HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A Commentary On The Psalms From Primitive and Mediæval Writers Volumes 1 To 4 by Rev. J.M. Neale D.D.

The Antiphons vary for all festivals, and the ferial ones have no special features. The only noteworthy ones are the two Ambrosian for Holy Week. [Maundy Thursday: O give Me not over unto Mine oppressors. K. K. K. Easter Eve: I. He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth in lowliness. II. JESUS bowing His head, gave up the ghost, and the earth quaked.]

This “Psalm of the Saints,” as it is especially called, most probably belongs to the very latest period of inspired Hebrew poetry. It is Post-Captivity in date and tone, and marks that period of the religious development of the Jewish nation when the spiritual character of their Law, apart from and above its ceremonial precepts, began to be recognised by the devouter believers as the chief glory of the chosen people. The Masoretic editors have pointed out that in every verse save one (122) there is a direct reference to the Law under some one of the ten names which stand in English as law, word, saying, statute, testimonies, way, precept, commandment, judgment, faithfulness, and are supposed to have a mystical reference to the Decalogue. It would seem that the Jewish editors ought rather to have fixed on verse 132 as the single exception to their rule, for it is perhaps possible to see an indirect allusion to the Law in verse 122, but none such is discoverable in 132. These terms are not altogether interchangeable (though some of them are doubtless nearly synonymous) and the most obvious classification is as follows. Law is the generic phrase, including all the others, and taken for the whole scope of Divine revelation; Testimonies, are such precepts as are prohibitory, attesting GOD’S holiness, protesting against man’s sinfulness; Statutes, are positive enactments, ceremonial ordinances, and the like; Commandments, moral enactments; Judgments, formal decisions of duties as laid down in the Law; Precepts, are counsels recommended to individuals for their guidance and profit; Word is any verbal revelation of GOD’S will; Saying, or rather promise, the declaration of blessings to follow on obedience; Way, the prescribed rule of conduct; Faithfulness, the abiding character and permanence of the Law.

There is not perfect uniformity in the two English renderings, either with the Hebrew or with one another, nor are the LXX. and Vulgate more precise. But in all there is a general adherence to the rule, and the deviations from the more discriminating terms are few and not important.

Cardinal Bellarmine suggests, not improbably, and in accordance with a Rabbinical tradition, that the great length of the Psalm was intended to fit it for use as a processional hymn for the caravans going up thrice a year to the great festivals in Jerusalem, followed as it is by those Gradual Psalms which marked the nearer approach of the pilgrims to the Temple. As to its profound spiritual import, which has made it the daily delight of Saints for so many ages, it will be enough to cite a few of the words in which the Gloss sums up the prefatory remarks of various Fathers: “This Psalm is the Teacher of the faithful, a paradise of all fruits, the storehouse of the HOLY GHOST, and just in proportion as it seems easier on the surface, so is it deeper in the abyss of its mysteries. Other Psalms shine a little, as lesser stars, but this one like the sun, glowing with the noonday heat of his full blaze, and glows with every kind of moral sweetness. And it has been compared to a tree of two and twenty branches, each with eight boughs, from which drops of sweetness continually fall. They observe further that the alphabetical arrangement, as noting the very rudiments of knowledge, implies that moral teaching in the first principles of life which the perfect need to give the unlearned that they may attain the palm of blessedness at last. And the grouping into octonaries of verses signifies on the one hand this blessedness, summed up in the eight beatitudes, while the day of the new creation is itself counted as the eighth, coming as it does after the recurring seven days of this present world.”








Copyright ©1999-2016 e-Catholic2000.com