Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Psalm 118 (Jod): Why we should ask for grace

Continuing this series on Psalm 118, Cassiodorus says of today’s stanza that:

“The splendid troop advances to the tenth letter, in which they ask that understanding of the commandments be granted them so that they may enjoy the benefit of truly genuine life. They pray that the Lord's mercy may be without stain, so that they may not be confounded at the Judgment.”

St Robert Bellarmine supplements this summation by suggesting that it advances a number of reasons for asking from God the grace to observe the law, namely:

 he created us, made us one of his creatures, and, therefore, we owe him implic¬it obedience;
 for the edification of others;
 because he has confessed his faults, and now throws himself on God’s mercy;
 to stop evildoers from succeeding in their schemes, prevent them from leading others astray by their bad example, and convert them; and
 so that he may not have to fear the disgrace of being confounded here or hereafter.

Truth and mercy

Two verses particularly worth focusing on are 75&76, in particular:

and in your truth you have humbled me O! let your mercy be for my comfort

Truth and mercy are often depicted as two angels in iconography. By truth we learn the reality of our sinful state: if God was truth alone we would stand forever condemned. But through his mercy, he offers us redemption through Christ’s resurrection, and invites us to share in eternal life.


73. Manus tuæ fecerunt me, et plasmaverunt me : da mihi intellectum, et discam mandata tua.
Your hands have made me and formed me: give me understanding, and I will learn your commandments.

74 Qui timent te videbunt me et lætabuntur, quia in verba tua supersperavi. They that fear you shall see me, and shall be glad: because I have greatly hoped in your words.

75 Cognovi, Domine, quia æquitas judicia tua, et in veritate tua humiliasti me.
I know, O Lord, that your judgments are equity: and in your truth you have humbled me.

76 Fiat misericordia tua ut consoletur me, secundum eloquium tuum servo tuo.
O! let your mercy be for my comfort, according to your word unto your servant.

77 Veniant mihi miserationes tuæ, et vivam, quia lex tua meditatio mea est.
Let your tender mercies come unto me, and I shall live: for your law is my meditation.

78 Confundantur superbi, quia injuste iniquitatem fecerunt in me; ego autem exercebor in mandatis tuis.
Let the proud be ashamed, because they have done unjustly towards me: but I will be employed in your commandments.

79 Convertantur mihi timentes te, et qui noverunt testimonia tua.
Let them that fear you turn to me: and they that know your testimonies.

80 Fiat cor meum immaculatum in justificationibus tuis, ut non confundar.
Let my heart be undefiled in your justifications, that I may not be confounded.

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