Monday, April 15, 2019

Psalm 30 v3: Where is our home of refuge?

Today's verse is a plea applicable to any Christian:

Esto mihi in Deum protectórem,
et in domum refúgii:
ut salvum me fácias.
Be unto me a God, a protector,
and a house of refuge,
to save me.

Looking at the Latin

The key vocabulary for the Vulgate version of the Verse is:

protector, oris, m. a protector, defender; a shield, buckler; a stronghold, fortress; a refuge, deliverer, etc
domus, us,. a house, structure; a house, abode, dwelling place; Temple; ;a race, people, nation; the priesthood.
refugium, ii, n.  a refuge, a place of refuge; fortress, high tower, dwelling place, hiding place, etc.
salvus, a, um, safe, saved,  salvum facere, to save, keep safe, preserve from harm..  

This verse has, though, a number of different text traditions, reflected in the various Latin versions:

Esto mihi in Deum protectórem, et in domum refúgii:
ut salvum me fácias.
Esto mihi in Deum protectorem et in locum refugii
ut salvum me facias 
Esto mihi in rupem praesidii et in domum munitam,
ut salvum me facias.
Esto mihi petra refugii, Arx munita,
ut salves me.
Jerome from the
Esto mihi in lapidem fortissimum et in domum munitam
ut salves me

As well as in the English:

Be unto me a God, a protector, and a house of refuge, to save me.
Be thou to me for a protecting God, and for a house of refuge to save me.
Be my protection my God, my house of refuge, and save me,
Be thou a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
And be thou my strong rock, and house of defence that thou mayest save me.
Ny hill-fastness, my stronghold of defence, to save me from peril.
Be a rock of refuge for me, a mighty stronghold to save me,

Our spiritual home

The key phrase in this verse is a house of refuge.

St Cassiodorus interpreted this phrase firstly as a reference to heaven, opened to us by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross:
The house of refuge is the glorious resurrection, once debilitated by no weakness, but enjoying majesty uncorrupted, for He was safe when death could not prevail further against Him. So His fear springs from concern for us; His confidence is the mark of His divinity. 
Cassiodorus also noted, however, that the phrase can be taken as a reference to the Church:

Some say that the house of refuge refers to the Catholic Church in which He seeks safety for His members, because every Christian truly achieves safety in it, just as when the flood rose only they were saved who happily deserved to enter Noah's ark.
One could also, though, I think, interpret it as the Rule and our own monasteries or hermitages, or whatever the particular source of our spiritual nourishment is.

In finem. Psalmus David, pro extasi
Unto the end, a psalm for David, in an ecstasy
1 In te, Dómine, sperávi non confúndar in ætérnum: * in justítia tua líbera me.
In you, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in your justice.
2  Inclína ad me aurem tuam, * accélera ut éruas me.
3 Bow down your ear to me: make haste to deliver me.
3  Esto mihi in Deum protectórem, et in domum   refúgii: * ut salvum me fácias.
Be unto me a God, a protector, and a house of refuge, to save me.
4  Quóniam fortitúdo mea, et refúgium meum es   tu: * et propter nomen tuum dedúces me, et enútries me.
4 For you are my strength and my refuge; and for your name's sake you will lead me, and nourish me.
5  Edúces me de láqueo hoc, quem abscondérunt mihi: * quóniam tu es protéctor meus.
5 You will bring me out of this snare, which they have hidden for me: for you are my protector.
6  In manus tuas comméndo spíritum meum: * redemísti me, Dómine, Deus veritátis.
6 Into your hands I commend my spirit: you have redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth.

And to continue on to the next part in this series, go here.

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