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

St Thomas Aquinas on Psalm 27 (26)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 16, 2011

The following post contains both the Latin and English texts of Psalm 27 (26) and St Thomas’ commentary on it. The work is under copyright but appears here in accordance with the copyright holders guidelines for republishing, it reads as follows: 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 26

a. Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea, quem timebo? Dominus protector vitae meae, a quo trepidabo? Dum appropriant super me nocentes, ut edant carnes meas. Qui tribulant me inimici mei, ipsi infirmati sunt, et ceciderunt. The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? Whilst the wicked draw near against me, to eat my flesh. My enemies that trouble me, have themselves been weakened, and have fallen.
b. Si consistant adversum me castra, non timebit cor meum. Si exurgat adversum me praelium, in hoc ego sperabo. If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident.
c. Unam petii a Domino, hanc requiram, ut inhabitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vitae meae. Ut videam voluntatem Domini, et visitem templum eius. One thing I have asked of the Lord, this I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.
d. Quoniam abscondit me in tabernaculo suo, in die malorum protexit me in abscondito tabernaculi sui. For he hath hidden me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.
e. In petra exaltavit me, et nunc exaltavit caput meum super inimicos meos. He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies.
f. Circuivi et immolavi in tabernaculo eius hostiam vociferationis: cantabo et psalmum dicam Domino. I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing and recite a psalm to the Lord.
g. Exaudi Domine vocem meam, qua clamavi ad te, miserere mei, et exaudi me. Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me and hear me.
h. Tibi dixit cor meum, exquisivit te facies mea: faciem tuam Domine requiram. My heart hath said to thee: My face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.
i. Ne avertas faciem tuam a me: ne declines in ira a servo tuo. Turn not away thy face from me; decline not in thy wrath from thy servant.
k. Adiutor meus esto, ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me Deus salutaris meus. Quoniam pater meus et mater mea dereliquerunt me, Dominus autem assumpsit me. Be thou my helper, forsake me not; do not thou despise me, O God my Saviour. For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up.
l. Legem pone mihi Domine in via tua: et dirige me in semitam rectam propter inimicos meos. Set me, O Lord, a law in thy way, and guide me in the right path, because of my enemies.
m. Ne tradideris me in animas tribulantium me: quoniam insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi. Deliver me not over to the will of them that trouble me; for unjust witnesses have risen up against me; and iniquity hath lied to itself.
n. Credo videre bona Domini in terra viventium. I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
o. Expecta Domninum, viriliter age: et confortetur cor tuum, et sustine Dominum. Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.
a. Praemissa oratione, hic Psalmista consequenter dicit fiduciam de oratone conceptam: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ponit fiduciam conceptam. Secundo iterato orat ut non deficiat in sua fiducia, ibi, Ad te Domine. Having previously made (his) prayer, the Psalmist next speaks here of the trust received from prayer. Concerning this he does two things. First, he sets down the trust received, and secondly, he prays once more that he will not fail in his trust, at, Unto thee will I cry, O Lord (Psalm 27).
Titulus, In finem Psalmi priusquam liniretur. Notandum est quod sicut Glossa latius dicit, David tribus vicibus fuit unctus in regem. The title (of this psalm is) Unto the end. Psalms before he is anointed. Note that, as the Gloss more broadly states, David was anointed into the kingship on three occasions.
Primo a Samuele, 1. Reg. 16. Et tunc non fuit rex, sed habuit signum regni. Tulit Samuel cornu olei, et unxit eum in medio fratrum etc. Et tunc directus est spiritus Domini in David, quia ex tunc fuit propheta secundum Hieronymum et Iosephum. First (he was annointed) by Samuel, (as is related at) 1 Kings 16. At that time he was not yet king, but he had the sign of a king. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren etc. And at that point, the spirit of the Lord was sent into David, because from that moment on he was a prophet, according to Jerome and Josephus Flavius (?)
Secundo in Hebron, 2. Reg. 2. Venerunt viri Iuda, et unxerunt David in regem super domum Iuda. Secondly, in Hebron (as is related at) 2 Kings 2: The men of Juda came, and anointed David there, to be king over the house of Juda.
Tertio occiso Isboseth filio Saulis regnavit super totum Israel, 2. Reg. 8. Hac duae inunctiones computabantur pro una, quia utraque fuit pro actuali dignitate regni adipiscenda. Thirdly, when Isboseth, the son of Saul, was killed, he reigned over the whole of Israel (as is related at) 2 King 5. These two anointings were counted as one, because both were done for acquiring the real dignity of the kingship.
In prima passus est persecutionem a Saule, sed post secundam et tertiam regnavit in pace. Sed contra de Absalone. In the first (annointing), he suffered persecution from Saul, but after the second and the third (annointing), he reigned in peace. But the contrary (to this view is presented) with respect to Absalom.
Respondeo dicendum, quod non est passus persecutionem ab extraneis, sed ab Absalone et Siba: et ideo fecit hunc Psalmum ante secundam unctionem. I respond by saying that he did not suffer persecution from strangers, but from Absalon and Siba: and hence he wrote this psalm before the second anointing.
Melius tamen videtur ut referantur ad Christum duae unctiones in novo testamento, scilicet regis, et sacerdotis. Et Christus fuit unctus oleo Spiritus sancti: Psal. 44: Unxit te Deus etc. in regem et sacerdotem. Et haec unctio derivatur usque ad nos: Psal. 132: Sicut unguentum in capite quod descendit in barbam barbam Aaron; Io. 1: De plenitudine eius omnes accepimus. However, (the matter) is better understood as it is referred to the two anointings of Christ in the New Testament, namely of a king and a priest. Christ was anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit: Psalm 44: God hath anointed thee etc. a king and priest. And this anointing is even dispensed to us: Psalm 132: Like the precious ointment on the head, that ran down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron; John 1: Of his fullness we all have received.
Primo ergo ungimur sacerdotali unctione in figura futuri regni: erimus enim reges et liberi. Et quia adhuc patimur hostes, postea ungemur dupliciter actuali gloria, scilicet stola gloriae animae et corporis. Therefore we first anoint with the priestly oil in the prefiguration of the kingdom to come: for we will be kings and free people. And because we as yet suffer enemies, we will thereafter be anointed twice with actual glory, namely with the robe of the heavenly glorification of the soul and the body.
Christus autem primo fuit unctus unctione gratiae, postea gloriae. Dividitur ergo Psalmus iste in tres partes. In prima ponit fiduciam de Deo conceptam. In secunda ostendit desiderium ex fiducia conceptum, ibi, Unam petii. Tertio ponit desiderii impletionem, ibi, Exaudi Domine. However, Christ was first anointed with an anointing of grace, and thereafter of glory. Therefore, the psalm is divided into three parts. In the first part, he sets down the trust received from God. In the second, he shows the desire received from this trust, at, One thing I have asked. Thirdly he sets down the fulfilment of this desire, at, Hear O Lord.
Circa primum tria facit. Primo commemorat beneficia sibi a Deo praestita propter quae non timet, sed securus est. Secundo commemorat impedimenta parata a Deo, ibi, Dum appropiant. Tertio ostendit fiduciam quam habet a Deo, ibi, Si consistant. Concerning the first he does three things. First he commemorates the good things given to him by God on account of which he does not fear but is made secure. Secondly, he commemorates the obstacles put forward by God, at, Whilst the wicked draw near. Thirdly, he shows the confidence which he has from God, at, If armies encamp.
Notandum autem, quod ad timendum concitatur quis aliquando ex interiori causa, quandoque ex exteriori causa. Now it should be noted that at times, one is impelled to feeling fear by reason of an interior cause, and at other times from an exterior cause.
Primo ergo ponit auxilium contra primam causam. Secundo contra secundam, ibi, Dominus protector. Therefore he first proposes help in opposition to the first cause, and then in opposition to the second, at, The Lord (is my helper and my) protector (Psalm 27).
Est autem duplex causa intrinseca timoris, ignorantia, et debilitas: unde in tenebris magis timendum est. Secunda causa timoris est debilitas; et contra has est remedium a Deo. Now there are two intrinsic causes of fear, (namely) ignorance and weakness. Hence in the darkness (of these? or of the first?) there is much to be feared. The second cause of fear is weakness, and in opposition to (both of) these there is assistance from God.
Contra primum est illuminatio; unde dicit, Dominus illuminatio mea: Mich. 8. Cum sedero in tenebris, Dominus lux mea est. Contra secundum est salus; unde sequitur, Et salus mea: Ps. 61. In Deo salutare meum et gloria mea, Deus auxilii mei, et spes mea in Deo est. In opposition to the first, there is illumination or light; and hence he says, The Lord is my light; Micheas 7: When I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light. In opposition to the second, there is salvation; hence it follows, And my salvation; Psalm 61: In God is my salvation and my glory: he is the God of my help, and my hope is in God.
Et ideo ostendit fiduciam, Quem timebo, sic illuminatus et sic salvatus? Isa. 51.
Quis es tu ut timeas ab homine mortali, et a filio hominis, qui quasi foenum sic arcscet? Ro. 8. Deus qui iustificat, quis est qui condemnet? Et Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos?
And thus he shows confidence, Whom shall I fear, as one illuminated and thus saved? Isaiah 51: Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a mortal man, and of the son of man, who shall wither away like grass? Romans 8: (Who shall accuse against the elect of God?) God that justifieth. Who is he that shall condemn? And If God be for us, who is against us?
Causa extrinseca est homo, qui adversatur, sed adhuc non est timendum, quia Dominus opponit se sicut scutum; unde dicit, Dominus protector vitae meae: Gen. 15. Ego protector tuus et merces tua magna nimis. The extrinsic cause is man who resists, but is still not to be feared, because the Lord sets Himself against (him) as a shield; hence he says, The Lord is the protector of my life – Genesis 15: I am thy protector and thy reward exceeding great.
Et ideo dicit, A quo trepidabo. A quo si sumatur masculine, tunc est sensus, A quo, scilicet a quo homine. Si neutraliter, a qua re. Et sic nihil est timendum, nec homo, nec res aliqua, Dum appropiant super me nocentes. Et quia posset dici quod Deus est illuminator etiam hostium, ideo hoc removens dicit quod Deus obsistit eis. And so he says, Of whom shall I be afraid. If “Of whom” (quo) is understood in the masculine, then the sense is, Of whom, namely “Of what man”. If in the neuter, “Of what thing”. And so nothing is to be feared, neither man, nor some thing, Whilst the wicked draw near against me. And because it can be said that God is the illuminator even of our enemies, for this reason he says that in removing this (from them) God opposes them.
Et primo dicit eorum conatum. Secundo ponit impedimentum eis superveniens, ibi, Ipsi infirmati sunt etc. Circa primum tria facit. Primo praemittit praesumptuosum insultum. Secundo perversum actum. Tertio magnum effectum. He first speaks about what they attempt to do. Secondly he sets out the impediment overcoming them, there, at, Have themselves been weakened etc. Concerning the first he does three things. First he sets forth (their) presumptuous insult, second, a perverse act, and third, a great effect.
Quantum ad primum dicit, Dum appropiant super me nocentes, idest habentes animum nocendi, Super me, idest mihi se praeferentes: Thre. 1. Facti sunt hostes eius in capite, usque ante faciem etc. With regard to the first, he says, Whilst the wicked, that is, those having a mind to do harm, draw near against me, that is, placing themselves before me – Lamentations 1: Her adversaries are become her lords…even before the face…etc.
Quantum ad secundum ut scilicet graviter affligant, Ut edant carnes meas, idest carnalem vitam: Prov. 1. Deglutiamus eum, sicut infernus vicentem, et integrum: Mich. 3. Carnem populi comederunt, et pellem eorum desuper excoriaverunt. With respect to the second, (the wicked draw near against me) so that they might seriously injure (me), To eat my flesh, that is my carnal life – Proverbs 1: Let us swallow him up alive…and whole as one that goeth down into the pit; Micheas 3: They have eaten the flesh of my people, and have flayed their skin from off them.
Vel ut ly ut teneatur consecutive, ut sit sensus, Edant carnes, idest carnalitates meas, quia quando mali persequuntur bonos, aliud intendunt ipsi mali, sive ipsi persecutores, scilicet offensionem corporalem; et secundum hoc est prima expositio: aliud indendit Deus hoc permittens, scilicet purgationem ab omni carnalitate; et sic secunda expositio. Or so that the “ut” may be taken as indicating a consequence, so that the meaning (of) They eat my flesh is (that they eat) my carnal acts, because when evil men persecute the good, these evil men, or persecutors, intend one thing, namely a bodily offense; and this is what the first interpretation is about: however, in permitting this, God intends another thing, namely, the purgation from every carnal act; and thus the second interpretation.
Et hoc modo dicit Apostolus Gal. 5. Qui Christi sunt, carnem suam crucifixerunt cum vitiis et concupiscentiis. And the Apostle speaks in the same manner in Galatians 5: And they that are Christ’s, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences.
Quantum ad tertium dicit, Qui tribulant me inimici mei: Ps. 12. Qui tribulant me exultabunt si motus fuero. Ipsi infirmati sunt, quia non valuerunt implere propositum, Et ceciderunt, quia superati sunt, et absorpti: Hiere. 20. Dominus mecum est tamquam bellator fortis, idcirco qui persequuntur me, cadent et infirmi erunt. With respect to the third, he says, My enemies that trouble me (Psalm 12: They that trouble me will rejoice when I am moved) have themselves been weakened, because they have not been strong enough to enact what they had planned, And they have fallen, because they were overcome and swallowed up – Jeremiah 20: But the Lord is with me as a strong warrior; therefore they that persecute me shall fall, and shall be weak
b. Si consistant. Homo debet habere securitatem in duobus. Primo in praeparatione malorum. Secundo in eorum passione, ibi, Exurgam. If armies in camp. Man ought to have security in two things. First, against the plots of evildoers. Secondly, in the suffering of them, at, I will arise.
Dicit ergo, Dominus sic est illuminatio mea, quia inimici cadunt coram me. Glossa, Si consistant adversum me castra. He says therefore that in this way The Lord is my light, because my enemies fall before me. The Gloss has, If armies in camp should stand together against me.
Castra sunt ubi steterunt milites, Non timentes cor meum. Quamdiu homo est in castris, non pugnat, sed disponit, et consiliat ad pugnandum. Camps are where soldiers abide, Not fearing my heart. (?) As long as a man is in camp, he does not fight, but prepares, and takes counsel for the purpose of fighting.
Per castra intelliguntur consilia et coniurationes malorum contra aliquem, 4. Reg. 19. Angelus Domini percussit castra Assyriorum: Exo. 14. Factum est in vigilia matutina, et ecce ascendit Dominus super castra, et percussit. By (the word) “camp” is understood the counsels and conspiracies of evildoers against someone – 4 Kings 19: An angel of the Lord… slew…the camps of the Assyrians; Exodus 14: And now the morning watch was come, and behold the Lord (descended) upon the camp…and (smote it).
Non timebit cor meum, quia Dominus mecum est: Iob 17. Pone me iuxta te, et cuiusvis manus pugnet contra me. My heart will not fear, because the Lord is with me – Job 17:3 (Deliver me, O Lord, and) set me beside thee, and let any man’s hand fight against me.
Sed, Si exurgat adversum me praelium, idest si iam invadant me, et pralientur contra me, quamvis sint multi: In hoc ego sperabo: quia, ut dicitur 1 Mach. 3. Non in multitudine exercitus victoria belli, sed de coelo fortitudo est. Est enim consuetudo amicorum inter amicos, cum impugnantur ab hostibus: Psal. 93. Consolationes tuae laetificaverunt animam meam. But, If a battle should rise up against me, that is, if they should now invade and fight against me, (then) however how many they may be, In this will I be confident: because, as it is said at 1 Machabees 3: The success of war is not in the multitude of the army, but strength cometh from heaven. For there is a bond of custom of friends among friends when they are attacked by enemies: Psalm 93: Thy comforts have given joy to my soul.
c. Unam petii. Supra Psalmista posuit fiduciam ex oratione conceptam; hic autem ponit desiderium, quod ex hac fiducia oritur: et circa hoc duo facit. One thing I have asked. Previously, the psalmist set down the trust received from prayer; however, here he sets down a desire which arises from this trust: and concerning this he does two things.
Primo proponit desiderium. Secundo causam desiderii assignat, ibi, Quoniam abscondit me. First, he sets forth (this) desire, and secondly assigns a cause to it, at, For he hath hidden me.
Circa primum tria facit. Primo describit qualitatem desiderii. Secundo ipsam rem desideratam, ibi, Ut inhabitem. Tertio intentionem finis, ibi, Ut viderem voluntatem. Concerning the first he does three things. First, he describes the quality of the desire, secondly the desired thing itself, at, That I may dwell, and thirdly the intention of the end, at, That I might see the delight.
Desiderii ergo qualitas in duobus consistit, scilicet in unitate, et solicitudine: et utrumque pertinet ad perfectionem desiderii. The quality, then, of a desire consists in two things, namely, in (its) unity and solicitude: and both of these pertain to the perfection (in the sense of completion/realization) of desire.
Perfectio enim desiderii dependet ex perfectione causae suae, scilicet amoris, qui quando est perfectus, primo congregat in unum omne, vires, et movet eum in amatum. For the perfection of desire depends on the perfection of its cause, namely of love, which, when perfected, first gathers together the powers (of a person) into a single whole and moves it toward the thing loved.
Est enim secundum Augustinum pondus amantis. Res autem ponderosa sine vacillatione tendit ad unum, sed non sic si res non est bene ponderosa; sed divinus amor facit totum hominem in Deum tendere sine vacillatione: Psal. 72. Quid enim mihi est in coelo, et a te quid volui super terram? Gregorius: Vis amoris studium multiplicat inquisitionis. For this, according to Augustine, is the weight of the one who loves. The weighty thing, however, tends without wavering to one thing, but not as if the thing were well-weighted (in the sense of being well-balanced, finding its non-vacillation in its own weight); on the contrary, divine love makes the whole man tend toward God without wavering: Psalm 72: For what have I in heaven? and besides thee what do I desire upon earth? St. Gregory: The power of love multiplies the zeal of the examination.
Hoc fecit Anna prophetissa, quae non discedebat de templo, ieiuniis et orationibus serviens die ac nocte. Et ideo dicitur Luc. 10. Porro unum est necessarium; unde dicit, Unam petii, idest unam rem, vel unam petitionem: 3 Reg. 2. Unam petitionem parvulam ego deprecor a te, ne confundas faciem meam. This is what the prophetess Anna did, when she would not leave the temple, serving day and night with fasting and prayer. And hence it is said at Luke 10:42: But one thing is necessary; hence he says, One thing I have asked, that is, one thing or petition: 3 Kings 2: I desire one small petition of thee, do not put me to confusion.
Secundo solicitat cum sit sicut stimulus et ignis, amor: Cant. 8. Lampades eius lampades ignis: 2. Cor. 9. Charitas Dei urget nos. Unde dicit, Hanc requiram: Isa. 21. Si quaeritis, quaerite: Matt. 7. Quarerite et invenietis. Secondly, love solicits as if it were a sting (or goad) and a fire: Song of Songs 8: (for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell,) the lamps thereof are fire (and flames); 2 Corinthians 5:14: The charity of (Christ) presseth us. Hence he says, This I will seek after; Isaiah 21: If you seek, seek; Matthew 7: Seek and you shall find.
Consequenter ponitur res petita; unde dicit, Ut inhabitem in domo Domini. Domus Domini spiritualis est duplex, et tertia est materialis, scilicet ecclesia, in qua morari salutiferum est: Gen. 28. Non est hic aliud nisi domus Dei et porta coeli: nam in ea excitatur animus hominis ad devotionem. Subsequently, the petitioned thing is set down. Hence he says, That I may dwell in the house of the Lord. The “house of the Lord” is spiritual in a two-fold way, and material in a third, namely, the Church, in which to dwell is healing: Genesis 28: There is no other (place) but the house of God, and the gate of heaven: for in it the soul of man is excited to devotion.
Domus spiritualis Dei est ecclesia militans: 1. Tim. 3. Ut scias quomodo oporteat te conversari in domo Dei, quae est ecclesia Dei vivi, columna et firmamentum veritatis. The spiritual house of God is the Church militant: 1 Timothy 3: (But if I tarry long,) that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Alia est ecclesia triumphans: 2. Cor. 5. Si terrestris domus nostra huius habitationis dissolvatur, quod aedificationem ex Deo habemus domum non manufactam, sed aeternam in coelis. The other is the Church triumphant: 2 Corinthians 5: For we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.
De utraque ergo potest hoc intelligi, quia haec domus via est ad illum et porta eius: Ps. 117. Haec porta Domini, iusti intrabunt per eam. Et ideo desiderandum est habitare in hac domo, scilicet ecclesia. Et hoc omnibus diebus vitae meae, idest usque in finem: Ps. 131. Haec requies mea in saeculum saeculi, hic habitabo, quoniam elegi eam. From both of these, then, it can be understood that this house is the way to Him and His gate: Psalm 117: This is the gate of the Lord, the just shall enter into it. And thus one must desire to live in this house, namely, the Church. And this, All the days of my life, that is, up to the end: Psalm 131: This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it.
Habitat autem quis in domo Dei per fidem, et charitatem, et conformitatem bonorum operum: Ps. 67. Qui habitare facis unius moris in domo. Et laudabile est, quod semper in ea habitet, et non separetur ab ea. Now, a person lives in the house of God through faith, charity, and the conformity of (his) good works: Psalm 67: (You who) make (men) of one manner to dwell in (your) house. And it is praiseworthy, that one should live in it always, and not be separated from it.
Separatur autem homo ab ecclesia per peccatum, per excommunicationem, et per schisma, vel haeresim. Qui ergo usque in finem habitat in ea, idest in ista ecclesia, habitabit in illa in perpetuum: Ps. 83. Beati qui habitant in domo tua Domine. But man is separated from the Church through sin, excommunication, and schism or heresy. Therefore, he who lives in it, that is the Church itself, right up to the end, will live in it for perpetuity: Psalm 83: Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord.
Hic contra ponitur intentio, scilicet, Ut videam etc. Et ponit duo, quia Ut videam voluntatem, et visitem templum eius. Alia litera habet, Ut continuo habitem. Here, on the other hand, (his) intention is set down, namely, That I may see etc. And he sets down two things, That I may see the delight (of the Lord), and may visit his temple. Another version has, So that I might dwell continuously.
Hieronymus habet, ut est meritum, secundum Augustinum: Io. 17. Haec est vita aeterna ut cognoscant etc. Jerome has, So that it is merited, according to Augustine (‘s commentary on ?) John 17: This is eternal life: That they might know (thee) etc.
Tria sunt in illa visione desideranda, quae naturaliter homo desiderat videre. There are three things to be desired in this vision, which man naturally desires to see.
Primo pulchra. Summa pulchritudo est in ipso Deo, quia pulchritudo in formositate consistit, Deus autem est ipsa forma informans omnia, ideo dicit secundum unam literam, Ut videam delectationes Domini: Sap. 13. Si specie delectati deos putaverunt, sciant quanto his dominator eorum speciosior est: speciei enim generator haec omnia constituit. First there is beauty. The highest beauty is in God himself, since beauty consists in the finely formed; but God is that very form which fashions all things. Hence, according to one version, he says So that I might see the delightful things of the Lord: Wisdom 13: (With whose beauty,) if they, being delighted, took them to be gods: let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they: for the first author of beauty made all those things.
Secundo delectabilia, et fugere tristitiam, et ideo secunda litera habet, Ut contemplem delectationes Domini, idest bonitatem Dei, in qua est summa delectatio: Ps. 15. Delectationes in dextera tua usque in finem. Secondly, (man, in this vision, naturally desires to see) delightful things, and to flee sorrow. And thus a second version has, So that I may contemplate the delights of the Lord, that is, the goodness of God, in which can be found the highest delight: Psalm 15: At thy right hand are delights even to the end.
Tertio disposito rerum. Unde multum est delectabile scire scientiam omnium rerum, quae in mundo sunt; et ideo videre dispositionem divinae providentiae est maxime delectabile. Et ideo dicit, Ut videam voluntatem Domini, rationem a Deo volitam et dispositam: Rom. 12. Probetis quae sit voluntas Dei bona, beneplacens, et perfecta. Thirdly, (man, in this vision, naturally desires to see) the disposition (or order) of things. Whence great is the delight to have an intellectual knowledge of every thing that is in the world. For that reason to see (things in light of) the disposition of divine providence is the most delightful thing. Thus he says, That I may see the delight of the Lord, (that is to say) the pattern (or order) that is willed and established by God: Romans 12: That you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.
Haec autem habemus in vita ista imperfecte et per fidem, in futura autem domo habebimus perfecte, ubi sunt sancti contemplantes Deum facie ad faciem: 2. Cor. 3. Nos autem revelata facie gloriam Domini contemplantes etc. However, in this life, we have this imperfectly and through faith. But in the future we will have it perfectly in (His) house, where the saints are contemplating God face to face: 2 Corinthians 3:18. But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face etc.
Sancti ergo qui sunt in patria, dirigunt contemplationem in ipsum Deum, et etiam in his quae sunt ad ipsum Deum ordinata: et ideo dicit, Ut visitem templum eius, idest frequenter videam templum, idest humanitatem Christi: Io. 2. Hoc autem dicebat de templo corporis sui. The saints, then, who are in heaven, direct their contemplation upon God himself, and also upon those things ordered to God himself. For this reason, he says, And may visit his temple, namely that I may see frequently his temple, that is to say, the humanity of Christ: John 2: But he spoke of the temple of his body.
Vel, Visitem, sive videam ipsam ordinationem ecclesiae: 1. Cor. 3. Templum Dei sanctum est, quod estis vos. Or, I may visit, (that is to say) see, the very ordination of the Church: 1 Corinthians 3: The temple of God is holy, which you are.
Item dispositionem totius mundi; ideo in psalmo hebraico habetur, Et diluculo, idest diluculo ut maneam: Ps. 5. Mane astabo tibi. Again, (this disposition could refer to) the disposition of the whole world. Thus is it understood in the Hebraic (version of this) psalm, And at daybreak, that is, at daybreak I will abide: Psalm 5: In the morning I will stand before thee.
d. Quoniam. Hic assignatur ratio desiderii habitandi in domo Dei; quasi dicat, quare tantum petis habitare in domo Dei? Ratio est ex beneficiis perceptis: et circa hoc duo facit. Quia primo ponit ipsa beneficia. Secundo addit recompensationem, ibi, Circuivi. For. Here the reason for desiring to dwell in the house of God is indicated; it is as if he were saying, “Why do you seek so much to live in the house of God?” The reason is on account of the benefits obtained. Concerning this he does two things. First he sets down the benefits themselves. Second, he adds the compensation, at, I have gone round.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo ponit beneficium protectionis a malo. Secundo beneficium promotionis in bonum, ibi, In petra exaltasi me. Concerning the first he does two things. First he sets down the benefit of protection from evil. Secondly, the benefit of advancement in the good, at, He hath exalted me upon a rock.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo proponit beneficium. Secundo eius necessitatem ostendit, ibi, In die malorum. Concerning the first he does two things. First he sets forth a benefit. Secondly, he shows its necessity, at, In the day of evils.
Dicit ergo, Quare petis habitare in domo Domini? ideo scilicet Quia abscondit me in tabernaculo tuo. Et secundum literam 1. Reg. 24. quando David fugit ad tutiora loca Engaddi et abscondit se ibi. Unde loquitur ex persona fugientis et latentis in aliquo loco. And so, he says, “Why do you seek to live in the house of the Lord?” For this reason, namely, (Because) he hath hidden me in his tabernacle. And according to the text at 1 Samuel 24 when David fled to guarded places in Engaddi and hid himself there. Hence (this passage in the psalms) is spoken from the point of view of someone fleeing and hiding himself in another place.
Ad literam Tabernaculum erat locus in quo orantes divino auxilio protegebantur, et maxime in sancta sanctorum, ubi erat propitiatorium, et sic vocabant tabernaculum ipsam Dei defensionem, sicut in Ps. 90. dicitur: Sacpulis suis obumbrabit tibi, et sub pennis eius sperabis etc. Deut. 32. Expandit alas suos, et asuumpsit eos, atque portavit in humeris suis. Literally, the Tabernacle was a place in which people who were praying were protected by divine help, and chiefly in the holy of holies, where there was the propitiatory. They thus called the tabernacle itself the defense of God, as it is said in Psalm 90:4: He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust etc.; Deuteronomy 32: He spread his wings, and hath taken him and carried him on his shoulders.
Sed mystice tabernaculum potest dici humanitas assumpta, sive caro Christi in qua abscondit nos per fidem et spem: Col. 1. Abscondita est vita vestra in Deo. Vel aliter tabernaculum dicitur tota dispositio ecclesiae, et in utroque istorum absconditur homo iustus, quia in isto tabernaculo, quaedam latent sub manifestis: latentia sunt invisibilia et spiritualia ubi morantur boni. But mystically the tabernacle can be called the assumed humanity, or the flesh of Christ in which he hides us through faith and hope: Colossians 3: Your life is hid (with Christ) in God. Or in another way, the tabernacle is called the total disposition of the church. And in both of these, the just man is hidden, because in this tabernacle, certain things are concealed under things that are apparent: concealed things are invisible and spiritual, wherein good people abide.
Mali autem morantur in exterioribus: Isa. 4. Tabernaculum erit in umbraculum diei ab aestu. Sed quid contulit haec absconsio, immo necesse erat mihi, In die malorum, vel omnium illorum malorum quae tunc imminebant. Bad people, however, abide in external things: Isaiah 4: And there shall be a tabernacle for a shade in the daytime from the heat. But whatever this hiding contributes, it was indeed necessary for me, In the day of evil, or from all of those evil thing that were threatening.
Et simile est, quia quando hostes, vel tribulatio imminet, illi soli salvabuntur, qui in civitate reperientur: ita in tribulatione illi pereunt, qui circa haec exteriora habent affectum, quia facta tribulatione circa ista tales commoventur. Abscondit ergo ipse Deus, vel Christus, vel mens iusti: Mat. 6. Pater tuus qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi. And similarly, when an army or tribulation is imminent, only those who are found in the city, will be saved: thus those in tribulation who have affection for these external things will perish because when tribulation concerning such things does indeed strike, they will be much shaken. Therefore God himself, or Christ, or the mind of the just man hides: Matthew 6: Thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee.
e. In petra. Hic proponit aliud beneficium promotionis in bonum, et est duplex. Unum exaltationis quantum ad se. Secundum quantum ad hostes, ibi, Nunc exaltavit caput me. Dicit ergo, In petra exaltasti me. Secundum literam alludit ad ea, quae circa eum sunt gesta, quia quando persecutionem patiebatur, ibat per petras invias, 1. Reg. 24. Sed quando evasit, Tunc exaltavit cor meum super inimicos meos. Upon a rock. Here he proposes another benefit of being promoted in the good, and this is twofold. One is the exaltation in regard to oneself. The second is with regard to one’s enemies, when he says, Now he hath lifted up my head. Thus he says, He hath exalted me upon a rock. Literally, he alludes to those things which had been done to him, because when he was suffering persecution, he went through impassable rocks, 1 Samuel 24. But when he had escaped, then he hath lifted up my (heart) above my enemies.
Sed mystice exponitur, In petra exaltasti me, idest in Christo: 1. Cor. 10. Petra autem erat Christus. Vel, In petra, idest in Deo: 2. Reg. 22. Dominus petra mea: Ps. 60. Dum anxiaretur cor meum, in petra exaltasti me. But it is explained mystically (in the following way): He hath exalted me upon a rock, that is, in Christ: 1 Corinthians 10: And the rock was Christ. Or, Upon a rock, that is, in God: 2 Kings 22: The Lord is my rock; Psalm 60: When my heart was in anguish, thou hast exalted me on a rock.
Et nunc iam exaltavit; quasi dicat, istud feci in spe, sed nunc in re. Exaltasti caput meum, idest mentem meam, super inimicos meos, idest super omnes appetitus meos: Gen. 4. Subtus te erit appetitus tuus. And now he has already exalted; it is as if he were saying, ‘I did this thing in hope, but now I do it in actuality.’ Thou hath lifted up my head, that is, my mind, Above my enemies, that is, above all my lusts: Genesis 4: (Your) lust shall be under thee.
f. Circuivi. Hic ponitur recompensatio beneficii; et ponit duo. Primo sacrificium, Et immolavi. Secundo canticum. I have gone round. At this point, (the psalmist) sets forth the benefit’s compensation; and this, in regard to two things. First, a sacrifice at, And have offered up. And second, a canticle.
Secundum Hieronymum coniungitur cum praecedentibus, Super inimicos meos, et in circuitu nostro sunt. Circuivi, idest circa steti, devotas preces offerendo pro eis: Ps. 108. Prout me diligerent, idest deberent, detrahebant etc. According to Jerome, (circuivi) is joined with the preceding, Above my enemies, and they are in our circle. I have gone round, that is, I have stood around there in offering devoted entreaties on their behalf: Psalm 108: Instead of making me a return of love, that is, as they ought to, they detracted me etc.
Vel circa altare steti: Eccl. 50: Et ipse stans circa aram etc. Item strenui militis est circuire et protegere castra, sicut dicitur de Iuda 1. Mac. 3. Protegebat castra gladio suo: unde Circuivi, idest protexi. Or, (circuivi could be read as) I have stood around the altar: Ecclesiasticus 50: He himself stood by (iuxta) the altar. Again, it is proper to a strenuous soldier to circle and protect the camp, just as it is said of Juda at 1 Macc 3: He protected the camp with his sword. Hence, I have gone round, that is, I have protected.
Vel circuitus iste refertur ad contemplationem. Circulus duo propria habet inter alias figuras. Unum, quia est capacior alias. Aliud est, quod est totus uniformis sine angulo, et convenit contemplationi. Primo quantum ad capacitatem, quia tunc dicitur circuire contemplando, quando omnia quae consideranda sunt, contemplatur; unde dicit, Circuivi, idest consideravi omnia dona tua, et ecclesiae beneficia Or the passing around refers to contemplation. Among other figures, the circle has two things proper to it. One, that it is more capacious than other things, and two, that it is completely uniform and without angle, and this is appropriate to contemplation. First with respect to its capacity, for in contemplating one is said to go around, when everything which is to be considered is contemplated. Hence, he says, I have gone round, that is, I have considered all of your gifts, and the benefits of the church.
Beatus Dionysius posuit triplicem motum, scilicet cicularem, rectum, et obliquum. Recto motu semper movetur aliquid difformiter, quia semper habet diversam distantiam, et ideo in contemplando motus est rectus, quando uno ad aliud quis movetur considerando processum rerum. Blessed Dionysius posited three kinds of motion, namely, circular, straight and oblique. By straight motion, something is always moved in an irregular way, since it always has a distance is different directions. Therefore in contemplating, motion is straight when someone is moved in considering the process of things from one (state/place) to another.
Circulari motu movetur aliquis contemplando, quando conceptio animae est uniformis: et tunc dicitur circularis, quando scilicet revocat animam a rebus. Et primo congregat in se, postea unitur spiritualibus, et postea ascendit in contemplationem unius Dei. Someone is moved in a circular motion in contemplating when the comprehension of the soul is uniform. It is then called circular when it (this comprehension) withdraws the soul from things. First, the soul collects into itself (having withdrawn from external things), after which it is united to spiritual things, and then ascends to the contemplation of the one God.
Obliquus motus est compositus ex utroque, quando quis procedit ex consideratone creaturarum, sed hanc ordinat in consideratione Dei. Et ideo dicit, Circuivi, quantum ad uniformitatem: Ezec. 1. Hic erat aspectus splendoris per gyrum. Oblique motion, a composite of the other two, is when one proceeds from a consideration of created things, but orders this to a consideration of God. And so he says, I have gone round, in regard to uniformity: Ezec. 1: This was the appearance of the brightness round about. [Note: for a more detailed description of Thomas’s views concerning Dionysius’s description of contemplation, see ST. II-II. 180. 6.]
Et immolavi. Est autem duplex sacrificium, scilicet interius quo homo animum suum dat Deo spiritus; Ps. 50: sacrificium Deo (scilicet acceptum Deo) est spiritus contribulatus. Et omne exterius sacrificium ordinatur ad repraesendum illud; unde Augustinus dicit, Quando offers hoc exterius est ut repraesentes animum tuum Deo. And have offered up. There are two kinds of sacrifice, namely an interior one by which man gives his mind to God in spirit; Psalm 50: A sacrifice to God (that is, one which is accepted by God) is an afflicted spirit. [Note: see Thomas’s discussion of this at ST. II-II. 85. 2]. And every exterior sacrifice is ordered to representing this. Hence Augustine says, When you offer this, it is exterior in such a way that you represent your mind to God.
Sed quia omnis repraesentatio fit per aliqua signa, inter quae primatum tenent verba, ideo inter sacrificia videtur praeeminentiam habere sacrificium laudis: Ps. 49. Sacrificium laudis honorficabit me; unde dicit, Immolavi in tabernaculo eius hostiam, non pecorum, sed potius, Hostiam vociferationis, idest divinae laudis. But since every representation is done through signs, among which words hold first place, a sacrifice of praise would seem to have preeminence among sacrifices: Psalm 49: The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me. Hence he says, I have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice, not of sheep, but rather, A sacrifice of jubilation, that is, of divine praise.
Et hac vociferatione, Cantabo, tibi, scilicet canticum et laetitiam mentis et rectitudinem operis: Psal. 107. Paratum cor meum. Cantabo; quasi dicat, Paratum cor habeo ad serviendum tibi, cum laetitia mentis: Ps. 99. Servite Domino in laetitia. And by this jubilation, I will sing, to you, namely a canticle, the joy of mind and the rectitude of deed: Psalm 107: My heart is ready. I will sing. It is as if he were saying, I have a heart ready to serve you with joy of mind: Psalm 99: Serve ye the Lord with gladness.
g. Exaudi. Supra Psalmista posuit suum desiderium; hic prorumpit ad petendum rem desideratam: et circa hoc tria facit. Primo petit exaudiri. Secundo proponit petitionem, ibi Tibi dixit cor meum. Tertio ostendit fiduciam quam habet de exauditione, ibi, Credo videre bona Domini. Hear. The Psalmist set down his desire above; here, he breaks forth so as to petition for the thing desired: and concerning this he does three things. First, he petitions to be heard. Secondly, he sets forth the petition, at, My heart hath said to thee. Thirdly, he shows the confidence which he has of being heard, at, I believe to see the good things of the Lord.
Ad hoc ergo quod exaudiatur, inducit duas rationes. Unam ex devotione propria. Aliam ex sua miseria. Devotio est causa, quod audiatur a Deo aliquis. Devotio est clamor cordis, qui excitat Deum ad audiendum; et ideo dicit, Exaudi: quia clamavi non exterius, sed interius: Iac. 5. Clamor eorum ad aures Domini Sabaoth introivit. And so, he gives two reasons why he is to be heard. The first is on account of his own devotion. The other is because of his misery. Devotion is the reason that someone is heard by God. Devotion is a cry of the heart, which rouses God to hear; and therefore he says, Hear: because I have cried not exteriorly, but interiorly: James 5: The cry of them hath entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Item miseria nostra provocat ad exaudiendum: Exo. 3. Videns vidi afflictionem populi mei, et descendi liberare eum; unde dicit, Miserere mei, et exaudi me; quasi dicat, me miserum, et meam miseriam cognosco, unde tuum est misereri: Iudith 9. Exaudi me miseram deprecantem. Again, our misery provokes (God) to hear: Exodus 3: [Seeing,] I have seen the affliction of my people…and I have come down to deliver them…; hence he says, Have mercy on me and hear me; it is as if he were saying, “[Hear] me a poor wretch, and I know my misery. Hence it belongs to you to be merciful”: Judith 9: Hear me a poor wretch making supplication (to thee…).
h. Tibi. Hic ponit petitiones. Et primo petit divinae faciei prospectum. Secundo divinum auxilium, ibi, Adiutor meus es tu. Tertio viae suae directivum, ibi, Legem pone mihi Domine. To thee. Here he sets out (his) petitions. And first he asks for a view of the divine countenance. Secondly for divine help, at, [Be thou] my helper. Thirdly, for the directing of His way, at, Set me, O Lord, a law.
Circa primum ostendit, quod de re petita habet magnum desiderium, et intimum, et anxium, et assiduum. Intimum, quia tibi dixit cor meum. Aliquando homo aliquid petit ore, sed cor eius ad alia versatur: Matth. 7. Non omnis qui dicit mihi Domine etc. Isa. 29. Populus hic labiis me honorat etc. Concerning the first he shows that he has a great desire for the thing petitioned, one that is innermost, anxious and constant. Innermost, because My heart hath said to thee. Sometimes a man petitions for something with his mouth, but his heart is engaged in other things: Matthew 7: Not every one that saith to me “Lord” etc.; Isaiah 29: This people…with their lips they glorify me (but their heart is far from me).
Sed quando petito est ex intimo desiderio cordis, tunc est Deo accepta, sed tunc non os tantum immo cor petit: 2. Regum 7. Invenit servus tuus cor suum ut oraret te oratione hac: Ps. 118. Clamavi in toto corde. But when the petition is from the innermost desire of the heart, then it is accepted by God, yet then it is not so much the mouth but rather the heart that petitions: 2 Kings 7: [Therefore hath] thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer to thee; Psalm 118: I cried with my whole heart.
Anxium et aequum dicit habere, cum dicit, Exquisivit te etc. Contingit aliquando quod desiderium est intimum et quietum et multum quaerit; sed quando est anxium tunc vere quaerit; unde dicit, Exquisivit te, idest frequenter et diligenter quaesivit. He is said to be anxious and right, when he says, (My face) hath sought thee. Sometimes it happens that one seeks a desire which is innermost, peaceful and great. But when one is anxious, one then truly seeks. Hence he says, (My face) hath sought thee, that is, he has sought frequently and diligently.
Et hoc etiam ostendit aequum desiderium, quia imago non perficitur nisi pertingat ad exemplar, ad quod est facta; unde dicit, Exquisivit te facies mea. And this also exhibits a right desire, for an image is not perfected unless it extends itself so far as to the exemplar in the likeness of which it was made; hence he says, My face hath sought thee.
Facies hominis interior est, in qua visus est interior, idest anima sive mens rationalis, et haec, scilicet Facies mea quae est facta ad imaginem tuam, Exquisivit te. The face of man is interior, in that (his) sight is interior, that is, (his) soul or rational mind, and this, namely, My face, which is made according to your image, Hath sought thee.
Unde non potest reformari et perfici nisi iungatur tibi Domine. Unde sicut quaelibet res quaerit suam perfectionem, ita mens nostra quaerit Deum. Et ostendit quod sit assiduum, quia Requiram, idest iterum et iterum quaeram: Isa. 21. Si quaeritis, quaerite: Matth. 7. Quaerite et invenientis. Hence, it is not possible to be reformed or perfected unless one is joined to thee, O Lord. And so, just as each thing seeks its own perfection, so too does our mind seek God. And he shows that it (his desire) is continuous, that I will seek, that is, I will seek again and again (Note: Thomas plays upon the difference between requiram and quaeram, where the former with the addition of the prefix re- indicates the notion of repetition); Isaiah 21: If you seek, seek; Matthew 7: Seek and you shall find.
Hoc est proprium diligentis, quaerere saepe rem dilectam. Et quid quaerit, ostendit cum dicit, Faciem tuam Domine requiram. Hoc petebat Moyses Exo. 33. Ostende mihi faciem tuam. Et Dominus non statim ostendit, sed dixit, Ostendam tibi omne bonum: Luc. 10. Beati oculi qui vident quae vos videntis. This is a particular mark of the one who loves, to seek often after the thing loved. And he indicates what he seeks when he says, Thy face, O Lord, will I still seek. This is what Moses was asking for in Exodus 33: Show me thy face. And the Lord did not immediately show it, but said, I will show thee all good; Luke 10: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see.
Et ideo David non erat extra spem, sed adhuc quaerebat; unde alibi dicit, Ostende nobis faciem tuam etc. Iob 33. Deprecabitur Deum suum, et placabilis erit, et videbit faciem eius in iubilo. And so, David was not without hope, but was still seeking (for it); hence he says elsewhere (possibly Psalm 79:4, 8, 20 or Psalm 30:17): Show us thy face etc.; Job 33: He shall pray to God, and he will be gracious to him: and he shall see his face with joy.
i. Ne avertas. Hic proponit triplicem petitionem. Et primo petit non fraudari a re desiderata. Secundo petit amoveri causam per quam posset fraudari. Tertio petit dirigi in via, ibi, Legem pone. Turn not away. Here he puts forth three petitions. First he asks that he not be deprived of the thing desired. Secondly, he asks that the cause by which he might be deprived (of the thing desired) be removed. Thirdly, he asks that he be directed in (His) way, at, Set…a law.
Dicit ergo, Faciem tuam Domine requiram. Et rogo, Ne avertas faciem tuam a me; quasi dicat, sicut avertit homo faciem ab homine, quando non vult eum audire. Sed aliter est in Deo quam in homine. Homo enim avertens faciem mutatur. Ipse Deus autem immobilis est; sed dicitur avertere faciem, inquantum nos avertimur, et immutamur. Et per hoc quod in corde nostro fit aliquod velamen quo inepti reddimur ad videndum faciem suam. And so, he says, Thy face, O Lord, will I still seek. And I ask, Turn not away thy face from me, as if to say, just as a man turns his face away from (another) man, when he does not wish to hear him. But it is otherwise in relation to God than with man. For the man averting his face is changed. But God himself is unchangeable. However, He is said to avert his face, insofar as we avert our own, and are changed. And on account of that which is in our heart, a veil is made by which we are rendered unfit to see his face.
Et ideo litera Hieronymi habet, Ne abscondas: Isa. 8. Expectabo Dominum qui abscondit faciem suam a domo Iacob. Causa vero aversionis est ira Dei in poenam peccati. And for that reason Jerome’s version has, Do not hide; Isaiah 8: I will wait for the Lord who hath hid his face from the house of Jacob. Surely, the cause for aversion is God’s anger in the punishment of sin.
Et haec aversio est maxima poenarum; et hoc est quod dicit, Et ne declines in ira a servo tuo, idest ne irascaris mihi in hoc quod declines faciem tuam a me. Et dicit, In ira, quia aliquando declinat in misericordia, cum scilicet non respicit peccata: Ps. 50. Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis. And this aversion is the greatest of punishments; and this is why he says, And decline not in thy wrath from thy servant, that is, do not be so angry with me that you turn your face away from me. And he says, In thy wrath, because sometimes he turns away in mercy, as when, for instance, he does not look upon (one’s) sins: Psalm 50: Turn away thy face from my sins.
Aliquando declinat in providentia, quando, scilicet permittit aliquem cadere ut fortius resurgat, quia Diligentibus Deum omnia cooperantur in bonum, Ro. 8. Sometimes he turns away in (his) providence, when, for instance, he permits someone to fall so as to rise again even stronger. For To them that love God, all things work together unto good (Romans 8).
k. Adiutor. Hic petit divinum auxilium in agendis antequam veniat ad faciem, ne scilicet impediatur a visione faciei. Et primo ponit petitionem. Secundo dictorum rationem, ibi, Quoniam pater meus. Helper. Here he asks for divine help in those things that are to be done before he comes before His face, so that he not be kept away from the vision of His face. First, he offers (his) petition, and secondly, the reason for his words, at, For my father.
Petit ergo divinum auxilium dicens, peto videre faciem tuam, sed ad hoc pervenire non possum per me: ergo, Tu esto adiutor meus, ut ad hoc perveniam: Ps. 120. Auxilium meum a Domino. Sed quantum ad superficiem non videtur ista litera recta esse, quia melius videtur dicendum esse, Adiutor meus es tu, et sic habetur in hebraico, scilicet auxilium meum fuisti. And so, he asks for divine help saying, I ask to see thy face, but I am not able to attain to this by my own efforts. Therefore, Be thou my helper, so that I may attain to this; Psalm 120: My help is from the Lord. But with respect to the surface meaning, this passage does not seem to be right, because it seems to be better to say, Thou art my help, and this is how it is in the Hebrew version, namely, You have been my help.
Et secundum hoc commemorat beneficium; quasi dicat, adiutor fuisti. Non ergo de caetero, derelinquas me. Et petit duo removeri, scilicet ipsam desertionem, et contemptum interiorem: nam si homo sibi derelinquitur, petit; Osee 13. Perditio tua Israel ex te. Deserit autem aliquis aliquem, quia despicit eum. Et despicit nos, quia sumus fragiles per naturam, et corrupti per culpam; et ideo dicit, Neque despicias me Deus. And with respect to this, he calls to mind the benefit; it is as if he were saying, “You have been my help.” It is not by reason of the rest that you have forsaken me. And he asks that two things be removed, namely, the desertion itself and the interior contempt: for, if a man is abandoned to himself, he beseeches: Hosea 13: Your destruction is thy own, O Israel. However, someone deserts another because he despise him. And he despises us, because we are fragile by nature, and corrupted through guilt; and so he says, Do not thou despise me O God.
Et quare hoc? Quia tu me creasti, et es, Salutaris meus, idest tu me salvasti. Nullus autem despicit opera sua: Ps. 137. Opera manuum tuarum ne despicias. Consequenter ponitur ratio dictorum; unde sequitur, Quoniam pater meus et mater mea dereliquerant me, Dominus autem assumpsit me; quasi dicat, Quia inveni te adiutorem in omnibus aliis deficientibus, Ne despicias me. And why is this? Because you have created me, and you are My saviour, that is, you have saved me. However no one despises his own work: Psalm 137: O despise not the works of thy hands. Consequently he sets forth the reason for these words; hence it follows, For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up; as if to say, Because I have found you a helper when others failed me, Do not thou despise me.
Et sic primo ponit defectum humani auxilii. Secundo ponit auxilium divinum. Haec litera legitur dupliciter. And so he first sets down the failure of human help. Secondly he sets forth the divine help. This passage is read in two different ways.
Uno modo de David ad literam, sicut habetur in historia 1. Reg. 16. quando fuit David unctus, Isai praesentavit maiores filios; Dominus autem elegit David, quia Samuel petiit eum. In one way, (the passage can be read) in relation to David, according to a passage found in 1 Kings 16, when David was anointed. Isai had presented his older sons. However, the Lord chose David, because Samuel had petitioned him.
Vel potest legi in persona viri iusti, quia ad literam speranti in Domino deficit omne humanum auxilium: Iob 16. Dereliquerunt me propinqui mei, et qui me noverunt, obliti sunt mei: Eccle. 51. Circumspiciens eram ad adiutorium hominum, et non erat. Or (this passage) can be read as if it were spoken by the just man. For by literally hoping in the Lord, he (the just man) was wanting of all human help; Job 19: My kinsmen have forsaken me, and they that knew me, have forgotten me; Ecclesiasticus 51: I looked for the succour of men, and there was none.
Sed Dominus hunc assumpsit, et assumit curae suae, et hoc melius est: Ps. 64. Beatus quem elegisti, et assumpsisti etc. But the Lord has taken this up, and he has assumed his care, and this is better: Psalm 64: Blessed is he whom thou hast chosen and taken to thee etc.
Mystice autem, Pater meus, idest Adam, Et mater mea, idest Eva, Dereliquerunt me, idest desertioni me exposuerunt per peccatum. Mystically speaking, however, My father, that is to say, Adam, And my mother, that is to say, Eve, have left me, that is, through sin, they have exposed me to desertion.
Vel, Pater meus, idest diabolus, quia pater meus fuit in statu peccati: Dereliquit me, quia non habet potestatem in me. Mater mea, Babylon, Dereliquerunt me, idest contempserunt me. Et hoc quia, Dominus assumpsit me. Or, My father, that is, the devil, because my father was in a state of sin, Has left me, because he has no power over me. My mother, Babylon, Has left me, that is, they have contempt for me. And this because, The Lord has taken me up.
l. Legem. Supra Psalmista posuit duas petitiones: prima fuit de divinae faciei prospectu; secunda de divinae protectionis auxilio; hic autem ponit aliam petitionem de directione viae suae: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ponit petitionem. Secundo ostendit necessitatem, ibi, Propter inimicos. Circa primum duo facit. Primo ponit legis petitionem. Secundo petit directionem in his quae sunt legis, ibi, Et dirige. A law. Previously, the Psalmist set down two petitions. The first concerned the viewing of the divine countenance, (while) the second concerned the help of divine protection. Here, however, he sets down another petition concerning the direction of his life. And concerning this he does two things. First, he sets down the petition. Secondly he shows its necessity, at, Because of my enemies. Concerning the first, he does two things. First he sets down a petition of the law, and secondly asks for direction in those things which are of the law, at, And guide me.
Dixerunt supra, Unam etc. et quicquid hoc sit explicavit, scilicet videre faciem tuam. Et quia ad hanc visionem cum sit ardua, pervenitur quadam ardua via, per quam nullus vadit sine auxilio Dei, petit illud tituli: Ps. 83. Beatus vir cuius est auxilium abs te, quia ibunt de virtute in virtutem. Previously, the Psalmist said, One thing (I have asked) etc., and he explained what this thing is, namely, to see your face. And because to this vision, as it is arduous, one arrives by a certain arduous path, through which no one passes without the help of God, he petitions in the title; Psalm 83: Blessed is the man whose help is from thee…for…they shall go from virtue to virtue.
Quia vero qui per viam ignotam vadit, indiget ductore, petit eum dicens, Legem pone mihi Domine in via tua; quasi dicat, Imminet mihi ascendere per viam, in qua peto, ut ponas mihi legem. Lex est regula agendorum. In hac via proceditur per actus virtutum; et ideo necessaria est lex, quae est regula actuum humanorum; quasi dicat, Da mihi regulam qualiter ambulem. Since truly he who walks by an unknown path needs a guide, he asks him saying, Set me, O Lord, a law in thy way; saying as it were, “It is incumbent upon me to ascend by your way, for which I ask, so that you may set (your) law within me.” Law is a rule of those things that should be done. One proceeds in this way through acts of virtue. And so, the law is necessary as (it is) a rule of human acts. It is as if he were saying, “Give me a rule on how to walk (in your ways).”
Hieronymus habet sic, Illuxit mihi Dominus viam: Pro. 6. Mandatum lucerna est, et lex lux. Dare legem est illustrare. Sed quandoque scit aliquis in universali quid sit fiendum, sed non scit in particulari, praecipue propter seductores. Et contra hoc petit dicens, Dirige me in semitam rectam: Isa. 26. Semita iusti recta est, rectus callis iusti ad ambulandum. Et hoc, Propter inimicos meos. Jerome has, The Lord illuminates the way for me; Proverbs 6:23: The commandment is a lamp, and the law a light. To give a law is to illuminate. But whenever someone knows in general what must be done, but does not know (what to do) in a particular situation, this is chiefly because of seducers. And against this, he asks saying, Guide me in the right path; Isaiah 26:7: The way of the just is right, the path of the just is right to walk in. And this, Because of my enemies.
Haec est causa quare peto dirigi in semita recta. Quia ille qui scit viam, et via est recta, securus incedit si non inveniat adversarium; sed quando inimicum, vel adversarium suum invenit, indiget protectione et directione: Ps. 141. In via hac qua ambulabam, absconderunt laqueum mihi. Isti inimici nostri sunt concupiscentiae carnis, prava desideria, daemones, pravi homines, sive peccatores, qui obsistunt in via eundi ad Deum. This is the reason why I ask to be guided in the right way. For he who knows the way, and the way is straight, walks untroubled if he does not come across an adversary. But when he comes across an enemy or his adversary, he needs protection and direction; Psalm 141:4: In this way wherein I walked, they have hidden a snare for me. These our enemies are the concupiscences of the flesh, depraved desires, demons, depraved men, or sinners, who resist in the way of going to God.
m. Ne tradideris. Hic exponit quod dictum est; et duo dicit. Primo petit liberari ab inimicorum periculo. Secundo ostendit se inimicos habere, ibi, Quoniam insurrexerunt.. Do not hand me over. Here he explains what has been said in two ways. First, he asks to be liberated from the danger of (his) enemies. Secondly, he shows that he has enemies, at, For (they) have risen up.
Dicit ergo, Ne tradideris me in animas tribulantes me; quasi dicat, Sic peto dirigi in via, quod non incidam in postestatem inimicorum. Et non dicit in manus, sed in animas, idest in voluntates And so, he says, Deliver me not over to the will of them that trouble me; as if he were saying, “Thus I ask that I be guided in the way, that I not fall into the power of (my) enemies.” And he does not say into (their) hands, but into (their) souls, that is to say, into (their) wills.
Sed contingit quod sancti traduntur in manus inimicorum, quia, Terra data est in manus impii, ut dicitur Iob 9. Sed non in animas, quia voluntatis eorum est, ut trahantur ad malum, sed Deus hoc non permittit: Eccl. 18. Si praestes animae tuae concupiscentias tuas, faciet te in gaudium inimicis tuis. But it happens that the saints are delivered into the hands of (their) enemies, because, The earth is given into the hand of the wicked, as it is said at Job 9:24. But not into their souls, because this would be their will so that they may be draw to evil. But God does not permit this; Ecclesiasticus 18:31: If thou give to thy soul her desires, she will make thee a joy to thy enemies.
Quoniam insurrexerunt. Hic ostendit se habere inimicos. Et primo ponit eorum conatum. Secundo eorum defectum. For (they) have risen up. Here he shows that he has enemies. And first he sets down their endeavour, and secondly their failing.
Dico, Propter inimicos, et hoc, Quoniam insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui. Haec verba exponuntur tripliciter: historice, allegorice, et moraliter: I say, Because of my enemies, and, For false witnesses have risen up against me. These words can be explained in three ways: historically, allegorically and morally.
historice, quia ad literam aliqui mali testes falsum dixerunt contra David, scilicet Doech Idumaeus qui accusavit sacerdotem, et David, et alii. Historically, because, according to the passage, some evil witnesses spoke falsehoods against David, namely Doeg the Edomite, who had accused the priests, David and other people.
Allegorice de Christo contra quem iniqui testes accusantes eum insurrexerunt: Matth. 26. Novissime venerunt etc. Allegorically, of Christ, against whom false witnesses rose up reproaching him; Matthew 26:60: At last of all there came (two false witnesses) etc.
Moraliter, quia contra unumquemque iustum falsi testes quandoque sunt falsi doctores, sua doctrina conantes a recta via alios declinare: Isa. 5. Vae qui dicunt malum bonum, et bonum malum. Item adulatores dicuntur testes falsi: Isa. 3. Populus meus qui te beatum dicunt, ipsi te decipiunt: Prov. 19. Testis falsus non erit impunitus. Et mentita est etc. Morally, because sometimes false witnesses against a just man are also false teachers, trying by their teaching to turn others aside from the right path: Isaiah 5:20: Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil. Flatterers are likewise said to be false witnesses: Isaiah 3:12: O my people, they that call thee blessed, the same deceive thee; Proverbs 19:5: A false witness shall not be unpunished: and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
Hic ponit eorum defectum. Haec verba secundum quod hic ponuntur, tripliciter intelligi possunt. Uno modo sic. Dicitur aliquis loqui sibi, quando solus intelligit verba sua, sed quando aliis, non: 1 Cor. 14. Qui loquitur linqua, sibi et Deo loquitur, non hominibus; et sic est sensus. Sunt falsi testes; et loquuntur mendacium, et persuadent, sed Iniquitas eorum mentita est sibi, quasi dicat, Non acquiesco eis. Here he sets down their failure. These words, as they are proposed here, can be understood in three ways. First, someone is said to speak to himself, when he alone understands his words, but when spoken to others, they do not: 1 Corinthians 14:2: He that speaketh in a tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto (himself and) God; and this is the sense. There are false witnesses. They speak lies, and they persuade. But (Their) iniquity hath lied to itself, as if to say, “I do not give assent to them.”
Vel Mentita est iniquitas sibi, idest sui damno, quia ex mendacio eorum quod intenderant ipsi, incurrerunt malum: Eccl. 27.Qui laqueum aliis ponit, peribit in illo. Or, Iniquity hath lied to itself, that is, to their own loss, because from their lies which they themselves had intended, they have incurred evil: Ecclesiasticus 27:29: He that layeth a snare for another, shall perish in it.
Vel Mentita etc. quia non pervenerunt ad effectum de hoc, quod proposuerunt facere mihi et aliis iustis viris: Iob 5.13: Consilia pravorum dissipat: Hieronymus habet, (Quoniam surrexerunt contra me testes falsi et) Apertum (mendacium), idest aperte locuti sunt contra me. Or, Iniquity hath lied to itself, for they did not succeed in arriving at the effects of those things that they had planned to do to me and other just men; Job 5: …and disappointeth the counsel(s) of the wicked. Jerome has, (For false witnesses and) Open (lies have arisen against me), that is, they have spoken openly against me.
n. Credo videre. Hic ponit spem de exauditione. Et primo ponit spem quam ipse habet. Secundo hortatur alios ad eandem, ibi, Expecta Dominum. I believe to see. Here he sets down the hope of being heard. And first he sets down the hope that he himself has. Secondly, he exhorts others to the same, at, Expect the Lord.
Sua petito erat ut videret Deum; et ideo dicit, Credo, idest firmam fiduciam habeo: Videre bona Domini, idest videre facie ad faciem: Scio quod Redemptor meus vivit etc. et in carne mea videbo Deum; unde non dicit, Videre Dominum, sed bona Domini; quod potest intelligi dupliciter. His petition was that he might see God; and hence he says, I believe, that is, I have a firm trust, To see the good things of the Lord, that is, to see him face to face; Job 19:25: I know that my Redeemer livethand in my flesh, I shall see my God; hence he does not say, “To see the Lord,” but (To see) the good things of the Lord, which can be understood in two ways.
Vel bona Domini, idest a Domino, et sic non sumitur hic. Vel bona, idest quae sunt in Domino, et hoc modo sumitur hic: haec omnia enim sunt in eo, sicut in fonte primo, et sunt idem quod ipse: Sap. 7. Venerunt autem mihi omnia bona pariter cum illa, etc. First, The good things of the Lord, that is to say, from the Lord. But that is not how it is taken here. Secondly, The good things, that is, those things that are in the Lord. And that is what is understood here. For all these things are in him, as in the first source, and they are the same as himself: Wisdom 7:11: All good things came to me together with her etc.
Et ubi? In terra viventium. Visio Dei est vita aeterna, ut dictur Io. 17. Haec terra est morientium: quia sicut terra est patiens respectu coeli foecundantis eam, ita via beatorum immediate perficitur a Deo. And where? In the land of the living. The vision of God is eternal life, as it is said in John 17. This land belongs to those who die. For just as the land is receptive in respect to the heaven that fertilizes it, so is the way of the blessed immediately perfected by God.
o. Expecta. Hic inducit alios ad expectandum, cum dicit, Expecta Dominum: Isa. 30. Beati omnes qui expectant eum. Et dum expectas, habeas fiduciam in opere; unde dicit, Viriliter age, scilicet interius, et exterius: Isa. 35. Confortate manus dissolutas. Expect. Here he leads others to wait when he says, Expect the Lord; Isaiah 30:18: Blessed are all they that wait for him. And while you wait, have trust in His work. Hence, he says, Do manfully, namely, interiorly and exteriorly; Isaiah 35:3: Strengthen ye the feeble hands.
Et hoc premittit, quia, qui perseveraverit usque in finem, hic salvus erit. Unde, Sustine Dominum, scilicet bona quaecumque facies, etiam si videantur adversa: Eccle. 2. Vae his qui perdiderunt sustinentiam, et qui dereliquerunt vias rectas, et diverterunt in vias pravas. And he permits this, because, he who has persevered right to the end, will be saved. Hence, Wait thou for the Lord, that is, do good works of every kind, even if they are met by adversities: Ecclesiasticus 2:16: Woe to them that have lost patience, and that have forsaken the right ways, and have gone aside into crooked ways.
Vel, Sustine Dominum, idest expecta Dominum. Et tunc repetit ad maiorem certitudinem. Or, Wait for the Lord, that is, expect the Lord, and then he repeats it for greater certitude.

© James Miguez

The Aquinas Translation Project

25 Responses to “St Thomas Aquinas on Psalm 27 (26)”

  1. […] St Thomas Aquinas on Today’s Psalm 27 (26). Latin and English side by side. […]

  2. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 27. […]

  3. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 27. […]

  4. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 27. […]

  5. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 27. […]

  6. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  7. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  8. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  9. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  10. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  11. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  12. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  13. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  14. […] 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), Psalm 34(33), Psalm 36(35), Psalm 47(46), Psalm 51(50), and possibly […]

  15. […] 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), Psalm 34(33), Psalm 36(35), Psalm 47(46), Psalm 51(50), and possibly […]

  16. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 27. […]

  17. hi, where can I find the holy psalm 27 in latin, someone kind soul please reply, okay, I couldnt find it on google

  18. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 27). […]

  19. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 27. […]

  20. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 27. […]

  21. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  22. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  23. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27). […]

  24. […] 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), Psalm 34(33), Psalm 36(35), Psalm 47(46), Psalm 51(50), and possibly […]

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