Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tenebrae Psalms/29 - Psalm 14

This psalm opens with two questions: Lord, who shall dwell in your tabernacle? Or who shall rest in your holy hill?

The antiphon set for Holy Saturday provides us with the answer: Christ will dwell in the tabernacle, and will rest on the holy hill.

The Fathers interpret the tabernacle here as referring to God’s presence dwelling amongst the Israelites during their forty years in the desert and in the Temple; but also to the new tabernacle of the Eucharist instituted on Maundy Thursday for us as a source of grace.

The Church as the Tabernacle

St Augustine suggests that the psalm alludes to the refreshment offered in the midst of our battle against the devil, and St Thomas Aquinas built on this idea by suggesting that the tabernacle also represents the Church as it struggles on this earth.  The holy hill, or temple mount, St Thomas suggests, refers to the Church Triumphant in heaven.

The psalm points to Our Lord’s action as high priest, making it possible for us to follow him into heaven despite our sinful natures.  It is a salutary reminder that it is not enough to have faith, or pray: we must also render justice to others.  Yet the psalm also reminds us that our ability to act justly depends entirely on the work of God’s grace in us, not our own efforts.

Psalm 14

Psalm 14 (15): Domine quis habitabit 

Psalmus David.
A psalm for David
Dómine, quis habitábit in tabernáculo tuo? * aut quis requiéscet in monte sancto tuo?
Lord, who shall dwell in your tabernacle? Or who shall rest in your holy hill?
2  Qui ingréditur sine mácula, * et operátur justítiam
He that walks without blemish, and works justice
3  Qui lóquitur veritátem in corde suo, * qui non egit dolum in lingua sua :
He that speaks truth in his heart, who has not used deceit in his tongue
4  Nec fecit próximo suo malum, * et oppróbrium non accépit advérsus próximos suos.
Nor has done evil to his neighbour: nor taken up a reproach against his neighbours.
5  Ad níhilum dedúctus est in conspéctu ejus malígnus: * timéntes autem Dóminum gloríficat
In his sight the malignant is brought to nothing: but he glorifies them that fear the Lord.
6  Qui jurat próximo suo, et non décipit, + qui pecúniam suam non dedit ad usúram, *et múnera super innocéntem non accépit.
He that swears to his neighbour, and deceives not; he that has not put out his money to usury, nor taken bribes against the innocent:
7  Qui facit hæc: * non movébitur in ætérnum.
He that does these things, shall not be moved for ever

Tenebrae of Holy Saturday

Nocturn I: Psalms 4, 14, 15
Nocturn II: Psalms 23, 26, 29
Nocturn III: Psalms 53*, 75*, 87*
Lauds: 50*, 91, 63, [Is 38], 150

You can find some short summaries of this psalm by following this link.

And for the next part in this series go here.

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