Saturday, August 30, 2014

Psalm 122 verses 4-5

The final verses of Psalm 122 describe that state of mind we have all surely felt at some point, of just having had enough!

Miserére nostri, Dómine, miserére nostri: * quia multum repléti sumus despectióne:
Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri : quoniam multum repleti sumus despectione. 
λέησον μς κύριε λέησον μς τι π πολ πλήσθημεν ξουδενώσεως

Text notes: Have mercy on us, Lord (Miserere nostri Domine) is a very familiar prayer, but here in the plural, not the singular as in Psalm 50 and elsewhere, giving the appearance of a communal plea.  The RSV perhaps best conveys the sense of the second phrase: ‘for we have had more than enough of contempt’.  The Knox translation provides a nice sense of the text of the second phrase and the next verse: "we have had our fill of man’s derision. Our hearts can bear no more to be the scorn of luxury, the derision of the proud".

multus, a, um, much; many, numerous; much, great.
despectio, onis, a looking down upon; fig., a despising, contempt, shame
repleo, plevi, pletum, ere 2, to fill, sate, satisfy.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us: for we are greatly filled with contempt.
Have pity upon us, O Lord, have pity upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, be gracious to us, for we are overfilled with reproach.
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us; for we are utterly despised.

The solution to the contempt of the world, the psalmist tells us, is to pray for God's mercy.  St John Chrysostom comments:

"Do you see a contrite mind? They beg to be saved for mercy's sake -and not even mercy deservedly, but for having paid a heavy pen­alty, as Daniel too said, "We are reduced in numbers by compari­son with all the nations on earth," which is exactly what they say in their petition. We have endured the ultimate tragedy: we were driven from homeland and freedom, made slaves of savages, passed our days in reproach, overcome by hunger and hardship and thirst, spending all the time spat upon and trampled under­foot. For these reasons, then, spare us and have mercy on us." 

The cultivation of this sense of contrition, and constant petition for God's help is vital, because the world will inevitably persecute those who embark on the pilgrimage to heaven, as Bellarmine reminds us:

Because man, created to God's image, placed over all created things by him, very often even adopted by him as a son, and predestined to enjoy the kingdom of heaven, is so despised in this our pilgrim­age, not only by men and demons, and so constantly annoyed, not only by the aforesaid, but even by animals, even to the minut­est of them, and even by the very elements, that the Prophet could say with the greatest truth, not only that we are despised, but that we are "greatly filled with contempt." For what is there that does not look down upon man, even on the just and the holy, in this valley of tears? However, the contempt principally meant by the Prophet here is that which the just suffer from the unjust, and the good from the bad; because most true and universal is that expression of the apostle, "And all who live piously in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution;" as well as those words of the Lord, "If you had been of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you." This is easily understood; for good and evil, being essentially opposed to each other, they cannot possibly be at peace. And, as the just are patient and mild, and have learned of their Master to turn the other cheek to him who strikes on one, and thus to make no resistance to injuries, they are, in consequence, proudly despised, harassed, and ridiculed by the wicked.

Quia multum repléta est ánima nostra: * oppróbrium abundántibus, et despéctio supérbis.
quia multum repleta est anima nostra derisione abundantium et despectione superborum.
Multum repleta est anima nostra obprobrio abundantium, et despectione superborum.
π πλεον πλήσθη  ψυχ μν τ νειδος τος εθηνοσιν κα  ξουδένωσις τος περηφάνοις

Text notes: The first phrase repeats the sentiment of the previous verse.  The second phrase is rather ambiguous.  If one assumes a verb in the present tense, sumus, it could be either ‘we are filled with reproaches from the proud and carefree’, a line followed by the Diurnal, RSV and Coverdale translations, and adopted by the Neo-Vulgate.  But the Greek implies it is a curse, so the verb would be ‘sit’, the line taken by the Douay-Rheims.  Boylan translates it as ‘let there be contempt for the wealthy, and mockery for the proud’. The second interpretation seems a more satisfactory way of ending the psalm!

quia, conj. for, because, that. truly, surely, indeed;  nisi quia, unless, if not.
anima, ae soul
opprobrium, ii, n. a reproach, taunt, byword; an object of scorn, mockery, derision; a disgrace.
abundantia, ae, /.  greatness, abundance; prosperity, abundance.
superbus, a, um raising one's self above others, proud, haughty, arrogant, insolent.

 For our soul is greatly filled: we are a reproach to the rich, and contempt to the proud
Yea, our soul has been exceedingly filled with it: let the reproach be to them that are at ease, and contempt to the proud.
We are overfilled with the taunts of the rich, and with the contempt of the proud.
Too long our soul has been sated with the scorn of those who are at ease, the contempt of the proud.
Our soul is filled with the scornful reproof of the wealthy, and with the despitefulness of the proud.

St John Chrysostom provides a number of different versions of the text which perhaps help provide a better sense of it:

"...The reproach of the prosper­ous, the scorn of the arrogant. A different version, "Our soul has had its share of many things, the mockery of the prosperous, the dis­paragement of the arrogant;" another, "the sneering of the over­bearing;" another, "of reproach of those who are prosperous," whereas the Septuagint says something else, "Let these things change in their case, and let them have a taste of their actions, and their conceit and gall be checked.

Disasters, he argues, a meant as a remedy for us:

"In fact, you could often see this happening: God is accustomed to do this without fail, repress­ing those who have fallen victim to conceit and bringing down those whose passions are out of control so as to remove them from the way leading to evil. Nothing, after all, is worse than arrogance: it is the reason for trials and tribulations, a body subject to death, and the many difficult situations; it is the reason for ailments and illnesses, so that many curbs may be applied to the soul easily car­ried away and lifted up to self-importance. Consequently, do not panic if temptation comes, dearly beloved; rather, recall the words of the inspired author, "It was good for me that you humbled me so that I might learn your decrees," accept disaster as a medicine, use temptation properly, and you will suc­ceed in attaining greater relief." 

Psalm 122 - Ad te levavi
Canticum graduum

1  Ad te levávi óculos meos, * qui hábitas in cælis.
To you have I lifted up my eyes, who dwell in heaven.
2  Ecce sicut óculi servórum, * in mánibus dominórum suórum.
2 Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters,
3  Sicut óculi ancíllæ in mánibus dóminæ suæ: * ita óculi nostri ad Dóminum, Deum nostrum, donec misereátur nostri.
As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress: so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us.
4  Miserére nostri, Dómine, miserére nostri: * quia multum repléti sumus despectióne:
3 Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us: for we are greatly filled with contempt.
5  Quia multum repléta est ánima nostra: * oppróbrium abundántibus, et despéctio supérbis.
4 For our soul is greatly filled: we are a reproach to the rich, and contempt to the proud

And for notes on Psalm 123, continue on here.

No comments:

Post a Comment