Sunday, December 31, 2017

Psalm 2 - verse 7: This day have I begotten you

Image result for silver star marking jesus' birthplace

Continuing this mini-series on Psalm 2, today a look at the verse used at Midnight Mass of Christmas.

Dóminus dixit ad me: * fílius meus es tu, ego hódie génui te.
διαγγέλλων τὸ πρόσταγμα κυρίου κύριος 
εἶπεν πρός με υἱός μου εἶ σύ ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε

Dóminus (the Lord) dixit (he said) ad (to) me: * fílius (the son) meus (my) es (you are) tu (you), ego (I) hódie (today) génui (I have begotten) te (you).

dico, dixi, dictum, ere 3, to say, speak;  to sing;  in the sense of to think, plan, desire; to praise.
filius, ii, m. a son. Of the Son of God;Of the angels; Of men: children, descendants.. ilii alieni, strangers.
hodie, adv.  today.
gigno, genui, genitum, ere 3 to beget. 

The Lord said to me: you are my son, this day I have begotten you.
the Lord said to me, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee.
The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten Thee.
He said to me, "You are my son, today I have begotten you.
whereof the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
how he told me, Thou art my son; I have begotten thee this day.
The Lord said to me: "You are my Son. It is I who have begotten you this day.

This verse is specifically applied to Christ by Scripture in Acts 13:
And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, `Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.' And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he spoke in this way, `I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.' (32-34)
It is important, though, to interpret this attribution correctly, in line with the thinking of the Church, for verse 7 of Psalm 2 can be applied to the three 'generations' of Christ: the eternal generation of the Son from the Father; the Incarnation, and his re-birth in the Resurrection.

Cassiororus perhaps provides the clearest explanation for its interpretation in relation to the eternal generation of the three Divine persons:
The Father had been able to designate and implant Him as Creator of the world.  By saying this day, He revealed that their majesty was co-external; with God, today has no beginning and is brought to no end.  He was not then, He will not be, but He always abides, always is, and the expression this day means any time you mention.  So in Genesis He bade Moses say of himself: Go and say to the children of Israel, I am who am.  He who is hath sent me to you.  So he wanted eternity to be denoted by the present tense.  This use of present time (‘today’) is acknowledged to be peculiar to the divine Scriptures in this sense of perpetuity.
The second meaning though, reflected in the Churches uses of this verse as the Introit in the Midnight Mass of Christmas, is in relation to the nativity:
Have I begotten thee signifies the nativity, of which Isaiah wrote: Who shall declare his generation?  He is Light from light, Almighty from Almighty, true God from true God, from whom and in whom are all things. (Cassiodorus)
 St Robert Bellarmine adds the third possible interpretation, namely in relation to the Resurrection, a reading taken up by St Aloysius Liguori and mentioned also in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
...The Psalter gives us the key to prayer in Christ. In the "today" of the Resurrection the Father says: "You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession." [Ps 2:7-8; cf. Acts 13:33] 

Psalm 2: Quare fremuérunt Gentes
Douay Rheims
Quare fremuérunt Gentes: * et pópuli meditáti sunt inánia?
Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?
2  Astitérunt reges terræ, et príncipes convenérunt in unum * advérsus Dóminum, et advérsus Christum ejus.
The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.
3  Dirumpámus víncula eórum: * et projiciámus a nobis jugum ipsórum.
Let us break their bonds asunder: and let us cast away their yoke from us.
 4. Qui hábitat in cælis, irridébit eos: * et Dóminus subsannábit eos.
He that dwells in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them.
5  Tunc loquétur ad eos in ira sua, * et in furóre suo conturbábit eos.
Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his rage.
6  Ego autem constitútus sum Rex ab eo super Sion montem sanctum ejus, * prædicans præcéptum ejus.
But I am appointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.
7  Dóminus dixit ad me: * Fílius meus es tu, ego hódie génui te.
The Lord has said to me: You are my son, this day have I begotten you.
8  Póstula a me, et dábo tibi Gentes hereditátem tuam, * et possessiónem tuam términos terræ.
Ask of me, and I will give you the Gentiles for your inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for your possession
9  Reges eos in virga férrea, * et tamquam vas fíguli confrínges eos.
You shall rule them with a rod of iron, and shall break them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10  Et nunc, reges, intellígite: * erudímini, qui judicátis terram.
And now, O you kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.
11  Servíte Dómino in timóre: * et exsultáte ei cum   tremóre.
Serve the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.
12  Apprehéndite disciplínam, nequándo irascátur Dóminus, * et pereátis de via justa.
Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way.
13  Cum exárserit in brevi ira ejus: * beáti omnes qui confídunt in eo.
When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.

And you can find the next set of notes on the psalm here.

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