Friday, September 8, 2017

Psalm 127 - verse 7 - The peace for which we strive

Utrecht Psalter, folio 30
Source: wikiwand
This final verse of None is a fitting reminder of why we embark on the spiritual ascent afresh each day.  As Cassiodorus puts it:
declares the summit and sweetness of that blessedness, that peace, in other words, the Lord Saviour, should rest upon that blessed Jerusalem, and make all things blessed which He embraces with the power of His majesty. This echoes the earlier words: Mayst thou see the good things in Jerusalem; for this is the peace which every committed person desires, groans for, sighs for; the peace for which he gladly sheds life itself.
Et vídeas fílios filiórum tuórum: * pacem super Israël.
et videas filios filiorum tuorum. Pax super Israel!

 κα δοις υος τν υἱῶν σου ερήνη π τν Ισραηλ

Et (and) vídeas (you may see) fílios (the sons/children) filiórum (of the sons) tuórum (of yours): pacem (peace) super (on) Israël.

pax, pacis,  peace, blessings, prosperity, etc.
super, prep, with ace. And abl  on, upon, over

And may you see your children's children, peace upon Israel.
And mayest thou see thy children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.
And mayest though see thy children’s children!  Peace upon Israel.
May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!
yea, that thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.
Mayest thou live to see thy children’s children, and peace resting upon Israel.
May you see your children's children On Israel, peace!

Psalm 127 ends with that most Benedictine sentiment of all, the blessing of peace.  What does peace mean in this context?  St Augustine interprets peace here to mean the heavenly Jerusalem, since the word Jerusalem literally means peace:
What sort of peace then is this? One from Jerusalem, for Jerusalem is interpreted, A vision of Peace.
He points out that in this life, we can never quite achieve this aim:
For, if in this life only, says the Apostle, we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  For what reason were the Martyrs condemned to beasts? What is that good? Can it be declared? By what means, or what tongue can tell it? Or what ears can hear it? That indeed, Neither ear has heard, nor has it entered into man's heart: only let us love, only let us grow in grace: ye see, then, that battles are not wanting, and that we fight with our lusts. We fight outwardly with unbelieving and disobedient men; we fight inwardly with carnal suggestions and perturbations: we everywhere as yet fight....
 In that happy place we will see our children, and grandchildren and more:
Thus then may thou see the good things that are of Jerusalem, and that, all your life long— and may thou see, not only your children, but, your children's children. 
Children, though, he points out, once again, should not be taken too literally, but rather means the fruits of our good works:
What means, Your children? Your works which thou here dost. Who are your children's children? The fruits of your works. Thou givest alms: these are your children: for the sake of your alms you receive everlasting life, these are your children's children. May you see your children's children; and there shall be peace upon Israel, the last words of the Psalm....
 Cassiodorus picks up this idea, and particularly stresses the fruits of those who teach the faith:
As we have already said, children are those begotten from spiritual teaching. But it would have been less joyous to have obtained spiritual sons if those instructed had not begotten in turn other children. Children's children denotes grandchildren; they can accrue to blessed individuals accustomed to instruct people by sacred preaching. Observe that he states that this is to be regarded as one of the greatest joys, for it is inevitable that winning over a faithful person brings great joy to the one who wins him, for we know that as a result he will be invested with a great reward. It is to such people that reference is made in the story of the talent which the father of the household found to his joy had been doubled." 

Psalm 127
Canticum graduum.

1 Beáti omnes, qui timent Dóminum,* qui ámbulant in viis ejus.
Blessed are all they that fear the Lord: that walk in his ways.
2  Labóres mánuum tuárum quia manducábis: * beátus es, et bene tibi erit.
2 For you shall eat the labours of your hands: blessed are you, and it shall be well with you.
3  Uxor tua sicut vitis abúndans: * in latéribus domus tuæ.
3 Your wife as a fruitful vine, on the sides of your house.
4  Fílii tui sicut novéllæ olivárum: * in circúitu mensæ tuæ.
Your children as olive plants, round about your table.
5  Ecce sic benedicétur homo, * qui timet Dóminum.
4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that fears the Lord.
6  Benedícat tibi Dóminus ex Sion: *  et vídeas bona Jerúsalem ómnibus diébus vitæ tuæ.
5 May the Lord bless you out of Sion: and may you see the good things of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
7  Et vídeas fílios filiórum tuórum: * pacem super Israël.
6 And may you see your children's children, peace upon Israel.
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.

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