Friday, March 31, 2017

Convert us O Lord - Psalm 125 v5 (Gradual Psalm No 7/5)

Convérte, Dómine, captivitátem nostram, * sicut torrens in austro.
Conuerte, Domine, captiuitatem nostram,  sicut riuum in austro. 

πίστρεψον κύριε τν αχμαλωσίαν μν ς χειμάρρους ν τ νότ

Text notes: The second phrase is a proverbial allusion to the sudden change from dried up wadies in summer to overflowing rivers and streams in winter, ie Converte Domine captivitatem nostram, sicut torrens in Austro = Change, 0 Lord, our lot, like the wady in the south-land.

converto, verti, versum, ere 3,  to turn, change, alter, bring back, quicken, refresh,restore,  convert, turn from sin
torrens, entis, m.  a brook, stream, torrent
Auster, stri, m.,  the south wind;, the south.

Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south.
Turn, O Lord, our captivity, as the steams in the south.
Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage as streams in dry land.
Restore again our fortunes O Lord as the torrent in the south
Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb!
Turn our captivity, O Lord, as the rivers in the south.
Deliver us, Lord, from our bondage; our withered hopes, Lord, like some desert water-course renew

A traditionalist's prayer for the restoration of the Church?!

There are two main lines of interpretation in relation to this verse.  The first is to see it as a call on the part of those who have already returned to God praying for the return of the rest of the people, just as there were two waves of return from Babylon to Jerusalem, under Ezra and Nehemiah respectively.

St Robert Bellarmine, for example, suggested:
As all the captives did not come home together—for some came, in the first instance, with Esdras, and then another party with Nehemias — the first party, then, pray to God for the return of all the captives, and they take up the simile of a torrent that is wont to run with great force and violence in a southerly gale; hence they say, "Turn again, O Lord, our captivity." Bring back our captives, the majority of whom are still in the land of the stranger; and bring them back at once, as quickly "as a stream in the south;" for when the wind blows from the south, the rain falls, the streams and the rivers rise, and the great flood rolls rapidly on to the ocean, and that without delay or obstruction. 
If the exiles, on their return, prayed to God so earnestly, what amount of earnestness will not be required of us, still exiles as we are? For though some have got home, have  come to their country, yet many are still in exile, on the not so are quite reconciled to the captivity, and attached to the things of this world that they don't bestow even a thought on their country; it was, then, absolutely necessary that the Lord, with all the violence of a torrent, when the south wind blows, should force them and compel them to ascend. 
In conclusion, then, the former, as well as the latter, are, to a certain extent, captives; for "all expect that every creature shall be deliv­ered from the servitude of corruption;" and even the blessed in heaven included. It is for this perfect liberty of the children of God, of which St. Paul treats in Rom. 8, that we most properly pray when we say, "Turn again our captivity as a stream in the south." The south means the south wind that usually preceded rain, and caused the streams and rivers to fill and run with rapidity; most expressive of the tide of captives returning back again in crowds and in haste to their beloved country.
And for our own conversion

The second line of interpretation focuses on the verses application to ourselves.  Cassiodorus, for example says: 
Now that they have proclaimed redemption brought by the Lord's coming, the faithful people reach the second section, entreating that their sins be again pardoned, for as Scripture says: The just man is bis own accuser at the beginning of his speech? and again: First tell of your iniquities that you may justify yourself. So rightly they both rejoiced at the general pardon and prayed that they too be granted indulgence. 
There follows a beautiful comparison: As a torrent in the south wind. The south is a warm wind which by the force of its exhalation looses waters which are fast bound with cold, and unleashes a rushing torrent through the heat of its breath. In the same way, sins held fast by the cold of death (for they have no life in them) are loosed by the warmth of heavenly mercy, and swiftly depart like a raging torrent. To grasp the fullness of the sense we must say: "Transform our captivity, Lord, as a torrent in the south wind is transformed into running water."
 Psalm 125 (126)
Canticum graduum.

 In converténdo Dóminus captivitátem Sion: * facti sumus sicut consoláti:
When the Lord brought back the captivity of Sion, we became like men comforted.
2  Tunc replétum est gáudio os nostrum: * et lingua nostra exsultatióne
2 Then was our mouth filled with gladness; and our tongue with joy.
3  Tunc dicent inter Gentes: * Magnificávit Dóminus fácere cum eis.
Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord has done great things for them.
4  Magnificávit Dóminus fácere nobíscum: * facti sumus lætántes.
3 The Lord has done great things for us; we have become joyful.
5  Convérte, Dómine, captivitátem nostram, * sicut torrens in austro.
4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south.
6  Qui séminant in lácrimis, * in exsultatióne metent.
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

7  Eúntes ibant et flebant, * mitténtes sémina sua.
6 Going they went and wept, casting their seeds.
8  Veniéntes autem vénient cum exsultatióne, * portántes manípulos suos.
7 But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

And the next part of this series, covering verse 6, can be found here.

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