Monday, September 12, 2016

Psalm 32 and the Incarnation

 Ms. Codex 1058, U Penn Books and Manuscripts

This week I plan to present to you some extracts from the Fathers and Theologians on the opening psalms of Matins each day, starting with Monday, which is Psalm 32.

Psalm 32: Monday Matins I, 1
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.

St Augustine

St Augustine does not provide a general introduction to this psalm, but his interpretation of the opening verses perhaps explains why it might seem particularly suitable to start a day:
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous: rejoice, O you righteous, not in yourselves, for that is not safe; but in the Lord. For praise is comely to the upright: these praise the Lord, who submit themselves unto the Lord; for else they are distorted and perverse.
Praise the Lord with harp: praise the Lord, presenting unto Him your bodies a living sacrifice. 
Sing unto Him with the psaltery for ten strings: let your members be servants to the love of God, and of your neighbour, in which are kept both the three and the seven commandments.
 Sing unto Him a new song: sing unto Him a song of the grace of faith.
 Sing skilfully unto Him with jubilation: sing skillfully unto Him with rejoicing.
 For the Word of the Lord is right, to make you that which of yourselves ye cannot be. 
St Basil

St Basil provides a short meditation on the necessity of joy:
The voice of exultation is familiar in the Scripture, betokening a very bright and happy state of soul in those  deserving of happiness. 'Rejoice therefore, in the Lord,  O ye just not when the interests of your home are flourishing,  not when you are in good health of body, not when your fields are filled with all sorts of fruits, but, when you have the Lord such immeasurable Beauty, Goodness, Wisdom. 
Let the joy that is in Him suffice for you. He who exults with joy and happiness in anything that is much desired, seems thus to rejoice in Him. Therefore, Scripture urges the just to be aware of their dignity, because they have been considered worthy to be the servants of so great a Master, and to glory in His service with inexpressible joy and exultation, since the heart is, as it were, bounding with ecstasy of love of the good. If at any time a light, for example, falling upon your heart, produced a continuous thought of God and illumined your soul, so that you loved God and despised the world and all things corporeal, understand from that faint and brief resemblance the whole state of the just, who are enjoying God steadily and uninterruptedly. 
At some rare times by the dispensation of God that transport of joy seizes you in order that through a little taste He may remind you of what you have been deprived. But, for the just man the divine and heavenly joy is lasting, since the Holy Spirit dwells in him once for all. 'But the first fruit of the Spirit is: charity, joy, peace.'
St Thomas Aquinas:
In the preceding Psalm, the Psalmist has treated his justification, in this he treats the dignity of the just, concerning which he does two things. First, he exhorts just persons to spiritual praise. Second, he states their worth: 'Blessed is the nation' (Psalm 32:12).
Regarding the exhortation, he first urges spiritual delight and praise, and then discusses their ground: 'Praise becometh the upright' (Psalm 32:1). Again regarding delight and praise, he first urges them, second he discusses the means: 'Give praise to the Lord on the harp,' etc. (Psalm 32:2). 
Again regarding the first [viz., urging to delight and praise] he does two things. He makes the exhortation, and then provides the reason: 'Praise becometh the upright' (Psalm 31:1); for he had said, 'I said I will confess...and thou hast forgiven... For this shall every one that is holy pray', etc. (Psalm 31:5-6). Wherefore, 'ye just', as you are justified, 'rejoice in the Lord' (Psalm 31:11), not the world. Otherwise you are not just, for he is not just who does not rejoice in justice. Again, God himself is just, and he himself is justice: 'The Lord is just' (Psalm 10:8). So 'be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye just,' (Psalm 31:11). -- 'But I will rejoice in the Lord: and I will joy in God my Jesus' (Habakkuk 3:18).
St Alphonsus Liguori:
The psalmist exhorts the just to praise the Lord, to fear his judgments, and to confide in his mercy.

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