The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 8 for Trinity Sunday (May 30)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 27, 2010

The following post contains the Latin and English text of St Thomas Aquinas’ commentary on Psalm 8.  The translation was done by Dr. Gregory Sadler and appears courtesy of the Aquinas Translation Project.  Its use is governed by the following terms: “The copyright for these translations are held by the individuals who have translated them. They are offered for public use with the provision that, if copied, they not be altered from their present form, and that the copyright notice remain at the bottom of each translation to ensure that appropriate credit be given to both individual and the Project. Links should be established to this index page. All Biblical translations are taken from the Douay-Rheims version.”

Psalm 8

In finem pro torcularibus. a. PSAL. VIII. Domine Dominus noster, quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra? Quoniam elevata est magnificentia tua super caelos. Unto the end, for the presses: a psalm of David. O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! For thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens.
b. Ex ore infantium et lactentium perfecisti laudem propter inimicos tuos, ut destruas inimicum, et ultorem. Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise, because of thy enemies, that thou mayst destroy the enemy and the avenger.
c. Quoniam videbo caelos tuos, opera digitorum tuorum, lunam et stellas, quae tu fundasti. For I will behold thy heavens, the works of thy fingers: the moon and the stars which thou hast founded.
d. Quid est homo quod memor es eius, aut filius hominis quoniam visitas eum? What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?
e. Minuisti eum paulo minus ab angelis, gloria et honore coronasti eum: et constituisti eum super opera manuum tuarum. Omnia subiecisti sub pedibus eius; oves et boves universas, insuper et pecora campi. Volucres caeli, et pisces maris, qui perambulant semitas maris. Domine Dominus noster, quam admirablile est nomen tuum in universa terra. Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour: and hast set him over the works of thy hands. Thou hast subjected all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen: moreover the beasts also of the fields. The birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea, that pass through the paths of the sea. O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in all the earth!
a. Supra posuit Psalmum in quo David orabat pro sua persecutione; hic ponit Psalmum ad gratiarum actionem: et primo praemittitur Psalmus pro beneficiis collatis toti humano generi. Secundo alius pro beneficiis collatis sibi pro destructione inimicorum, vel pro bonis concessis. Tertio pro malis sublatis, ibi, Confitebor: nam hic exprimit affectionem hominis considerantis beneficia Dei concessa humano generi, et gratias agentis. Above is the Psalm in which David prayed on account of his persecution; he sets the Psalm down for the purpose of giving thanks: and, first of all, he begins the Psalm with thanks for the benefits conferred upon the entire human race. Second, the rest of the Psalm for the benefits conferred upon him through the destruction of his enemies. Third, on account of the evils removed, thereby, I will put my trust: so, he expresses the emotion of a man considering the good things God has bestowed upon the entire human race, and the graces given by the Worker.
Titulus, In finem Psalmi David pro torcularibus. Quia aliud est supra expositum, exponam hic solum ultimum. Ubi considerandum est, quod Deut. 16 dicitur, Septum diebus facies festum tabernaculorum, quando de area et torculari colliges fruges tuos etc. Sciendum enim est, quod David specialem devotionem habebat in festis celebrandis: et aliquid faciebat speciale ad laudem Dei. Festum autem tabernaculorum praecipuum erat. The title, Unto the end, for the presses. Since this has been explained above, I will explain only the last word. What should be considered is that which is said in Deut. 16: You shall keep the feast of booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your wine press. One should know that David had a special role of devotion of celebration during the feast; and he would do something special for the praise of God. For, the Feast of Booths was a major feast.
Et hoc fiebat in vindemiis in commemorationem divini beneficii, quando eduxit de Aegypto filios Israel in tabernaculis, et induxit in terram promissionis ubi sunt fructus: et ideo oportebat quod haberent fructus pulcherrimos, quo tempore erant torcularia; et ideo dicitur pro torcularibus, hoc ad litteram. And this would happen during the grape harvest to commemorate the divine bounty, because God led the sons of Israel out of Egypt in booths, and led them into the land of promise where there were fruits to enjoy: and for this reason it was fitting that they possessed the finest fruits to enjoy, during the time that they were in the booths; and, therefore, he said for the presses, this meant literally.
Sed specialiter torcular est ecclesia: Isa. 5. Plantavit vineam electam, torcular extruxit in ea: Matth. 21. Plantavit vineam, et fondit in ea torcular. But, in particular, the press is the Church; Isaiah 5: And he fenced it in, and picked the stones out of it, and planted it with the choicest vines, and built a tower in the midst thereof, and set up a winepress therein; Matthew 21: There was a man an householder, who planted a vineyard…and dug in it a press.
Dicit ergo pro torcularibus, idest ecclesiis orbis: et dicitur ecclesia torcular, quia sicut in torculari seperatur vinum a vinatiis, sic in ecclesia boni seperantur a malis opere ministrorum: etsi non loco semper, affectu tamen. Eadem ratione dicitur et area: quia separatio fit grani a paleis. He says therefore for the presses, that is, the circle of the church: and he calls the church a press, because, just as in a press the wine is separated from the lees, so in the church the good are separated from the evil by the work of the ministers: and if not in place, at least by their state of mind. For the same reason it is called also a threshing-floor: for the separation is made of the grain from the chaff.
Item a verbis literaliter positis seperantur sensus spiritualis. Likewise, the spiritual sense is separated from the words which have been set down literally.
Item torcularia sunt martyria, in quibus fit separatio animarum a corporibus, dum corpora eorum qui pro Christi nomine afflictione et persecutione calcantur, quassatim remanent in terra, animae vero ad requiem in caelestibus emanant. Likewise, the presses are the martyrdoms, in which the separation of the souls from the bodies is made, for when their bodies, which are tread upon in affliction and persecution for the name of Christ, at the same time remain in the earth, their souls arise to rest in the heavens.
Psalma ista dividitur in duas partes. Primo enim Psalmista admiratur divinam excellentiam. Secundo eius clementiam, ibi, Quid est homo. Circa primum duo facit. Primo ostendit maiestatam Dei esse admirabilem. Secundo esse manifestam, ibi, Ex ore infantium. Circa primum duo facit: quia primo ponit eum mirabilem. Secundo rationem dicti manifestat, ibi, Quoniam elevata etc. This Psalm is divided into two parts. In the first, the Psalmist marvels at the divine excellence. In the second, at His primacy, whence, What is man. Regarding the first, he does two things. First, he shows that the majesty of God is marvelous. Second, that it is manifested, whence, Out of the mouths of infants. Regarding the first, he does two things: for, first, he writes of its marvels. Second, he displays the reason for saying this, whence, How elevated etc.
Dicit ergo Domine omnium: Hester 13. Dominus omnium tu es; sed specialiter Dominus noster, qui te colimus, tibi adhaeremus. Hieronymus habet, Dominatur noster: Iudic. 8. Non dominabor vestri, nec filius meus, sed dominabitur super vos Dominus. Quam admirabile est nomen tuum etc. scilicet divinitatis: Psal. 92. Mirabiles elationes maris etc. Genes. 32. Cur quaeris nomen meum quod est mirabile? Item Christi incarnati: Isa. 9. Vocabit nomen eius admirabilis. He says therefore Lord of all: Esther 13: Thou art Lord of all; but in particular our Lord, who we worship, we cleave to Thee. Jerome has, our Ruler: Judges 8: I will not rule over you neither shall my son rule over you, but the Lord shall rule over you. How admirable is your name etc. Namely that of the divinity: Psalm 92: Wonderful are the surges of the sea etc. Genesis 32: Why dost thou ask my name [which is mighty]? Also, Christ incarnate: Isaiah 9: He shall be called [his marvelous name]. [additions by Thomas]
Sed numquid solum in Iudaea, ut dicunt Iudaei, vel in Africa, ut Donatistae? non; sed in universa terra: Malach. 1. Ab ortu solis usque ad occasum magnum est nomen meum in gentibus. Ratio admirabilis subiungitur, Quoniam elevata est magnificentia tua, quia in caelis apparet magnitudo tua. But, is it only in Judea, as the Jews have said, or in Africa, as said the Donatists? No, but rather in every land: Malachiah 1: For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles. The reason for the admiration is appended, Thy magnificence is elevated, for Your greatness appears in the heavens.
Admiratio est quando aliquis videt effectum, et ignorat causam. Dupliciter est ergo aliqua causa admirabilis: vel quia ignota totaliter, vel quia non producit effectum manifestantem causam perfecte. Primum non est in Deo: quia producit effectum: Ro. 1. Invisibilia Dei per ea quae facta sunt etc. Producit dico effectum, non tamen manifestantem perfecte causam: et ideo remanet admirabilis: et hoc est quod dicit, Magnificentia tua, idest laus vel virtus tua, quae potest facere magna: Est elevata super caelos, improportionaliter excedens factionem caelorum. Admiration is when somebody sees the effect and does not know the cause. The cause of admiration is therefore twofold: either because the cause is totally unknown, or because the effect manifesting the cause does not do so perfectly. The first does not apply to God: since he produces the effect: Romans 1: For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made etc. I say that he produces the effect, but not one which perfectly manifests its cause: and thereby it remains marvelous: and this is why he says Your magnificence, that is, your praise or virtue, that can make such great things: Is elevated above the heavens, exceeding incommensurably the making of the heavens.
Unde excludit errorem dicentium, quod Deus sit forma caeli: esset enim secundum hoc proportionatus caelis. Item dicentium quod agit ex necessitate naturae: quia non extenderet se super caelos: tamen potest in infinitum maius facere: vel super caelos, idest Scripturas, quia plus est quam in Scripturis commendetur: Eccl. 43. Glorificantes Deum quantumcumque potestis, supervalebit adhuc, et admirabilis magnificentia eius: vel magnificentia tua, idest filius tuus Deus homo: Elevata est, in accensionem: Super caelos: Ephes. 4. Qui descendit, ipse est qui ascendit super omnes caelos etc. Thereby he excludes the error of those who say that God is the form of the heavens: for then he would be, in accordance with this, commensurable to the heavens. Again, he excludes the error of those who say that God acts out of a necessity of nature : because he would not extend himself above and beyond the heavens: Nevertheless he can do even more to infinity: or, Above the heavens, that is, Scripture, because He is more than He is praised for in the Scripture: Sirach. 43: Glorify the Lord as much as ever you can, for he will yet far exceed, and his magnificence is wonderful, that is, Your son God and man: is raised, in ascension: Above the heavens: Ephesians 4: He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens etc.
b. Deinde cum dicit, Ex ore, ostendit quod est maxime manifesta. Et primo ostendit manifestationem. Secundo eius rationem, ibi, Quoniam videbo: quod sit manifesta, probat: quia illud est manifestum quod est omnibus inditum, quantumcumque simplicibus, quasi quadam naturali cognitione. Duplex namque est genus hominum, qui consequitur naturalem et rectum instinctum, sicut sint simplices, vel sapientes. Quod sapientes cognoscant Deum, hoc non est magnum, sed quod simplices sic. Sunt autem quidam qui naturalem instinctam pervertunt: et isti cognitionem Dei repellunt: Ps. 81. Nescierunt, idest nescire voluerunt, neque intellexerunt etc. Iob. 22. Dixerunt Deo, recede a nobis, scientiam viarum tuarum nolumus. Therefore, when he says, out of the mouths, he shows that it is manifest to the highest degree. And first he indicates the manifestation. Second, its reason, whence, For I will behold: that it is manifest, he proves: for that is manifest which is placed in all things, in as much as it is in all of the simple things, as if by a certain natural cognition. And now, the genus of humans is twofold, which follows natural and right instincts, as are the simple people, or the wise. That the wise might know God, this is not a great thing, but that the simple people do, is. For there are those who pervert the natural instincts: and these people push away the cognition of God: Psalm 81: They have not known, that is, they choose not to know, neither understood etc. Job 22: Who said to God: Depart from us: [we do not want to know your ways].
Deus autem facit ut per illos, idest per simplices, qui sequuntur naturalem instinctum, confundantur qui pervertunt naturalem instinctum. Per infantes designantur simplices: 1. Pet. 2. Sicut modo geniti infantes, rationabiles sine dolo etc. But, God makes it so that by those people, that is, the simple ones, who naturally follow their instincts, the others who pervert the natural instinct are confounded. By infants, the Psalmist designates the simple people: 1 Peter 2: As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile etc.
Dicit ergo, Admirabile quidem est nomen tuum, ita tamen quod ex ore infantium et lactentium perfecisti laudem, qui interius instigat ad hoc: et hoc propter inimicos tuos, qui adversantur scientiae et cognitioni tuae: Phil. 3. Inimicos crucis Christi etc. Ut destruas inimicum et ultorem, quemcunque persecutorem. He says therefore, Admirable is your name, in that Out of the mouths of infants and of sucklings, thou hast perfected praise, you who inwardly bring them to this: and this because of thy enemies, who turn against the knowledge and cognition of You: Philippians 3: They are enemies of the cross of Christ etc. That thou mayst destroy the enemy and the avenger, along with whatever other persecutors.
Vel Pharaonem qui velit ulcisci contra confitentem nomen tuum: 2. Cor. 10. Consilia destruentes et omnem altitudinem extollentem se adversus scientiam Dei. Or Pharaoh, who wanted to take vengeance against the one who trusted in your name 2 Corinthians 10: Destroying counsels, And every height that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God.
Vel tyrannum qui armis impugnat nomen tuum. 1. Pet. 2. Ut benefacientes obmutescere faciatis imprudentium hominum ignorantiam; hoc fecit Christus: nam Matt. 21. de pueris Hebraeorum respondit Christus, quod ex eorem verbis perfecta sit laus, qui Spiritus sancti instinctu laudabant: quod tamen videbatur pueriliter agi. Hic locum habet quando simplices recognoscunt Deum, et alii pervertunt studia cognitionis naturalis, ne cognoscant ipsum Deum. Or the tyrant who fights with arms against your holy name: 1 Peter 2: For so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; this Christ did: now, in Matthew 21, Christ responded, about the children of the Jews, that praise was perfected from their words, those who instinctively praised the Holy Spirit: even when they seemed to act childishly. This takes place when the simple people recognize God, and others pervert the studies of natural cognition, lest they come to know that very God.
Item hoc in Apostolis qui sine literis et idiotae: Act. 4. Simplices sicut columbae: Matt. 10. Et sicut oves in medio luporum; et destruxerunt omnes inimicos Christi: 1. Cor. 1. Quae stula sunt mundi elegit Deus, ut confundantur sapientes, et infirma etc. Consequenter huius manifestationis rationem subnectit dicens, Quoniam. Again, in the Apostles who were illiterate and ignorant: Acts 4: Simple like doves: Matthew 10: As sheep in the midst of wolves; and, they destroyed all of the enemies of Christ. 1 Corinthians 1: But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak etc. Accordingly the writer adds to this the proportion of His manifestation, saying For.
c. Tullius dicit in lib. de natura deorum, et fuit dictum etiam ab Aristotle, quamvis in eius libris quae apud nos habentur non inveniatur, quod si aliquis homo intraret palatium, quod videret bene dispositum, nullus est ita amens, qui licet non videret quomodo factum fuerit, quin percipiat quod fabricatum sit ab aliquo. Cicero says in the Book on the Nature of the Gods, and it was said as well by Aristotle, even though we do not find it in the books of his which we possess, that if someone entered a palace, which seemed to be well established, no one is so insane that even though he does not see by what fashion it was made he would still not perceive that it was made by somebody.
Nos intremus mundum, nec videmus quando factus sit: sed ex hoc ipso quod est ita bene ordinatus, debemus percipere quod est factus ab aliquo. Et hoc specialter ostendit ordo corporum caelestium. Fuerunt quidam errantes qui causas rerum attribuunt necessitati materiae: unde dicunt facta omnia propter calidum et frigidum, siccum et humidum, ut elementa quae sic convenerunt: hoc autem si apparentiam posset habere in aliis, nullo tamen modo in caelestibus corporibus: quia non possunt attribui necessitati materiae, quod tantum distet hoc ab illo, et tanto tempore compleant cursum suum. Hoc autem nonnisi in causam intellectivam oportet reducere. We enter into the world, and we do not see when it was made; but from this very fact that it is well-ordered, we must perceive that it was made by somebody. And the order of the heavenly bodies especially shows this. There were those in error who attributed the causes of things to material necessity: thereby they said everything to be made according to heat and cold, dryness and dampness, as elements which so worked together: but this, if it can have an appearance of being so in other things, can in no way, however, be so in the heavenly bodies: because they cannot be attributed to material necessity, since this differs so much from that, and since they complete their course in such a length of time. But this should be reduced only to an intellective cause.
Et ideo Scriptura quando vult manifestare Dei potentiam, reducit nos in considerationem caelorum: Is. 40. Levate in excelsum oculos vestros, et videte quis creavit haec; ideo dicit, Quoniam videbo caelos tuos, opera digitorum tuorum. And accordingly, when Scripture wishes to manifest the power of God, it directs us to the consideration of the heavens: Isaiah 40: Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these things; similarly he says, For I will behold thy heavens, the work of thy fingers.
Dicit autem, Opera digitorum, propter tria: quia quae cum digitis facimus, attente et distincte faciamus. Et quae de corporibus caelestibus consideranda sunt, non reducuntur nisi in causam intelligibilem; et ideo dicit, Opera digitorum tuorum: Ps. 135. Qui fecit caelos in intellectu: vel respondet ad id quod dicit Elevata. But, he says The work of thy fingers, for three reasons: because what we make with our fingers, we make attentively and distinctly. And what is to be considered about the heavenly bodies cannot be reduced except to an intellective cause; and therefore he says, the work of thy fingers: Psalm 135: Who made the heavens in understanding: or he responds to that which he wrote, Elevated.
Quando quis facit elevari quod grave est, supponit humerum; sed quando facit elevari quod est leve, supponit digitum; et ideo dicit, opera digitorum, quasi leve sit ei facere caelos: Isa. 40. Quis appendet tribus digitis molem terrae, et caelos palma ponderabit? When one makes to be raised that which is heavy, he supports it with his shoulder; but when he makes to be raised something that is light, he supports it with a finger; and for this reason he says, The work of thy fingers, as if it were as easy thing for God to make the heavens: Isaiah 40: Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and weighed the heavens with his palm? who hath poised with three fingers the bulk of the earth…?
vel quae digitis facimus subtilia opera sunt. Ut ostendat ergo quod haec subtiliora sunt aliis, dicit Opera digitorum etc. Lunam vero nominat, et non solem, propter Gentiles, qui credebant eum summum Deum: et ideo ponit specialiter, Lunam et stellas, in quibus non est manifesta ratio erroris: Eccl. 43. Species caeli gloria stellarum, mundum illuminans in excelsis Dominus. Or because that which we make with our fingers are subtle works. In order that it be shown that these are more subtle works than others, he says Thy fingers etc. For he names the moon, and not the sun, for the sake of the Gentiles who believed that the sun was the highest God. And therefore the Psalmist writes in particular, The moon and stars, in which there is no proportion of error manifest. Sirach 43: The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven; the Lord enlighteneth the world on high.
Mytice apostolos vel Scripturas opera digitorum. Tres digiti tres personae; quasi dicat, Opera totius trinitatis vel Spiritus sancti. Lunam, ecclesia: stellas, doctores. Et haec Deus fundavit. Quid. In a mystical sense, the Apostles and Scriptures are Works of thy fingers. Three fingers, three persons; as if to say, “the works of the entire Trinity or the Holy Spirit”. The moon, the church: Stars, the doctors. And God has established this.
d. Supra Psalmista admiratus est divinae maiestatis excellentiam; et nunc commemorat duo beneficia divinitus collata hominibus. Secundo ex hoc psalmum terminat in laudem, ibi, Domine Dominus noster etc. Circa primum tria facit. Primo ostendit clementiam Dei ad homines, per comparationem ad ea quae sunt supra homines. Secundo per comparationem ad primum hominem, ibi, Gloria et honere. Tertio per comparationem eorum, quae sunt sub homine, Et constituisti. Supra hominem duplex est natura, divina scilicet, et angelica. Primo ergo ponit beneficia per comparationem ad Deum. Secundo per comparationem ad angelos, ibi, Minuisti. Primo exponatur secundum quod competit quantum ad beneficia naturalia. Secundo quantum ad gratuita. Et secundum primum modum et circa eum duo facit. Primo ponit specialem curam hominis a Deo. Secundo familiaritatem specialem, Aut filius hominis. The excellence of the divine majesty is what is admired as above the Psalmist; and now he commemorates two benefits of the divinity conferred on humans. Following from this he ends the Psalm in praise, whence, O Lord our Lord etc. Regarding the first, he does three things. First, he shows the mercy of God towards humans, by comparison to those things which are above humans. Second, by comparison to the first human, whence, With glory and honor. Third, by comparison with those things which are below humans, And thou hast set him. The nature above humans is twofold, namely, the divine and the angelic. First, therefore he writes of the benefits by comparison to God. Second, by comparison to the angels, whence, Thou hast made him a little less. First, he explains this according to what is compatible to natural benefits. Second, what to those of grace. And in accordance with the first way and referring to it, he does two things. First, he writes of a special care for humans by God. Second, a special familiarity, Or the son of man.
Mirabile est quod quis magnus alicui parvo speciali familiaritate coniungitur: et ideo primo Psalmista commemorat parvitatem hominis ex conditione quid est homo, tam parva res: Iob. 14. Homo natus de muliere: et 25. Homo putredo, et filius hominis vermis. Secundo quantem ad originem: quia etiam vilis: Iob. 24. Quis potest facere mundum de immundo conceptum semine? Et 10. Nonne sicut lac etc. Et ideo dicit, Aut filius hominis. It is marvelous that anyone so great would tie Himself to someone small by a special familiarity: and thereby the Psalmist first commemorates the littleness of man out of the condition what is man, since he is such a small thing: Job 14: Man, born of a woman: and 25: Man that is rottenness and the son of man who is a worm. Second, in as much as his origin: since it is vile: Job 14: Who can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed? And 10: Hast thou not milked me like milk etc. And therefore he says, And the son of man.
Sed isti sic parvo, sic vili, dicit quod duo facit: scilicet quod memoratus est eius, et quod visitat eum. Primum pertinet ad curam. Secundum ad familiaritatem specialem. Et est talis modus loquendi: sicut si aliquis artifex fecisset magna, et inter aliqua unum minimum, scilicet acum, et quando fecit acum ostendit se habere eius scientiam. Sed quod in dispositione operum curaret de acu, esset valde mirabile; et ideo dicit, Quis est homo, quod inter magnus creaturas recordaris eius? Eccl. 16. Ne dicas, a Deo abscondar etc. et quae est anima etc. Quia propter parvitatem Deus non obliviscitur tui. Sed quod magnum est hoc? Deus enim habet curam de omnibus: Sap. 12. Nec est enim alias quam tu, cui cura est de omnibus. Dicendum, quod de homine habet specialem curam, scilicet quod in iudicio remunerentur actus eius: Iob. 14. Dignum duci super huiuscemodi aperire oculos etc. But, to this so little, so vile man, he says that He does two things: namely, that He is mindful of him, and that he cares for him. The first pertains to attentive care, the second to the special familiarity. And it is of such a manner of speaking: just as if somebody made a great artifice, and among others one which was most small, namely a needle, and when he made the needle, he showed himself to have the knowledge of it. But that he would care for the needle, in the disposition of his works, this would be marvelous; and therefore he says, What is man, that among great created things you turn your heart back to him? Sirach 16: Say not: I shall be hidden from God. and who shall remember me from on high? For God does not, on account of your littleness, forget you. But that this is great? For God takes care about everything: Wisdom 12: For there is no other God but thou, who hast care of all. That is to say, that He has a special care for humans, namely that they will be repaid for their actions in the judgement: Job 14: And dost thou think it meet to open thy eyes upon such an one, and to bring him into judgment with thee?
Item non curam solum habet de homine, sed familaritatem habet cum eo; et hoc est quod dicit, Quoniam visitas eum. Sola natura rationalis est capax Dei, cognoscendo, et amando. Inquantum ergo Deus nobis praesens efficitur per amorem vel cognitionem, visitat nos: Iob. 10. Visitatio tua custodivit etc. Also, he does not have only care for man, but he has a familiarity with him; and this why he says, That thou art mindful of him. Only the rational nature is capable of God, to know Him, and to love Him. In as much therefore as God makes himself present to us, by love or cognition, he cares for us: Job 10: And thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
Sic ergo magna clementia Dei est in comparatione hominis ad Deum; sed sequitur de homine hoc in comparatione ad angelos, quibus homo invenitur propinquus. Minuisti. So, therefore, God’s mercy is great in the comparison of man to God; but this follows from man in the comparison to the angels, who man comes into proximity to. Thou hast made him a little less.
e. In angelis invenitur imago Dei per simplicem intuitum veritatis, absque inquisitione; in homo vero per discursum; et ideo in homine aliquantulum. Inde est quod homines dicuntur angeli: Malac. 2. Legem requirent ex ore eius: quia angelus Domini exercituum est. Est et homo corruptibilis, sed modicum; quia aliquando homo in patria omnia sine discursu cognoscet; et erit secundum corpus incorruptibilis: 1. Cor. 15. Oportet corruptibile hoc inducere incorruptionem. Consequenter ostendit clementiam Dei ad hominem, per comparationem ad ipsum hominem, cum dicit, Gloria et honore etc. Coronari est regum. Deus facit hominem quasi regem inferiorum, et haec est gloria, scilicet claritas divinae imaginis: et haec est quaedam corona hominis: 1. Cor. 11. Vir imago est gloria Dei: Ps. 4. Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui Domine. The image of God is found in the angels by the simple intuition of truth, without any inquiry; but in humans discursively: and therefore in man only in a certain small degree. This is why humans are called angels: Malachi 2: For the lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth: because he is the angel of the Lord of hosts. And, man is corruptible, but in a certain way; since, at a certain time, man will know all things without discursive thought in his homeland (heaven); and he will be incorruptible in the way of his body: 1 Corinthians 15: For this corruptible must put on incorruption. Consequently, he shows the mercy of God to man, by comparison to that very man, when he says, Glory and honor etc. To be crowned belongs to kings, and God made man as if the king of lower things, and man is the glory, that is, the clarity of the divine image: and this is a certain crown of man. 1 Corinthians 11: Because he is the image and glory of God: Psalm 4: The light of thy countenance O Lord, is signed upon us.
Sed iste honoratur, qui non subiicitur alicui. Homo enim nulli creaturae natura corporali subiicitur, quantam ad animam, nec in ingressu, nec in progressu: non in ingressu, quia a creatura non producitur, et libere agit; nec perit cum corpore; et in hoc honor hominis consistit; et ideo dicutur Sap. 2. Nec iudicaverunt hominem animarum sanctarum etc. usque fecit illum: Ps. 48. Homo cum in honere esset non intellexit etc. Consequentur cum dicit, Constituisti, ponit clementiam Dei ad hominem per comparationem ad ea, quae sunt sub homine, quia voluit habere hominem dominium super ista inferiora: et circa hoc tria facit. Primo proponit dominium. Secundo facultatem dominandi. Tertio numerum subditorum. Secundum, ibi, Oves et boves. But someone is honored, who is not subordinated to someone else. And man, with respect to his soul, is not subject to any natural corporeal creature, whether in the beginning or in continuance, because he is not produced by a creature, and he acts freely: he does not perish with the body; and in this the honor of man consists. And likewise it is said in Wisdom 2: They did not judge man to have a holy soul: continually, however He made him: Psalm 48: Man when he was in honour did not understand etc. Consequently, when he says, Thou hast made, he writes of the mercy of God to man by comparison to the things which are below man, because He wanted man to have dominion over all those things below him: and regarding this he does three things. First, he sets forth the dominion. Second, the faculty of dominating. Third, the number of things subordinated. Second, therefore, Thou hast subjugated all things. Third, therefore, sheep and oxen.
Dicit ergo, Ex quo homo est rex, dedisti ei dominium super opera manum tuarum: Gen. 1. Ut praesit piscibus maris, et volucribus caeli, et bestiis universae terrae, et reptili quod movetur in terra. Hoc habet per rationem, quia excedit omnia animalia; et ideo statim cum dixit, Gloria et honere, subdidit, Constituisti, idest dedisti dominium. Sed nota quid dicit, quod homo habet auctoritatem super opera manuum, non digitorum. Homo non potest sibi ea subiicere; et ideo secundo ostendit facultatem dominandi. Omnia, inquit, subiecisti, ut praeesset et dominaretur ad nutum. Hoc signatur Gen. 2. ubi Deus adduxit omnia animalia ad Adam. Et haec subiectio plenarie fuit ante peccatum; sed aliqua nunc resistunt in poenam peccati. Tertio cum dicit, Oves et boves etc. ennumerat subiecta: et ponit animalia ut etiam plantae intelligantur. In animalibus autem quaedam subiiciuntur secundum totum genus suum, scilicet animalia mansueta et domestica secundum suam naturam, scilicet oves et boves: et hoc in feminino dicit, Universas, qui armenta fiunt praecipue de vaccis et ovibus. Alia sunt quae non subiicuntur secundum totum genus: et horum quaedam sunt gressibilia: et quantum ad hoc dicit, Insuper et pecora campi etc. scilicet apri, cervi, et huiusmodi: quaedam volatilia, scilicet aves: et quaedam natatilia sicut pisces. He says therefore, “from that man is king, you have given him dominion” over all the works of thy hands: Genesis 1: And let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. This man has by reason, for he surpasses all animals; and so at the same time that he says, glory and honor, he also implies, Thou hast made, that is, you have given dominion. But it is significant that he says that man has authority over all the works of His hands, but not those of his fingers, because the works of his hands are not subtle ones like the heavens, which are the work of his fingers. Man cannot subordinate these things to himself; and therefore he shows second his facility of dominating. All things, he says, thou hast subjugated, so that man should surpass and rule them to his will. This is signified by Genesis 2, where God parades all the animals past Adam. And this subjection was full and sufficient before sin; but any things in particular now resist man in the punishment of sin. Third, when he says, sheep and oxen etc. he enumerates the things subjected: and he writes animals so that plants are understood here as well. Among animals, certain of them are subject following their entire genus, namely, as beasts of burden and domestic animals according to their nature, namely, sheep and oxen: and he says this in the feminine gender, All [feminine in the Latin], because herds are made primarily of cows and ewes. There are others which have not been subordinated following from their entire genus: and certain of these can be graded: and in as much as he says, moreover all the beasts of the fields etc. Namely, boars, deer, and things of this like: certain flying things, namely birds; and certain swimming things, namely fish.
Possunt ad hoc ad beneficia gratiae referri: et tunc in his omnia mysteria Christi numerantur. Primo incarnationis, Quid est homo? Duo tangit, scilicet causam incarnationis, et ipsam incarnationem: et dicit, Quid est homo? Videbatur enim Deus oblitus hominis, quando expulit eum de paradiso: huiusmodi recordatur quando reducitur illud Psalm. 79. Memento nostri Domine. Et sic sequitur incarnatio: quia visitat, et ideo dicit, Aut filius hominis etc. Quia licet totum genus humanum visitaverit, specialiter tamen illum hominem assumptem in unitate hypostasis: Hebr. 1. Nusquam angelos apprehendit, sed semen Abrahae. Secundum est passionis. Minuisti propter passionem, Heb. 2. Eum autem qui modico quam angeli minoratus est etc. In hebraeo habetur, Et minues eum parvum a Deo, quia coniunctus est Deo in unitate personae; sed minutus propter passibilitatem assumptam. Tertium est beneficium resurrectionis in honore exhibito Apostolis, qui numeratur per passionem: Phil. 1. In nomine Iesu omne geneflectatur etc. Ioa. 5. Ut omnes honorificent Filium, sicut honorificant Patrem. Quartem mysterium est accensionis, Constituisti eum super etc. Eph. 1. Constituens eum ad dexteram suam, supra omnem principatum et potestatem etc. Quintum mysterium est adventus ad iudicium, Omnia subiecisti etc. idest constituisti eum iudicem super omnia: Hebr. 2. Nunc autem necdum videmus omnia subiecta ei: tunc omnia subiicientur sub pedibus eius, idest humanitate eius, quia caput Christi Deus, 2. Cor. 11. Et sunt pedes humanitas, Io. 5. Potestatem dedit ei iudicium facere. And these things can be referred to the benefit of grace: and afterwards, among all of these, the mysteries of Christ are numbered. First, of the incarnation, What is man? He touches on two points, namely the cause of the incarnation, and that very incarnation: and he says, What is man? For, God appears to have forgotten man when he expelled him from paradise: It is recorded in a like manner when that forgetting is revoked Psalm 79: O Lord of Hosts restore us. And so followed the incarnation: because he cared, and therefore it says, or the son of man. Because it was fitting that he should care for the entire human race, but in particular for that man taken into the unity of the hypostasis: Heb. 2: For nowhere doth he take hold of the angels: but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold. Second is the Passion. Thou hast made him a little less on the account of the Passion, Heb. 2: Who was made a little lower than the angels, etc. In the Hebrew, it has, And You make him equal from God, since he is conjoined with God in the unity of person; but a little less because of his capacity for taking on suffering. Third is the benefit of the Resurrection in glory made manifest through the Apostles, which is reckoned through suffering; Philippians 2: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow etc. John 5: That all men may honour the Son, as they honour the Father. The fourth mystery is the Ascension, Hast set him over etc. Ephesians 1: And setting him on his right hand in the heavenly places. Above all principality, and power, etc. The fifth mystery is the coming to judgement, Thou hast subjugated all things etc., that is, you have set him to judge over all things: Hebrews 2: Thou hast subjected all things under his feet…But now we see not as yet all things subject to him, that is, his humanity, because the head of Christ is God, 2 Corinthians 11. And the feet are humanity; John 5. But hath given all judgement to the Son.
Et hi in iudicio quidam boni: et horum quidam subditi sunt signati per oves: 2. Reg. ult. Isti qui sunt oves quid fecerunt? Quidam praelati, et hi signati sunt per boves: Pro. 14. Ubi plurimae segetes, ibi manifesta fortitudo bovis. Quidam mali: et horum sunt tria genera: Io. 1. Omne quae est in mundo, aut est concupiscentia occulorum, aut concupiscentia carnis, aut superbia vitae. Et primo ponit luxuriosus: et hi sunt oves et boves et pecora campi, quia bestialibus delectantur: Ioel. 1. Putruerunt iumenta in stercore suo, et demoliti sunt horrea campi. Dicit hoc, qui vadunt per amplam viam, Matt. 7. Secundo superbos, Volucres: Matt. 14. Aves caelis commederunt illud: Deut. 32. Devorabunt eos aves morsu amarissimo. Tertio cupidos, Qui perambulant semitas maris, ad literam; vel mundi: Ps. 11. In circuitu impii ambulant: Iob. 1. Circuivi terram, et perambulavi eam: sicut Deus est mirabilis ex eminentia maiestatis, ita ostenditur ex clementia; et ideo concludit admirationem, Domine Dominus noster etc. Tamen sciendum est, quod iste psalmus est circularis, quia eundem versum habet in principio et in fine. Quidam sunt semicirculares, qui non repetunt totum versum, sed partem; sicut Benedic anima mea Domino, finis, In omni loco dominationis eius. And some good people are in this judgement too: and some of these placed under judgement have been signified by sheep: 2 Kings 24: These that are the sheep, what have they done? Some are preferred, and these are signified by oxen: Proverbs 14: Where there are no oxen, the crib is empty: but where there is much corn, there the strength of the ox is manifest. And some are evil: and of these there are three genera: 1 John 2: For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life. And first, he writes of the pleasure-seeking: and these are sheep and cows and the beasts of the field, since they delight in bestial things: Joel 1: The beasts have rotted in their dung, the barns are destroyed. He says this, because they hasten down the wide path, Matthew 7: Second, he writes of the proud, Flying: Matthew 13: And the birds of the air came and ate them up; Deuteronomy 32: And birds shall devour them with a most bitter bite. Third, the lustful, Whatever swims the paths of the seas, either literally or of the world: Psalm 11: The wicked walk round about: Job 1: And he answered and said: I have gone round about the earth, and walked through it: just as God is marvelous from the eminence of his majesty, so this is displayed from clemency; and therefore he concludes the admiration, O Lord, our Lord etc. And though it is to be seen that this Psalm is circular, because it has the same verse in the beginning as in the end, they are in a certain way semicircular, because they do not repeat the entire verse, but rather a part; as if to say, “Bless my soul through God”, finally “in every place of His rule”.

© Dr. Gregory Sadler

The Aquinas Translation Project

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5 Responses to “Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 8 for Trinity Sunday (May 30)”

  1. [...] Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 8 for Trinity Sunday. Ordinary Form of the Rite. [...]

  2. [...] Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 8 for Trinity Sunday. Latin and English in Parallel columns. [...]

  3. [...] Kenny, O.P.) on this page of his website. The Divine Lamp reproduces the commentaries on Psalm 3, Psalm 8, Psalm 10(9), Psalm 11(10), Psalm 15(14), Psalm 22(21), Psalm 23(22), Psalm 27(26), Psalm 30(29), [...]

  4. [...] Kenny, O.P.) on this page of his website. The Divine Lamp reproduces the commentaries on Psalm 3, Psalm 8, Psalm 10(9), Psalm 11(10), Psalm 15(14), Psalm 22(21), Psalm 23(22), Psalm 27(26), Psalm 30(29), [...]

  5. […] Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 8. Whole psalm. […]

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