Sunday, November 25, 2012

Psalm 110 vs 10: A liturgy of gratitude

The previous verse of Psalm 110 spoke of the importance of cultivating a healthy fear of the Lord.  

This final verse of the psalm verse points to the importance of putting this right attitude into action, providing a nice link to the next psalm of Vespers: Psalm 110 focuses on God's wonderful works; Psalm 111 shifts the emphasis to man's participation in the divine through good works.  

Here is the verse:

Intelléctus bonus ómnibus faciéntibus eum: * laudátio ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continues for ever and ever


The Douay-Rheims renders this verse ‘A good understanding to all that do it’.  Brenton’s translation from the Septuagint, however, is rather clearer, making it ‘And all that act accordingly have a good understanding’.  

The sense is, all who practice fear of the Lord acquire a good understanding or insight of the good things God gives us, such as the Eucharist.

intellectus, us, m.  understanding, insight.
bonus, a, um, good; pleasant; upright  good things, possessions, prosperity
omnis, e, all, each, every; subst., all men, all things, everything
facio, feci, factum, ere 3,  to make, do, cause, bring to pass

laudátio (the praise) ejus (his) manet (continues) in sæculum sæculi (forever and ever).

This good understanding in turn generates a response of a continuous prayer of praise.  

laudatio, onis, f. praise.
maneo, mansi, mansum, ere 2 to abide, remain, continue, endure


The psalm opened with a commitment to praising God for his great works, and it ends with an explanation of just why we should praise God.  It teaches that our faith is not just a passive thing, a mere belief, but rather must translate into action to be real.  St John Chrysostom comments:

Faith, you see, is not sufficient if a way of life in keep­ing with faith is not forthcoming.’

Just as God acts, manifesting himself in his great works, so too must we.


Deepen our faith, O Lord, that we may always see your goodness, and thereby act rightly.

Help us to pray ceaselessly, that we may praise you thus in heaven.


Pope Benedict comments:

“And if the very first word of the hymn is a word of thanksgiving, the last word is a word of praise: just as the Lord's saving justice "[stands] firm for ever" (v. 3), the gratitude of the praying person knows no bounds and re-echoes in his ceaseless prayer (cf. v. 10). To sum up, the Psalm invites us, lastly, to discover the many good things that the Lord gives us every day. We more readily perceive the negative aspects of our lives. The Psalm invites us also to see the positive things, the many gifts we receive, and thus to discover gratitude, for only in a grateful heart can the great liturgy of gratitude be celebrated: the Eucharist.”

Psalm 110

Here is the whole psalm again for reference purposes.

Confitébor tibi, Dómine, in toto corde meo: * in consílio justórum, et congregatióne.
I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; in the council of the just, and in the congregation.

Magna ópera Dómini: * exquisíta in omnes voluntátes ejus.
Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all his wills.

Conféssio et magnificéntia opus ejus: * et justítia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
His work is praise and magnificence: and his justice continues for ever and ever.

Memóriam fecit mirabílium suórum, miséricors et miserátor Dóminus: * escam dedit timéntibus se.
 He has made a remembrance of his wonderful works, being a merciful and gracious Lord: He has given food to them that fear him.

Memor erit in sæculum testaménti sui: * virtútem óperum suórum annuntiábit pópulo suo:
He will be mindful for ever of his covenant:  He will show forth to his people the power of his works.

Ut det illis hereditátem géntium: * ópera mánuum ejus véritas, et judícium.
That he may give them the inheritance of the Gentiles: the works of his hands are truth and judgment.

Fidélia ómnia mandáta ejus: confirmáta in sæculum sæculi, * facta in veritáte et æquitáte. All his commandments are faithful: confirmed for ever and ever, made in truth and equity.

Redemptiónem misit pópulo suo: * mandávit in ætérnum testaméntum suum.
He has sent redemption to his people: he has commanded his covenant for ever.

Sanctum, et terríbile nomen ejus: * inítium sapiéntiæ timor Dómini.
Holy and terrible is his name: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Intelléctus bonus ómnibus faciéntibus eum: * laudátio ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continues for ever and ever.

This is the final part in this series on Psalm 110.  But for a look at the next psalm of Sunday Vespers, click on the link here.

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