Saturday, October 4, 2014

Psalm 32 v20-22

The final verses of  Psalm 32 provide reassurance for us of God's help and protection.

Anima nostra sústinet Dóminum: * quóniam adjútor et protéctor noster est.
Anima nostra expectauit Dominum: auxilium nostrum et clipeus noster est.

ἡ ψυχὴ ἡμῶν ὑπομένει τῷ κυρίῳ ὅτι βοηθὸς καὶ ὑπερασπιστὴς ἡμῶν ἐστιν 

Note that the Hebrew (and translations based on it) use the word shield, rather than protector.  This may seem like a minor nuance in meaning, but in fact reflects a general divide between the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Septuagint, where the latter often promotes the idea of God as the one who lifts or holds us up, sustains and receives us, rather than the the idea of a shield (cf for example Psalm 3).

Our soul waits for the Lord: for he is our helper and protector.
Our soul waits on the Lord; for he is our helper and defender. 
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield.
Patiently we wait for the Lord’s help; he is our strength and our shield;
Our soul hath patiently tarried for the Lord; for he is our help and our shield.
Our soul is waiting for the Lord. The Lord is our help and our shield.

Cassiodorus provides a wonderful explanation of the virtue of patience:

"The psalmists word sustinet reflects the patience of the Christian so that the just enticed by future rewards may persevere in constancy of mind....Patience is what makes glorious martyrs, what guards the blessings of our faith, what conquers all adversity not by wrestling but by enduring, not by grumbling but by giving thanks.  Patience represses the extravagance which beguiles us.  It overcomes hot anger, it removes the envy which ravages the human race, it makes men gentle, it smiles becomingly on the kind, and it orders men who are cleansed to attain the rewards that are to come.  Patience wipes away the dregs of all pleasure, patience makes souls pure.  Through patience we soldier for Christ, through it we conquer the devil, through it we blessedly attain the kingdom of heaven.....He is our Helper when we try to reach him with the aid of grace, our Protector when we confront the enemy...."

Quia in eo lætábitur cor nostrum: * et in nómine sancto ejus sperávimus.

et in ipso laetabitur cor nostrum et in nomine sancto eius speravimus
In ipso enim laetabitur cor nostrum, quia in nomine sancto eius sperauimus.

ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ εὐφρανθήσεται ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν καὶ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τῷ ἁγίῳ αὐτοῦ ἠλπίσαμεν

For in him our heart shall rejoice: and in his holy name we have trusted.
For our heart shall rejoice in him, and we have hoped in his holy name.
For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have hoped in his holy Name.
In him do our hearts find joy. We trust in his holy name.

Trust in God brings joy, St Augustine explains:

"For our heart shall rejoice in Him: for not in ourselves, wherein without Him there is great need; but in Himself shall our heart rejoice. And we have trusted in His holy Name; and therefore have we trusted that we shall come to God, because unto us absent has He sent, through faith, His own Name."
Fiat misericórdia tua, Dómine, super nos: * quemádmodum sperávimus in te.

fiat Domine misericordia tua super nos sicut speravimus in te.
Sit misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, sicut expectauimus te.

γένοιτο τὸ ἔλεός σου κύριε ἐ{F'} ἡμᾶς καθάπερ ἠλπίσαμεν ἐπὶ σέ

Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in you.
Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in thee.
Let thy merciful kindness, O Lord, be upon us, like as we do put our trust in thee.
May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

The Fathers and Theologians saw this verse as referring to the Incarnation.  Cassiodorus, for example, commented:

"With these words he was longing for the fulfilment of the Lord's incarnation, which he eagerly awaited with burning spirit...."

Similarly, St Thomas Aquinas notes that this verse alludes to the effect of prayer:

"...for prayer is the interpreter of hope, and thus follows hope. Now whatever particular benefit exists from divine mercy, two especially are of this. First, is the benefit of the incarnation: 'Through the bowels of the mercy of our God' (Luke 1:78), etc. 'Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us' (Psalm 32:22), that you may receive the flesh and liberate us, 'upon us' meaning 'beyond our merit'. Salvation is the other benefit, and this is beyond us: 'Not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us' (Titus 3:5). 'As we have hoped in thee' (Psalm 32:22), because 'no one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded' (Sirach 2:10)."

Psalm 32: Exsultáte, justi in Dómino
Psalmus David.
A psalm for David.
1 Exsultáte, justi in Dómino: * rectos decet collaudátio.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you just: praise becomes the upright.
2  Confitémini Dómino in cíthara: * in psaltério decem chordárum psállite illi.
2 Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings
3  Cantáte ei cánticum novum: * bene psállite ei in vociferatióne.
3 Sing to him a new canticle, sing well unto him with a loud noise.
4  Quia rectum est verbum Dómini, * et ómnia ópera ejus in fide.
4 For the word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done with faithfulness.
5  Díligit misericórdiam et judícium: * misericórdia Dómini plena est terra.
5 He loves mercy and judgment; the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.
6 Verbo Dómini cæli firmáti sunt: * et spíritu oris ejus omnis virtus eórum.
6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the spirit of his mouth:
7  Cóngregans sicut in utre aquas maris: * ponens in thesáuris abyssos.
7 Gathering together the waters of the sea, as in a vessel; laying up the depths in storehouses.
8  Tímeat Dóminum omnis terra: * ab eo autem commoveántur omnes inhabitántes orbem.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord, and let all the inhabitants of the world be in awe of him.
9  Quóniam ipse dixit, et facta sunt: * ipse mandávit, et creáta sunt.
9 For he spoke and they were made: he commanded and they were created.
10  Dóminus díssipat consília Géntium: * réprobat autem cogitatiónes populórum et réprobat consília príncipum.
10 The Lord brings to nought the counsels of nations; and he rejects the devices of people, and casts away the counsels of princes.
11  Consílium autem Dómini in ætérnum manet: * cogitatiónes cordis ejus in generatióne et generatiónem.
11 But the counsel of the Lord stands for ever: the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

12 Beáta gens, cujus est Dóminus, Deus ejus: * pópulus, quem elégit in hereditátem sibi.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: the people whom he has chosen for his inheritance.
13  De cælo respéxit Dóminus: * vidit omnes fílios hóminum.
13 The Lord has looked from heaven: he has beheld all the sons of men.
14  De præparáto habitáculo suo * respéxit super omnes, qui hábitant terram.
14 From his habitation which he has prepared, he has looked upon all that dwell on the earth.
15  Qui finxit sigillátim corda eórum: * qui intélligit ómnia ópera eórum.
15 He who has made the hearts of every one of them: who understands all their works.
16  Non salvátur rex per multam virtútem: * et gigas non salvábitur in multitúdine virtútis suæ.
16 The king is not saved by a great army: nor shall the giant be saved by his own great strength.
17  Fallax equus ad salútem: * in abundántia autem virtútis suæ non salvábitur.
17 Vain is the horse for safety: neither shall he be saved by the abundance of his strength.
18 Ecce óculi Dómini super metuéntes eum: * et in eis, qui sperant super misericórdia ejus :
18 Behold the eyes of the Lord are on them that fear him: and on them that hope in his mercy.
19  Ut éruat a morte ánimas eórum: * et alat eos in fame.
19 To deliver their souls from death; and feed them in famine.
20  Anima nostra sústinet Dóminum: * quóniam adjútor et protéctor noster est.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord: for he is our helper and protector.
21  Quia in eo lætábitur cor nostrum: * et in nómine sancto ejus sperávimus.
21 For in him our heart shall rejoice: and in his holy name we have trusted.
22  Fiat misericórdia tua, Dómine, super nos: * quemádmodum sperávimus in te.
22 Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in you.

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