuli circumdántis me: * exsúrge, Dómine, salvum me fac, Deus meus.
I will not fear thousands of the people, surrounding me: arise, O Lord; save me, O my God.

Quóniam tu percussísti omnes adversántes mihi sine causa: * dentes peccatórum contrivísti.
For thou hast struck all them who are my adversaries without cause: thou hast broken the teeth of sinners.

Dómini est salus: * et super pópulum tuum benedíctio tua.
Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon thy people.

Verse 8: Domini est salus

First a look at the Latin:

Dómini (of the Lord) est (it is) salus (salvation/deliverance) = Salvation is of the Lord = It is the Lord who gives salvation/Salvation comes from the Lord

et (and) super (upon) pópulum (the people) tuum (your) benedíctio (blessing) tua (your) = ‘and your blessing [is] upon your people’, or perhaps, ‘let your blessings be upon your people’

The psalm concludes its prayer then, as Pope Benedict XVI points out ‘with a sentence with liturgical connotations that celebrates the God of life in gratitude and praise’. St Augustine comments:

“In one sentence the Psalmist has enjoined men what to believe, and has prayed for believers. For when it is said, Salvation is of the Lord, the words are addressed to men. Nor does it follow, And upon Your people be Your blessing, in such wise as that the whole is spoken to men, but there is a change into prayer addressed to God Himself, for the very people to whom it was said, Salvation is of the Lord. What else then does he say but this? Let no man presume on himself, seeing that it is of the Lord to save from the death of sin; for, Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. But bless, O Lord, Your people, who look for salvation from You.” (Enarrations on the Psalms)

The message of Psalm 3

And to conclude this look at the psalm, it is perhaps worth going back to Pope Benedict’s conclusion to his catechesis on it:

“Dear brothers and sisters, Psalm 3 has presented us with a supplication full of trust and consolation. In praying this Psalm, we can make our own the sentiments of the Psalmist, a figure of the righteous person persecuted, who finds his fulfilment in Jesus.

In sorrow, in danger, in the bitterness of misunderstanding and offence the words of the Psalm open our hearts to the comforting certainty of faith. God is always close — even in difficulties, in problems, in the darkness of life — he listens and saves in his own way.

However it is necessary to recognize his presence and accept his ways, as did David in his humiliating flight from his son, Absalom; as did the just man who is persecuted in the Book of Wisdom and, ultimately and completely, as did the Lord Jesus on Golgotha. And when, in the eyes of the wicked, God does not seem to intervene and the Son dies, it is then that the true glory and the definitive realization of salvation is manifest to all believers.

May the Lord give us faith, may he come to our aid in our weakness and make us capable of believing and praying in every anxiety, in the sorrowful nights of doubt and the long days of sorrow, abandoning ourselves with trust to him, who is our “shield” and our “glory”.”

Next psalm

Tomorrow I’ll provide some Latin learning hints on the psalm, linked to Unit 2 of the Simplicissimus reading Latin course (which looks at nouns).

If you have any feedback on the format or content of these posts, do let me know. For example, do you prefer the phrase by phrase translation approach, is the word by word format more helpful? Would you like more alternative translations to be provided? More commentary from the Fathers (or me)? More or less detailed vocab lists? Are the Latin learning hints of any use or not?


salus, utis, the act of helping, delivering from danger; victory, temporal salvation; help, deliverance
super, with, on, upon, for, because of.
populus, i, ., people. the chosen people; a heathen nation
benedictio, onis, /. a blessing.

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