Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Psalm 113 Verse 2

Verse 2 of Psalm 113:

Facta est Judæa sanctificátio ejus, * Israël potéstas ejus.
Judea was made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 


Facta est (it has been made) Judæa (Judah) sanctificátio (sanctuary/shrine) ejus (his)

sanctificatio, onis, f. Holiness; a holy place, shrine, sanctuary (ie the Temple)

St John Chrysostom asks what the meaning of this phrase and provides this explanation:

"A people serving him, a people dedicated to him, a people belonging to him. "Sanctuary" is properly used of the Temple, the innermost cham­ber, the Holy of Holies, as Zechariah also introduces some peti­tioners asking, "Has the sanctuary entered here, or are we to fast?" meaning the Ark and all the other things. Judah became his sanctu­ary: before this it was a place impure and accursed, but when the people returned, the city became his sanctuary - that is, it was made into a sanctuary through observation, through sacrifices, through worship, through the other rituals."

Israël (Israel) potéstas (dominion/territory) ejus (his) = Israel his strength/dominion

potestas, atis, f power, strength, might, dominion, the Powers

Again, Chrysostom explains:

"What is the meaning of Israel his dominion? Under his control, he is saying. All the world, admittedly, was un­der his control, but it was also by another relationship that this people were, since they were the beneficiaries of inspired compo­sition, he spoke to them and managed their affairs to a greater ex­tent."


St Chrysostom goes on to explain God's care for his people, working wonders for them, and directing history.  And in Christ too, we can see this Providential care for the Church and us within it:

"Hence Christ also said of "the good shepherd," not that he is honored and served, but that he "lays down his life for his sheep." This is the meaning of leadership, this the art of being a shepherd, ignoring one's own concerns and being preoccupied with those of one's people. What a physician is, after all, so is a leader - or, rather, more than a physician. While the physician, you see, procures people's welfare through skill, the leader does it through risk to himself. Christ also did this, being scourged, crucified, suffering countless torments. Hence Paul, too, said, "Christ, after all, did not please himself; rather, as it is written, The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."

In this verse, therefore, he cites two, or rather three things, plus innumerable kindnesses: his free­ing them from savages, rescuing them from a foreign land, liberat­ing them from slavery, eliminating their hardships and difficul­ties, working countless wonders; then deeming them worthy to become his sanctuary and subjects. This, you see, is no insignifi­cant form of kindness, enrolling them amongst his subjects."


Thank you Lord for the great gift of your saving grace.

Through your good grace and mercy, you have made me a member of your Church; you feed and nourish me; guide me and heal me.

Let me always be sanctified through you, and consecrate myself afresh in our cleansing waters of confession.

Let me offer myself anew, as I join myself to your sacrifice in the Mass.

Let me never turn aside from where you would lead.

Let me ever praise you O Lord for all you have done for me.


St Augustine invites us to reflect on the prophecy in the psalm, and ensure that we are Christians in truth:

"..You who know yourselves to be Israelites according to Abraham's seed, you who are of the house of Jacob, heirs according to promise, know that even you have gone forth from Egypt, since you have renounced this world; that you have gone forth from a foreign people, since by the confession of piety, you have separated yourselves from the blasphemies of the Gentiles. For it is not your tongue, but a foreign one, which knows not how to praise God, to whom you sing Allelujah. For Judah has become His sanctuary in you; for he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and by circumcision of the heart. Romans 2:28-29 Examine then your hearts, if faith has circumcised them, if confession has cleansed them; in you Judah has become His sanctuary, in you Israel has become His dominion. For He gave unto you the power to become the sons of God. John 1:12 ..."

The psalm so far...

1  In éxitu Israël de Ægýpto, * domus Jacob de pópulo bárbaro:
When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people:
Facta est Judæa sanctificátio ejus, * Israël potéstas ejus.
2 Judea was made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
3  Mare vidit, et fugit: * Jordánis convérsus est retrórsum.
3 The sea saw and fled: Jordan was turned back.
4  Montes exsultavérunt ut aríetes, * et colles sicut agni óvium.
4 The mountains skipped like rams, and the hills like the lambs of the flock.
5  Quid est tibi, mare, quod fugísti: * et tu, Jordánis, quia convérsus es retrórsum?
5 What ailed you, O you sea, that you fled: and you, O Jordan, that you were turned back?
6  Montes, exsultástis sicut aríetes, * et colles, sicut agni óvium.
6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams, and you hills, like lambs of the flock?
7  A fácie Dómini mota est terra, * a fácie Dei Jacob.
7 At the presence of the Lord the earth was moved, at the presence of the God of Jacob:
8  Qui convértit petram in stagna aquárum, * et rupem in fontes aquárum.
8 Who turned the rock into pools of water, and the stony hill into fountains of waters.

And the next set of notes on the verses can be found here.

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