Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Lord has done great things for us - Psalm 125 v 3-4 (Gradual Psalm No 7/4)

The previous spoke of our proper Easter joy; this one builds on it by emphasising that  God's great work of redemption was visible not just to the Jews of the time, but to the Gentiles as well, many of whom converted.  And truth has a greater impact when outsiders can witness to it.

Tunc dicent inter gentes: * magnificávit Dóminus fácere cum eis.
tunc dicent in gentibus,  Magnificauit Dominus facere cum istis. 

τότε ροσιν ν τος θνεσιν μεγάλυνεν κύριος το ποισαι μετ' ατν

Text notes:  A number of the commentators suggest that ‘dicent’ should be translated here as ‘men were saying’ or ‘it is said’.  ‘Magnificare facere’ is a particular construction taken over from the Hebrew meaning ‘has done great things’.

gens, gentis, sing., people, nation, the chosen people, the Israelites; pl the heathen, the gentiles,
magnifico, avi, atum, are to praise, glorify, extol, magnify

Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord has done great things for them.
then would they say among the Gentiles The Lord has done great things among them.
The heathens themselves said: "What marvels the Lord worked for them!"
Then was it said among the heathens, The Lord hath done great things for them
then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
Then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.
Among the heathen themselves it was said, What favour the Lord has shewn them!

Cassiodorus explains the reasons for emphasising the attention of the Gentiles:
The praise proclaimed by enemies is unambiguous; there is great weight of truth when a person known to have opposing senti­ments gives favourable testimony. Note quite carefully that he does not say: "The Gentiles," but among the Gentiles. At the coming of the Lord not all Gentiles believed, but among them were some who could have uttered such words when pricked at heart. So when they saw religion flourishing among the Christian people, they attained good understanding, and they proclaimed that the Lord was truly with such people, for they showed zeal for an upright conscience, and did not desire to besmirch themselves with any superstition. 
Since they saw that the Christians were also exercising virtues, they said: "The Lord has decided to do great things with them," for they saw that the Christians through their prayers were having their requests fulfilled.
The second half of the verse is echoed in the Magnificat, and goes to the wonder of what has happened, as St John Chrysostom explains:
And observe: they did not say, "He saved us," nor "He freed us," but He excelled himself, wanting to bring out through the term "excelling" the baffling character of the marvel...  word of them circulated everywhere, making clear to every­one God's lovingkindness: the wonders worked for them were marvellous and larger than life. 
As St Augustine tells us, we have received reward well beyond any possible merit or expectation:
It is the fact that the Lord dealt nobly with us, beyond our merits and our expectations, when he brought us from a miser­able captivity to this our sweetest native land; and thus "we are become joyful;" we who had hitherto been groaning in sorrow, captives as we were.
Magnificávit Dóminus fácere nobíscum: * facti sumus lætántes.

μεγάλυνεν κύριος το ποισαι μεθ' μν γενήθημεν εφραινόμενοι

laetor, atus sum, ari, (laetus), to rejoice, be joyful, take delight in

The Lord has done great things for us; we have become joyful.
The Lord has done great things for us, we became joyful.
What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
Yes the Lord hath done great things for us, and we were filled with joy.
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
Yea, the Lord hath done great things for us already, whereof we rejoice.
Favour indeed the Lord has shewn us, and our hearts are rejoiced.

St Augustine comments: 
In the whole world our redemption is received; Amen is answered. The dwellers in Jerusalem, therefore, captive, destined to return, pilgrims, sighing for their country, speak thus among the heathen. What do they say? The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we rejoice. Have they done anything for themselves? They have done ill with themselves, for they have sold themselves under sin. The Redeemer came, and did the good things for them.

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 in this series is on Psalm 125 verse 5.

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