Friday, February 8, 2013

Psalm 111 vs 6: Good deeds live on...

Verse 6 of Psalm 111 reads:

In memoria æterna erit justus; ab auditione mala non timebit.
The just shall be in everlasting remembrance: he shall not fear the evil hearing.

Looking at the text

 In memória (in memory/remembrance) ætérna (forever) erit (he will be) justus (the just) = the just man will be remembered forever

memoria, ae, f  memory, remembrance.

ab (from ) auditióne (hearing/reporting/tidings) mala (evil) non timébit (he will not fear) = he will not fear from evil tidings

auditio onis, f.  anything which one hears reported, a hearing, report.
auditio mala, an evil report, evil tidings

Penetrating the meaning of the verse

The Fathers give each of the phrases in this verse a double meaning.  

First, the just person will be remembered on earth: human monuments crumble and are forgotten, but good deeds live on.  

More importantly though, the just man's name is written in the book of life, and need not fear the dread judgment of God consigning him or her to hell.  St Robert Bellamne summarises the message thus:

“The sixth happiness of the person fearing God is, that he will always live in the memory of man, not by reason of his crimes, as do Judas and Cain, Herod and Pilate, Annas and Caiphas; his memory will be a glorious one, "and all the church of the saints shall declare" his praises; and not only that, but he will be "in everlasting remembrance" among men; and his name, too, will be written in the book of life, never to be blotted out, and thus really and truly he will be "in everlasting remembrance" with the angels in heaven. "He shall not fear the evil hearing;" he will not fear the detractions and reproofs of the wicked, nor will he fear that frightful sentence of the eternal Judge, "Go ye cursed into everlasting fire."”

The psalm as a whole

Beatus vir qui timet Dominum : in mandatis ejus volet nimis
 2 Potens in terra erit semen ejus; generatio rectorum benedicetur.
3 Gloria et divitiæ in domo ejus, et justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
4 Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis : misericors, et miserator, et justus.
5 Jucundus homo qui miseretur et commodat; disponet sermones suos in judicio: quia in æternum non commovebitur. 
6 In memoria æterna erit justus; ab auditione mala non timebit. 
7 Paratum cor ejus sperare in Domino, confirmatum est cor ejus; non commovebitur donec despiciat inimicos suos.
8 Dispersit, dedit pauperibus; justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi : cornu ejus exaltabitur in gloria.
9 Peccator videbit, et irascetur; dentibus suis fremet et tabescet : desiderium peccatorum peribit.

And for notes on verse 7, continue on here.

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