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Archive for the ‘Divine Office’ Category

Father Callan on the Office of Readings (First Reading, Heb 3:1-19)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 12, 2011

CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO MOSES
A Summary of Hebrews 3:1-6

Here we have the second great argument in proof of the Apostle’s thesis. We must bear in mind that his thesis is the superiority of the New Dispensation to the Old. The argument to prove this in the two preceding Chapters was the superiority of Christ, through whom the New Law was given, to the angels, who were the mediators in the giving of the Old Law (see Heb 1:4-14). In these opening verses of the present Chapter the argument is that Christ is superior to Moses, the founder of the theocracy, who delivered to the people of Israel the Law received on Sinai,

Since Christ has been proved superior to the angels, it might seem unnecessary to prove that He is superior to Moses; that conclusion ought to follow as an a fortiori inference. But it was not so to the Jewish mind, which regarded Moses above the angels; for the Jews thought that through Moses they had received God’s final and complete revelation to mankind. It was, therefore, necessary to prove to them that Christ had a greater authority than Moses enjoyed.

1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly vocation, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus;
2. Who is faithful to him that made him, as was also Moses in all his house.

Wherefore, i.e., since Christ has our human nature and is our great high priest, full of mercy and compassion for our sufferings and miseries, the writer invites his readers to fix their eyes on Jesus, who is God’s messenger to us and our mediator with God, and who, like Moses, was faithful in fulfilling all His duties. The deduction here is an inference from what has been said in the
two previous Chapters.

Holy brethren is a form of address peculiar to this Epistle, but see Rom 1:7; Eph 1:1 ff.; Acts 9:13.

Partakers, etc., i.e., sharers in the faith and grace of Jesus Christ.

Of our confession, i.e., of the faith we profess.

Who is faithful. The readers of this Epistle who were tempted to disloyalty are to keep in view as their model the loyalty to Jesus, “who was faithful to Him that made Him,” i.e., who was loyal to God who invested Him with the high offices of  “apostle,” in preaching God’s revelation to the world, and of “high priest,” to oflfer up an atoning sacrifice for mankind.

As was also Moses in all his house, i.e., as Moses was faithful in teaching and governing the people of Israel (Deut 4:5; Ex 40:16; Num 12:7), who were called the house of God, as in verse 6 below the Christian society is called the family of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Tim 3:15; Eph 2:21; 1 Peter 4:17, where the Christian community is spoken of as the house of God). It is to be noted that Christ’s superiority as regards God’s people is far greater than that of Moses; for Moses was faithful in all the house of God as a servant (ver. 5), whereas Christ was faithful over the whole house of God as the son in his own house (ver. 6).

3. For this man was counted worthy of greater glory than Moses, by so much as he that hath built the house hath greater honor than the house.
4. For every house is built by some man; but he that created all  things is God.

For goes back to “consider” of verse 1.

This man, i.e., Jesus. The Apostle’s first argument here Is as follows: Moses was only a part of God’s house, that is, of the House of Israel in its covenant relation, though he was indeed a principal part as being God’s direct representative and administrator in the whole theocratic family; but Jesus Christ was the builder, that is, the creator and establisher of the whole family of God including Moses, and is consequently deserving of so much greater honor than Moses as the architect is far superior to the thing he has made.

Hath built. The Greek verb means not only to build, but to furnish and establish.

Every house is built by some man, etc. In Chapter 1 Jesus was described as the creator of the world; here He is spoken of as the builder of the family or community of God. God has made the Church, as He made the universe, through Christ. In this family of God Moses was but the chief administrator of the orders and sovereign will of Jesus Christ.

5. And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a
testimony of those things which were to be said;
6. But Christ as Son over his house: which house we are, if we hold
firm to the end our confidence and the boasting of our hope.

The second argument here is this: Moses was only a servant in the family of God; Christ was the Son of God in that family, and as such heir and master of it.

His house in both verses means God’s house, which is the Church. There is continuity and identity, along with development, in God’s house both under the Old and under the New Covenant; the Jewish Church was the type, the Christian Church is the antitype of the same divine establishment.

For a testimony of those things, etc. There are two explanations of this passage: (a) it was the duty of Moses as a servant to make known to the people of Israel all of God’s messages to him; (b) the Mosaic legislation and the ceremonies instituted by him pointed to Christ and were a preparation for Christ and the Gospel, and through them, therefore, Moses bore testimony to Christ.

Which house we are, etc. These are familiar Pauline words (cf. 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21-22). The writer here warns his readers who were in danger of relapse that membership in the house and family of God and the enjoyment of its privileges are dependent on our perseverance in unshaken confidence in the profession of our faith and in the firm hope of future rewards to the end of our lives.

Boasting of our hope (a peculiarly Pauline expression), i.e., a boasting that arises from strong hope.

In the Vulgate of verse 6 sua should be eius, referring to God; and sumus nos should be reversed.

EXHORTATION TO PERSEVERANCE IN FAITH
A Summary of Hebrews 3:7-19

Again, as in Chapter 2:1-4, the writer interrupts his argument to make a practical appeal to his readers (which extends from Heb 3:7-4:13) to continue firm in their faith, lest they incur a fate similar to that which befell the Israelites of old. Through their unbelief the Israelites of the desert were excluded from entrance into the Promised Land and condemned to die there in their wanderings; they never attained their destined repose in the place which God had prepared for them and wanted them to have, had they remained faithful. In like manner, if Christians lose their faith, they will never know the joy and repose of heaven to which they have been called and of which the Promised Land of Palestine was a type and figure.

Heb 3:7. Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith : Today if you shall hear his voice,

Wherefore. All that follows this word, down to verse 12, is a long parenthesis containing the text of the Psalm ; and hence this conjunction does not find its dependent verb till verse 12. The connection is as follows: Since no one can belong to the house and family of God unless he remains firm in faith and hope, it is necessary, according to the counsel given in Psalm 95 to the people of Israel, that you Christian brethren should take heed lest
any of you abandon the faith you have received.

As the Holy Ghost saith is a regular formula to introduce an inspired Scripture, of which the Holy Ghost is the primary author.

Today is emphatic by its position and means the acceptable time of salvation.

Heb 3:8. Harden not your hearts, as at the provocation, in the day of temptation in the desert,

Harden not your hearts, etc., i.e., do not be stubborn and resist the grace of God appealing to your hearts, as you did at Meribah, the place of strife, and as at Massah, the day of trial, in the desert. In the original Hebrew of the Psalm “provocation” and “temptation” are names of places, Meribah and Massah. At the time in question the Israelites were suffering for want of water
in the desert, and they murmured against Moses (Meribah) and tempted God by doubting His providence and His goodness (Massah). See Ex 17:1-7 and Num 20:1-13, where these facts are narrated.

Heb 3:9. Where your fathers tempted me with tests and saw my works

In this verse God begins to speak to the Israelites in the first person, recalling to their minds how their faithless forefathers “tempted,” i.e., put Him to trial by doubting His power and goodness to help them, though they had been witnesses of His miracles in their behalf for forty years.

Heb 3:10. Forty years: For which cause I was offended with this generation, and I said: They always err in heart. And they have not known my ways,

Forty years. In the Hebrew text these words are joined to the preceding verse, but in the LXX and St. Jerome they are connected with what follows, meaning that for forty years the Lord was “offended with this generation,” i.e., with the faithless people in the desert. As a matter of fact, all during their wanderings in the wilderness the Israelites had grieved the Lord by their doubts. Their hearts were perverse, and they paid no heed to God’s “ways,” i.e., to His precepts, transgressing them at will and in all manners.

Heb 3:11. So I have sworn in my wrath: If they shall enter into my rest.

As a result of their lack of faith, God took a solemn oath that the Israehtes of the desert should all die in their wanderings with the exception of Josue and Caleb, as narrated in Num 14:27 ff., 32:10 ff.; Deut 1:34.

If they shall enter is a Hebrew idiom meaning, “they shall not enter.”

My rest, i.e., the place of repose promised and prepared for them, which in the literal sense was the land of Canaan that the Hebrews were to occupy and enjoy after the fatigue and wanderings of the desert; but in the spiritual sense here applied, “my rest” means celestial beatitude, the eternal Sabbath of heaven, as explained below, in Heb 4:1-4.

Heb 3:12. Take heed, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, to depart from the living God.

The writer now applies the foregoing Psalm verses to his readers (ver. 12-14), warning them in this verse of the danger of apostasy, which, like all personal moral evil, begins in the heart.

Heb 3:13. But exhort one another every day, whilst it is called today, that none of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

The Apostle exhorts his readers to give mutual encouragement to one another by word and example constantly throughout their lives, while they have the opportunity: “Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, etc.” (John 12:36; cf. Luke 19:44).

The deceitfulness of sin. Sin is always a delusion, promising pleasure and satisfaction but leading to sorrow and pain; luring to happiness but terminating in grief. The sin directly in question here is that of unbelief and apostasy, against which the writer is warning.

Heb 3:14. For we are made partakers of Christ; yet so, if we hold the beginning of our substance firm unto the end.

By the faith and grace of Christ to which we have been admitted through Baptism we have become incorporated into Christ, thus partaking of His life and blessings now, with the hope and promise of a fuller share in His divine life hereafter in the world to come; but this is only on condition that we retain unshaken to the end of our lives the foundation of all these present and future graces and benefits, namely, our Christian faith.

If we hold the beginning, etc., i.e., if we hold fast to the faith of which we made profession at the time of our conversion.

Substance is a literal translation of the Greek word here used, at least in its later meaning; but according to the sense of the present passage it would probably be rendered better by “confidence.”

15. While it is said, Today if yuu shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as at the provocation.
16. For some who had heard did provoke; but not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

In verses 15-19 we have an explanation of the Psalm passage quoted above in verses 7-1 1. The author tells us who those people were with whom God was angry; they were the people of Israel whom Moses had led out of Egyptian bondage, but whose bones were left bleaching in the wilderness on account of their sins of unbelief.

While it is said. Better, “when it is said.” We shall understand these two verses much better if we take them as going together, putting a comma at the end of verse 15, and, with most modern commentators, make verse 16 consist of two interrogations as follows: “Who were they who heard (the voice of God), and provoked (him) ? Were they not all those who were led out of
Egypt by Moses?” Of the 600,000 Israelites that were led out of Egypt, only Josue and Caleb remained faithful and were permitted to enter the Promised Land (Num 14:38; Josh 14:8-9).

17. And with whom was he offended forty years? Was it not with them that sinned, whose carcasses were overthrown in the desert?

Those Israelites who sinned by unbelief in the desert perished there in the wilderness, and their corpses were left to rot in the sun. See Num 14:29, with which compare 1 Cor 10:5, 8.

18. And to whom did he swear, that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that were incredulous?

Incredulous, better, “disobedient.” The Israelites were not only unbelieving, but disobedient ; and for these sins they were excluded from the land which God had promised them (Ex 16, 17;  Num 14, 21).

19. And we see that they could not enter in, because of unbelief.

We see, etc., i.e., we know from history. They tried to enter the Promised Land, but the favor of God was not with them and all the adults failed and perished in the desert, except Josue and Caleb (Num. xiv. 28-5).

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, liturgy, Notes on Hebrews, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday, April 10-Saurday, April 16 (Fifth Week of Lent)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 10, 2011

Some posts are scheduled in advance and will not become available until the time indicated. Posts lacking time indicators or marked “previously posted” are available regardless of the day scheduled. Links to “Today’s Divine Office” are not to the Universalis site, rather, the link will take you to a site maintained by the official English language publisher of the Office.

SUNDAY, APRIL 10
FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Today’s Mass Resources: Ordinary FormExtraordinary Form.

Today’s Divine Office. Text and podcast available. See next link.

Notes on Psalm 1, 2, & 3, Used in Today’s Office of Readings. Several different commentaries to chose from.

St John Chrysostom’s commentary on the First Reading of the Divine Office (Heb 1:1-2:4). Read Homilies 1 through 3.

Haydock Bible Commentary on Today’s First Reading of the Divine Office(Heb 1:1-2:4).

Last Weeks Posts: Sunday April 3-Saturday April 9. In case you missed something.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Processional Gospel for Palm Sunday (Matt 21:1-11). 12:05 AM EST.

Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on the Processional Gospel for Palm Sunday (Matt 21:1-11). 12:05 AM EST.

My Notes on the Gospel for Palm Sunday, Post 1 (Matt 26:14-19). This is the first in a series of posts on the regular gospel reading, (Matt 26:14-27:66).
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MONDAY, APRIL 11
MONDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office. Text and podcast available.

The Story of Susanna in the Liturgy of Lent. Scroll down below headlines.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 8:1-11). Previously posted.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Jn 8:1-11). Previously posted.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Jn 8:1-11). Previously posted.

My Notes on the Gospel of Matthew for Palm Sunday, Post 2 (Matt 26:20-25).

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TUESDAY, APRIL 12
TUESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

Fathers Nolan and Brown on Today’s Gospel (Jn 8:21-30). 12:05 AM EST.

UPDATE: When You Have Lifted Up the Son of Man. A look at Jn 8:28 in relation to its OT background.

Today’s Divine Office. Text and podcast available.

Papal Commentary on the Morning Office Psalms:

Psalm 24
Tobit 13:1-8
Psalm 33

Papal Commentary on the Evening Office Psalms:

Psalm 20
Psalm 21:2-8, 14
Revelation 4:11; 5:9, 10, 12

Father Callan on the First Reading of the Divine Office (Heb 3:1-19). 12:10 AM EST.

UPDATE: Podcast Study of Jeremiah Continues.
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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13
WEDNESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

Fathers Nolan and Brown on Today’s Gospel (Jn 8:31-42) 12:05 AM EST.

Today’s Divine Office.

Resources for Palm Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).
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THURSDAY, APRIL 14
THURSDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 8:51-59). 12:05 AM EST.

Today’s Divine Office.

Papal Commentary on the Psalms of the Morning Office:

Papal Commentary on the Psalms of the Evening Office:

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FRIDAY, APRIL 15
FRIDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Reading.

Aquinas on Today’s Psalm (18). Psalm 17 in Aquinas’ day.

St Cyril of Alexandria on Today’s Gospel (Jn 10:31-42). 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 10:31-42). 12:10 AM EST.

Today’s Divine Office.

Papal Commentary on the Psalms of the  Morning Office.

Papal Commentary on the Psalms of the Evening Office.

UPDATE: Books!

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SATURDAY, APRIL 16
SATURDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 11:45-56). 12:05 AM EST.

St Cyril of Alexandria on Today’s Gospel (Jn 11:45-56). 12:10 AM EST.

Today’s Divine Office.

Papal Commentary on the Psalms of the Morning Office:

Papal Commentary on the Psalms of the Evening Office:

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, fathers of the church, John Paul II Catechesis, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Hebrews, Notes on Philippians, Notes on the Gospel of John, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | 1 Comment »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday, April 3-Saturday, April 9

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 2, 2011

Some posts are prepared in advance and will not become available until the time indicated. Links without a time indicator (e.g., “Mass Readings”) are available regardless of the day scheduled.

SUNDAY, APRIL 3
FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

Last Weeks Posts: March 27-April 2. In case you missed something.

Resources For Today’s Mass (Fourth Sunday of Lent). This is a weekly feature on my blog. The post for next Sunday’s resources (fifth Sunday of Lent) will be published on Wednesday. Some resources are already published, see below.

Father MacIntyre on John 11:1-45 for the Fifth Sunday of Lent. 12:00 AM EST.

St Cyril of Alexandria on John 11:1-45 for the Fifth Sunday of Lent. 12:05 AM EST.

Father Boylan on Romans 8:8-11 for the Fifth Sunday of Lent. 12:08 AM EST.

Father Callan on Romans 8:8-11 for the Fifth Sunday of Lent. 12:10 AM EST.

UPDATE: The Divine Office Online. Both text and audio available.
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MONDAY, APRIL 4
MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

The Divine Office Online. Both text and audio available.

Pope John Paul II on Today’s Psalm (30). 12:00 AM EST.

My Notes on Today’s Psalm (30). 12:00 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 4:43-54). 12:05 AM EST.

St Cyril of Alexandria on Today’s Gospel (Jn 4:43-54). Pending.

Podcast on John Chapter 4. Most of the podcast is taken up with the Samaritan episode, but the final quarter deals with today’s reading. From St Irenaeus Ministries.

Numerous Artwork Depicting the Raising of Lazarus. The Raising of Lazarus is the Gospel reading for this Sunday.

A Structural Outline of John 11. For those who might want to engage in a deeper study of this Sunday’s Gospel reading. From the website of Fr. Felix Just.

Life Themes in the Gospel of John. From Fr. Felix Just’s website.

The Story of the Raising of Lazarus. Very interesting article posted last year by Michael Barber of The Sacred Page blog.
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TUESDAY, APRIL 5
TUESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

The Divine Office Online. Both text and audio available.

Pope John Paul II on Today’s Psalm (46). 12:00 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 5:1-15). 12:05 AM EST.

UPDATE: St Cyril of Alexandria on Today’s Gospel (Jn 5:1-15).

Podcast on John 5. From St Irenaeus Ministries.

EWTN Podcast on John 5. Click on episode 4.

UPDATE: Father Callan on Heb 9:11-15 for Passion Sunday (Extraordinary Form).
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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6
WEDNESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

The Divine Office Online. Both text and audio available.

Pope Benedict XVI on Today’s Psalm (145). Originally posted on Feb 19.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 5:17-30). 12:05 AM EST.

St Cyril of Alexandria on Today’s Gospel (Jn 5:17-30). 12:10 AM EST.

Podcast on John 5. From St Irenaeus Ministries.

EWTN Podcast on John 5. Click on episode 4.

Resources for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Ordinary Form, April 10).

Resources for Passion Sunday (Extraordinary Form, April 10).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea for Passion Sunday, April 10 (Jn 8:46-59 Extraordinary Form)12:15 AM EST.

This Date in History: The Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburgh Landing ):

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THURSDAY, APRIL 7
THURSDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office. This is not the Universalis site, rather, it is the site of the actual publisher of the Divine Office.

Commentary on the first Reading of the Office. From the old Haydock Bible Commentary.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 5:31-47). 12:05 AM EST.

UPDATE: Haydock Bible Commentary on Today’s Readings. Text of the Douay-Rheims on left, notes from the old Haydock Comm. on the right.

Podcast on John 5. From St Irenaeus Ministries.

EWTN Podcast on John 5. Click on episode 4.
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FRIDAY, APRIL 8
FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father MacIntyre on Today’s Gospel (Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30). 12:05 AM EST.

Haydock Bible Commentary on Today’s Readings.Douay-Rheims with Notes from the old Haydock commentary.
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SATURDAY, APRIL 9
SATURDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Mass Readings.

St Athanasius on Today’s First Reading. Very brief.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Jn 7:40-53). 12:05 AM EST.

Haydock Bible Commentary on Today’s Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

 

 

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, fathers of the church, John Paul II Catechesis, liturgy, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Gospel of John, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pope John Paul II on Psalm 24

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 1, 2010

The following Psalm commentary/meditation was not produced specifically for All Saints Day, rather, it was part of JPII and BXVI’s Wednesday Audience series on the morning and evening prayers of the Divine Office.

JOHN PAUL II
GENERAL AUDIENCE

Wednesday 20 June 2001

The Lord enters his temple!
(Lauds on Tuesday of the first week of the four week psalter)

1. The ancient chant of the People of God that we just heard, resounded in the temple of Jerusalem. To be able to grasp the main thrust of the prayer, we have to keep in mind three basic affirmations.

The first is the truth of creation:  God has created the world and is its Lord. The second is the judgement to which he submits his creatures:  we must appear before him and be questioned about what we have done. The third is the mystery of God’s coming:  he comes into the universe and into history and desires to be free to establish a relationship of intimate communion with human beings. A modern commentator said:  “These are the three elementary forms of the experience of God and of our relationship with God; we live by the work of God, we live before God and we can live with God” (G. Ebeling, On the Psalms, [see in the Italian text Sui Salmi, Brescia, 1973, p. 97]).

2. The three parts of Psalm 24  correspond to these three basic premises that we will now examine, considering them as three successive scenes of a poetic triptych for our prayer. The first is a brief acclamation of the Creator, to whom belong the earth and all who dwell in it (vv. 1-2). It is a profession of faith in the Lord of the cosmos and of history. In the ancient vision of creation, the earth is conceived as an architectural work:  God lays the foundations of the earth on the sea, the symbol of the chaotic and destructive waters, in turn the sign of creaturely limitation, conditioned by nothingness and evil. Creation is suspended over the watery abyss and God’s creative and providential hand keeps it in being and in life.

3. From the cosmic horizon the Psalmist’s perspective narrows down to the microcosm of Zion, “the mountain of the Lord”. We are now in the second picture of the Psalm (vv. 3-6). We stand before the temple of Jerusalem. The procession of the faithful asks the guardians of the holy door an entrance question:  “Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord, who shall stand in his holy place?”.

The priests as happens in some other biblical texts called by the experts “liturgy of entrance” (cf. Ps 14; Is 33,14-16; Mi 6,6-8) respond by listing the conditions that enable one to enter into communion with the Lord in worship. They are not merely ritual or external norms to be observed, but moral and existential requisites to be lived. It is an examination of conscience or penitential act that precedes the liturgical celebration.

4. The priests lay down three requisites. Above all, one must have “clean hands and a pure heart”. “Hands” and “heart” refer to both action and intention, the whole of the human being who should basically turn toward God and his law. The second requisite calls for one “not to tell lies”, in biblical language it entails sincerity, but even more, the struggle against idolatry, for idols are false gods, that is “lies”. The precept confirms the first commandment of the Decalogue, the purity of religion and of worship. The third and last requisite deals with relations with our neighbour:  “Do not swear so as to deceive your neighbour”. In an oral culture like that of ancient Israel, the word was the symbol of social relationships based on justice and uprightness and should not be used to deceive.

5. So we reach the third scene of our triptych which describes indirectly the joyful entry of the faithful into the temple to meet the Lord (vv. 7-10). With a thought-provoking exchange of appeals, questions and answers, God reveals himself progressively with three of his solemn titles:  “the King of Glory, the Lord Mighty and Valiant, the Lord of Armies”. The gates of the temple of Zion are personified and invited to lift up their lintels to welcome the Lord who takes possession of his home.

The triumphal scene, described by the Psalm in the third poetic picture, has been applied by the Christian liturgy of the East and of the West to the victorious Descent of Christ to the Limbo of the fathers, spoken of in the First Letter of Peter (cf. I Pet 3,19), and to the Risen Lord’s Ascension into heaven (cf. Acts 1,9-10). Even today, in the Byzantine Liturgy, the Psalm is sung by alternating choirs on Holy Saturday night at the Easter Vigil, and in the Roman Liturgy it is used on the second Sunday of the Passion at the end of the procession of palms. The Solemn Liturgy of the opening of the Holy Door at the beginning of the Jubilee Year allowed us to relive with great interior emotion the same sentiments the Psalmist felt as he crossed the threshold of the ancient temple of Zion.

6. The last title, “Lord of Armies”, is not really a military title as may appear at first sight even if it does not exclude a reference to Israel’s ranks. Instead, it has a cosmic value:  the Lord, who now comes to meet humanity within the restricted space of the sanctuary of Zion, is the Creator who has all the stars of heaven as his army, that is, the creatures of the universe who obey him. In the book of the prophet Baruch we read:  “Before whom the stars at their posts shine and rejoice; when he calls them, they answer, “Here we are!’ shining with joy for their Creator” (Bar 3,34-35). The infinite, almighty and eternal God adapts himself to the human creature, draws near to meet, listen and enter into communion with him. The liturgy is the expression of this coming together in faith, dialogue and love.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, John Paul II Catechesis, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday Oct 24- Saturday Oct 30

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 30, 2010

Note: blogging will be sparse for a while as I am in the process of preparing a sizable number of posts for the Advent season which begins on November 28th. I will begin posting these a week prior to the start of Advent (i.e., on Nov 21).  Also, some posts listed below are scheduled in advance and will not become available until the time indicated. Posts may be added at any time during the week.

SUNDAY OCT 24:
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Last weeks posts, Oct 17-23.

Resources for Sunday Mass, Oct 24. A weekly feature of this blog. Resources for next Sunday’s Mass, Oct 31, will be posted on Wednesday.

MONDAY OCT 25.
3oth Week in Ordinary Time.

Readings.

My notes on Today’s Psalm.

Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm. Latin and English text side by side.

Father Patrick Boylan on Today’s Psalm.

A Lectio Diovina Reading of Today’s Psalm.

Pope Benedict XVI on Today’s Psalm.

A Protestant Commentary on Today’s Psalm. Contains almost no actual commentary but does include many helpful cross references.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Some Disputatious Thoughts On Conscience. Links to a several brief but interesting posts on the subject of conscience.

Accelerating Towards the Abyss: The Real Story of Fiscal Year 2010. Disturbing.

Comparing Jews to Nazis Meets NPR’s ‘Editorial Standards and Practices’ NPR & PBS have raised the double standard to an art form.

Who Knew 60 Minutes Was Still Capable of Hard Hitting Journalism Against the Left? Kind of a shocker.

AFL-CIO Official: “Jesus Christ Couldn’t Do Anything More Than Obama Has Done.” I bet He could stop spending money and demonizing opponents.

TUESDAY OCT 26:
30th Week in Ordinary Time.

Readings.

Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s First Reading. Available at midnight.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Father Callan on 2 Thess 1:11-2:2 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Luke 19:1-10 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31. Available 12:15 AM EST.

Bernardin de Piconio on Philippians 3:17-4:3 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31 (Extraordinary Form). Available 12:20 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 9:18-26 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31 (Extraordinary Form) Available 12:25 AM EST.

WEDNESDAY OCT 27:
30th Week in Ordinary Time.

Readings.

Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s First Reading. Available at Midnight.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Juan de Maldonado on Matt 9:18-26 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31 (Extraordinary Form). Available 12:10 AM EST.

Resources for Sunday Mass, Oct 31 (Ordinary & Extraordinary Forms).

THURSDAY OCT 28:
Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles.

Readings.

Pope Benedict XVI on Saints Simon and Jude.

Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s 1st Reading. Available at Midnight.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on the Epistle of St Jude. Available 12:05 AM EST.

FRIDAY OCT 29:
30th Week in Ordinary Time
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Readings.

Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s 1st Reading. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on today’s Gospel. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Father Charles Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:25-40.

SATURDAY OCT 30:
30th Week in Ordinary Time.

Readings.

Posted in BENEDICT XVI CATECHESIS, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Notes on 2 Thessalonians, Notes on Ephesians, Notes on Jude, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on Philippians, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 145

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 24, 2010

On Wednesday, March 28 2001 Pope John Paul II started a series of Wednesday Audiences focusing upon the Psalms and Canticles used in the Divine Office. On Wednesday, February 15 2007 Pope Benedict concluded the series. In the Divine Office Psalm 145 is prayed during Vespers but is divided into two parts (verses 1-13 and 14-21), I’ve included both parts in this post.

BENEDICT XVI
GENERAL AUDIENCE

Wednesday, 1st February 2006

Part 1, verses 1-13.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. We have just prayed Psalm 145[144], a joyful song of praise to the Lord who is exalted as a tender and loving King, concerned for all his creatures. The liturgy presents this hymn to us in two separate parts that also correspond to the two poetical and spiritual movements of the Psalm itself. We now reflect on the first part, which corresponds to verses 1-13.

The Psalm is raised to the Lord who is invoked and described as “King” (cf. Ps 145[144]: 1), a depiction of the divine that is also dominant in other psalmic hymns (cf. Ps 47[46], 93[92]; 96[95]-99[98]).

Indeed, the spiritual centre of our canticle is constituted precisely by an intense and passionate celebration of the divine kingship. The Hebrew wordmalkut,”reign“, is repeated in it four times, almost as if to indicate the four cardinal points of being and of history (cf. Ps 145[144]: 11-13).
We know that this royal symbolism, which was also to be central in Christ’s preaching, is the expression of God’s saving project:  he is not indifferent to human history; on the contrary, he desires to put a plan of harmony and peace for human history into practice with us and for us.

The whole of humanity is called together to implement this plan in order that it comply with the divine saving will, a will that is extended to all “men”, to “all generations”, from “age to age”.
It is a universal action that uproots evil from the world and instils in it the “glory” of the Lord, that is, his personal, effective and transcendent presence.

2. The prayerful praise of the Psalmist, who makes himself the voice of all the faithful and today would like to be the voice of all of us, is directed to this heart of the Psalm, placed precisely at the centre of the composition. The loftiest biblical prayer is in fact the celebration of the works of salvation, which reveal the Lord’s love for his creatures.

In this Psalm the Psalmist continues to praise the divine “name”, that is, the person of the Lord (cf. vv. 1-2), who manifests himself in his historical action:  indeed, his “works”, “splendour”, “wonderful works”, “mighty deeds”, “greatness”, “justice”, “patience”, “compassion”, “grace”, “goodness” and “love” are mentioned.

It is a prayer in the form of a litany which proclaims God’s entry into human events in order to bring the whole of created reality to a salvific fullness. We are not at the mercy of dark forces nor alone with our freedom, but rather, we are entrusted to the action of the mighty and loving Lord, who has a plan for us, a “reign” to establish (cf. v. 11).

3. This “kingdom” does not consist of power and might, triumph and oppression, as unfortunately is often the case with earthly kingdoms; rather, it is the place where compassion, love, goodness, grace and justice are manifested, as the Psalmist repeats several times in the flow of verses full of praise.

Verse 8 sums up this divine portrait:  the Lord is “slow to anger, abounding in love”. These words are reminiscent of God’s presentation of himself on Sinai when he said:  “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34: 6).
We have here a preparation for the profession of faith in God of St John the Apostle, who simply tells us that he is love:  “Deus caritas est” (cf. I Jn 4: 8, 16).

4. Our attention, as well as being fixed on these beautiful words that portray to us a God who is “slow to anger” and “full of compassion”, always ready to forgive and to help, is also fixed on the very beautiful verse 9 which follows:  “How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures”. These are words to meditate upon, words of consolation, a certainty that he brings to our lives.

In this regard, St Peter Chrysologus (c. 380 c. 450) says in his Second Discourse on Fasting: “”Great are the works of the Lord’; but this grandeur that we see in Creation is surpassed by the greatness of his mercy. Indeed, after the Prophet has said, “Great are the works of God’, in another passage he adds:  “His compassion is greater than all his works’. Mercy, brothers and sisters, fills the heavens, fills the earth…. That is why the great, generous, unique mercy of Christ, who reserved every judgment for a single day, allotted all of man’s time to the truce of penance…. That is why the Prophet who did not trust in his own justice abandons himself entirely to God’s mercy; “Have mercy on me, O God’, he says, “according to your abundant mercy’ (Ps 51[50]: 3)” (42, 4-5:  Sermoni 1-62bis, Scrittori dell’Area Santambrosiana, 1, Milan-Rome, 1996, pp. 299, 301).

And so, let us too say to the Lord, “Have mercy on me, O God, you who are great in your mercy”.

Part 2, verses 14-21.

1. Following the liturgy that divides it into two parts, let us return to , a wonderful hymn in honour of the Lord, a loving King who is attentive to his creatures. Let us now meditate upon the second part of the Psalm:  they are verses 14 to 21, which take up the fundamental theme of the hymn’s first part.

In them are exalted the divine compassion, tenderness, fidelity and goodness which are extended to the whole of humanity, involving every creature. The Psalm now focuses on the love that the Lord reserves particularly for the poor and the weak.

Divine kingship is not, therefore, detached and haughty, as can be the case in the exercise of human power. God expresses his sovereignty by bending down to meet the frailest and most helpless of his creatures.

2. Indeed, he is first and foremost a father who supports those who falter and raises those who have fallen into the dust of humiliation (cf. v. 14). Consequently, living beings are reaching out to the Lord like hungry beggars and he gives them, like a tender parent, the food they need to survive (cf. v. 15).

At this point the profession of faith in justice and holiness, the two divine qualities par excellence, emerges from the lips of the person praying:  “The Lord is just in all his ways and loving in all his deeds” (cf. v. 17).

In Hebrew we have two typical adjectives to illustrate the Covenant between God and his People: saadiq and hasid. They express justice that seeks to save and to liberate from evil, and the faithfulness that is a sign of the Lord’s loving greatness.

3. The Psalmist takes the side of those who have benefited, whom he describes in various words:  in practice, these terms portray true believers. They “call on” the Lord in trusting prayer, they seek him in life with a sincere heart (cf. v. 18); they “fear” their God, respecting his will and obeying his word (cf. v. 19), but above all “love” him, certain that he will take them under the mantle of his protection and his closeness (cf. v. 20).

Then, the Psalmist’s closing words are the ones with which he opened his hymn:  an invitation to praise and bless the Lord and his “name”, that is, as a living and holy Person who works and saves in the world and in history.

Indeed, his call is an assurance that every creature marked by the gift of life associates himself or herself with the prayerful praise:  “Let all mankind bless his holy name for ever, for ages unending” (v. 21). This is a sort of perennial hymn that must be raised from earth to heaven; it is a community celebration of God’s universal love, source of peace, joy and salvation.

4. To conclude our reflection, let us return to that sweet verse which says:  “[The Lord] is close to all who call him, who call on him from their hearts” (v. 18). This sentence was particularly dear to Barsanuphius of Gaza, an ascetic who died in the mid-sixth century, to whom monks, ecclesiastics and lay people would often turn because of the wisdom of his discernment.

Thus, for example, to one disciple who expressed his desire “to seek the causes of the various temptations that assailed him”, Barsanuphius responded:  “Brother John, do not fear any of the temptations that come to test you, for the Lord will not let you fall prey to them. So, whenever one of these temptations comes to you, do not tire yourself by endeavouring to discern what is at stake, but cry out Jesus’ Name:  “Jesus, help me!’. And he will hear you, for he “is close to all who call on him’. Do not be discouraged, but run on with enthusiasm and you will reach the destination in Christ Jesus, Our Lord” (Barsanuphius and John of Gaza, Epistolario, 39:  Collana di Testi Patristici, XCIII, Rome, 1991, p. 109).

And these words of the ancient Father also apply to us. In our difficulties, problems, temptations, we must not simply make a theoretical reflection – where do they come from? – but must react positively; we must call on the Lord, we must keep alive our contact with the Lord. Indeed, we must cry out the Name of Jesus:  “Jesus, help me!”.

And let us be certain that he hears us, because he is close to those who seek him. Let us not feel discouraged, but let us run on with enthusiasm, as this Father says, and we too will reach the destination of our lives:  Jesus, the Lord.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, liturgy, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Oct 7~Psalms, Canticles and Readings for the Divine Office,With Some Commentary

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 7, 2010

Office of Reading:

Morning Office:

Midmorning Reading~Wisdom 19:22. For in everything, O Lord, thou hast exalted and glorified thy people; and thou hast not neglected to help them at all times and in all places.

Midday Reading~Deut 4:7. For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?

Midafternoon Reading~Esther 10:9. And my nation is Israel, who cried to the Lord, and the Lord saved his people: and he delivered us from all evils, and hath wrought great signs and wonders among the nations

Evening Office:

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, John Paul II Catechesis, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Scripture | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

This Week’s Posts: Sunday August 15-Saturday August 21

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 22, 2010

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Some posts are scheduled in advance and will not be available until the time indicated.

Sunday August 15:

Last Week’s Posts, August 8-14. In case you missed anything.

Resources for Sunday Mass, August 15, the Assumption. Resources for Sunday Mass is a regular feature on this blog. The list is usually posted on Wednesdays or Thursdays and then updated throughout the rest of the week.

Bishop MacEvily on Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13 for Sunday Mass, August 22.

My Notes on Luke 13:22-30 for Sunday Mass, August 22.

Monday August 16:

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel Matt 19:16-22. Available 12:05 AM EST.

St John Chrysostom on Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13for Sunday Mass August 22. Available 1:00 AM EST.

Father Callan’s Notes on Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13 for Sunday Mass, August 22. Available 1:10 AM EST.

Maldonado on Today’s Gospel (Matt 19:16-22). Available 5:05 AM EST.

Tuesday August 17:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 19:23-30). Available 12:05 AM EST.

Divine Office Tuesday August 17: Morning Prayers with Commentaries. Available 12:20 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 13:22-30 for Sunday Mass, August 22. Available 1:05 AM EST.

Obama Drops Transparency Mask. “Gradually the mask slips away, revealing the adolescent Marxist tyrant beneath. The ballyhooed “transparency” that was supposed to mark Barack Hussein Obama’s conspicuously secretive administration has been officially dropped.”

Wednesday August 18:

Father Leopold Fonck on Today’s Gospel, Matt 20:1-16 (The Workers in the Vineyard). Available 12:05 AM EST.

Cornelius a Lapide on Galatians 3:16-22 for Sunday Mass, August 22, (Extraordinary Form of the Rite). Available 12:15 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 17:11-19 for Sunday Mass, August 22, (Extraordinary Form of the Rite). Available 12:30 AM EST.

Thursday August 19:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel, Matt 22:1-14.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel, Matt 22:1-14.

UPDATE: Resources For Sunday Mass, August 22.

Friday August 20:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel, Matt 22:34-40. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 10. Available 12:35 AM EST.

Saturday August 21:

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 11:1-10. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on the Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-19).

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 11:11-24.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 11:25-36.

Father Joseph Rickaby on Galatians 3:16-22 for Sunday Mass, August 22 (Extraordinary Form).

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, fathers of the church, John Paul II Catechesis, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Galatians, Notes on Hebrews, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Divine Office, Tuesday August 17: Morning Prayers with Commentaries

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 17, 2010

The theme of Today’s morning prayer is striving for and acting in justice (i.e., righteously). The desire to act righteously (Ps 101) must be accompanied by a spirit of repentance (Daniel 3: 26 &c), and the knowledge that one needs God’s help to attain any kind of victory, including victory over our own unrighteousness and that of others (Ps 144:1-10)

Psalm 101~If you love me, you will keep my commandments(Jn 14:15).

The Psalmist (King David) promises to act justly as a good ruler.

Mercy and judgment I will sing to thee, O Lord: I will sing,
Psa 101:2  And I will understand in the unspotted way, when thou shalt come to me. I walked in the innocence of my heart, in the midst of my house.
Psa 101:3  I will not set before my eyes any unjust thing: I hated the workers of iniquities.
Psa 101:4  The perverse heart did not cleave to me: and the malignant, that turned aside from me, I would not know.
Psa 101:5  The man that in private detracted his neighbour, him did I persecute. With him that had a proud eye, and an unsatiable heart, I would not eat.
Psa 101:6  My eyes were upon the faithful of the earth, to sit with me: the man that walked in the perfect way, he served me.
Psa 101:7  He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the midst of my house: he that speaketh unjust things did not prosper before my eyes.
Psa 101:8  In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land: that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.

Commentary/Meditation by Pope John Paul II.

Daniel 3:26, 27, 29, 34-41~Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (Act 3:19).

The persecution is considered in this Canticle as a just punishment with which God purifies his sinful people (Pope John Paul II).

(3:26) Blessed art thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and thy name is worthy of praise, and glorious for ever:
(3:27) For thou art just in all that thou hast done to us, and all thy works are true, and thy ways right, and all thy judgments true.
(3:29) For we have sinned, and committed iniquity, departing from thee: and we have trespassed in all things:
(3:34) Deliver us not up for ever, we beseech thee, for thy name’s sake, and abolish not thy covenant.
(3:35) And take not away thy mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, thy beloved, and Isaac, thy servant, and Israel, thy holy one:
(3:36) To whom thou hast spoken, promising that thou wouldst multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is on the sea shore.
(3:37) For we, O Lord, are diminished more than any nation, and are brought low in all the earth this day for our sins.
(3:38) Neither is there at this time prince, or leader, or prophet, or holocaust, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place of first fruits before thee,
(3:39) That we may find thy mercy: nevertheless, in a contrite heart and humble spirit let us be accepted.
(3:40) As in holocausts of rams, and bullocks, and as in thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be made in thy sight this day, that it may please thee: for there is no confusion to them that trust in thee.
(3:41) And now we follow thee with all our heart, and we fear thee, and seek thy face.

Commentary/Meditation by Pope John Paul II.

Psalm 144:1-10~I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me (Phil 4:13).

Only with divine support can we overcome the dangers and difficulties which beset our daily life. Only by counting on help from Heaven will we have the determination to set out, like the ancient king of Israel, on the way towards freedom from every form of oppression (Pope John Paul II).

Psa 144:1  Blessed be the Lord my God, who teacheth my hands to fight, and my fingers to war.
Psa 144:2  My mercy, and my refuge: my support, and my deliverer: My protector, and I have hoped in him: who subdueth my people under me.
Psa 144:3  Lord, what is man, that thou art made known to him? or the son of man, that thou makest account of him?
Psa 144:4  Man is like to vanity: his days pass away like a shadow.
Psa 144:5  Lord, bow down thy heavens and descend: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
Psa 144:6  Send forth lightning, and thou shalt scatter them: shoot out thy arrows, and thou shalt trouble them.
Psa 144:7  Put forth thy hand from on high, take me out, and deliver me from many waters: from the hand of strange children:
Psa 144:8  Whose mouth hath spoken vanity: and their right hand is the right hand of iniquity.
Psa 144:9  To thee, O God, I will sing a new canticle: on the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings I will sing praises to thee.
Psa 144:10  Who givest salvation to kings: who hast redeemed thy servant David from the malicious sword.

Commentary/Meditation by Pope John Paul II.

Luke 1:68-79~Zachariah’s Canticle:

Luk 1:68  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people.
Luk 1:69  And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant.
Luk 1:70  As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning.
Luk 1:71  Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us.
Luk 1:72  To perform mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy testament.
Luk 1:73  The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us.
Luk 1:74  That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear:
Luk 1:75  In holiness and justice before him, all our days.
Luk 1:76  And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt, go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:
Luk 1:77  To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins.
Luk 1:78  Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
Luk 1:79  To enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.

Commentary/Meditation by Pope John Paul II.

Scripture Reading:

Isa 55:1  All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price.

In the Middle East of Isaiah’s time (and even today) it was/is customary for food and water to be sold in town squares and outdoor markets. Then as now it was/is an opportunity for the wealthy but pious man to purchase a vendor’s entire stock of the basic necessities-bread and water- and order him to distribute it free of charge.  In today’s reading God is being portrayed as such a patron and more (not just water but luxuries like wine and milk).

The verse and the overall context (verse 1-13) calls to mind the feast wisdom personified calls us to celebrate with her (Proverbs 9).  The call to “come ye” and “come to the waters” calls to mind the words of our Blessed Lord in John 4:14 and 7:37.  The invitation to the feast without money recalls the exchange between our Lord and Philip just before the miracle of the loaves (see John 6:5-6). The food of Jesus was to do the salvific will and work of His Father (Jn 4:31-34) which he feeds us (Jn 6:22-59).  The feast in Isaiah is closely associated with the renewal of the Davidic Covenant (55:3), and act of the righteous God who calls his people to repentance as to a banquet (55:6-9).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, John Paul II Catechesis, Meditations, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pope Benedict on Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-56)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 13, 2010

Magnificat
“My soul glorifies the Lord’


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. We have now arrived at the final destination of the long journey begun exactly five years ago in Spring 2001, by my beloved Predecessor, the unforgettable Pope John Paul II. In his Catecheses, the great Pope wanted to cover the whole sequence of the Psalms and Canticles that constitute the fundamental prayerful fabric of the Liturgy of Lauds and Vespers. Having now reached the end of this pilgrimage through the texts, similar to a stroll in a garden filled with flowers of praise, invocation, prayer and contemplation, let us now make room for thatCanticle which seals in spirit every celebration of Vespers:  the Magnificat (Lk 1: 46-55).

It is a canticle that reveals in filigree the spirituality of the biblical anawim, that is, of those faithful who not only recognize themselves as “poor” in the detachment from all idolatry of riches and power, but also in the profound humility of a heart emptied of the temptation to pride and open to the bursting in of the divine saving grace. Indeed, the whole Magnificat, which we have just heard the Sistine Chapel Choir sing, is marked by this “humility”, in Greek tapeinosis, which indicates a situation of material humility and poverty.

2. The first part of the Marian canticle (cf. Lk 1: 46-50) is a sort of solo voice that rises to Heaven to reach the Lord. The constant resonance of the first person should be noted:  “My soul… my spirit… my Saviour… has done great things for me… [they] will call me blessed…”. So it is that the soul of the prayer is the celebration of the divine grace which has burst into the heart and life of Mary, making her Mother of the Lord. We hear the Virgin’s own voice speaking of her Saviour who has done great things in her soul and body.

The intimate structure of her prayerful canticle, therefore, is praise, thanksgiving and grateful joy. But this personal witness is neither solitary nor intimistic, purely individualistic, because the Virgin Mother is aware that she has a mission to fulfil for humanity and her experience fits into the history of salvation.

She can thus say:  “And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation” (v. 50). With this praise of the Lord, Our Lady gives a voice to all redeemed creatures, who find in her “fiat”, and thus in the figure of Jesus, born of the Virgin, the mercy of God.

3. It is at this point that the second poetic and spiritual part of the Magnificat unfolds (cf. vv. 51-55). It has a more choral tone, almost as if the voices of the whole community of the faithful were associated with Mary’s voice, celebrating God’s amazing decision.

In the original Greek of Luke’s Gospel, we have seven aorist verbs that indicate the same number of actions which the Lord carries out repeatedly in history:  “He has shown strength… he has scattered the proud… he has put down the mighty… he has exalted those of low degree… he has filled the hungry with good things… the rich he has sent empty away… he has helped… Israel”.

In these seven divine acts, the “style” that inspires the behaviour of the Lord of history stands out:  he takes the part of the lowly. His plan is one that is often hidden beneath the opaque context of human events that see “the proud, the mighty and the rich” triumph.

Yet his secret strength is destined in the end to be revealed, to show who God’s true favourites are:  “Those who fear him”, faithful to his words:  “those of low degree”, “the hungry”, “his servant Israel”; in other words, the community of the People of God who, like Mary, consist of people who are “poor”, pure and simple of heart. It is that “little flock” which is told not to fear, for the Lord has been pleased to give it his Kingdom (cf. Lk 12: 32). And this Canticle invites us to join the tiny flock and the true members of the People of God in purity and simplicity of heart, in God’s love.

4. Let us therefore accept the invitation that St Ambrose, the great Doctor of the Church, addresses to us in his commentary on the text of the Magnificat:  “May Mary’s soul be in each one to magnify the Lord, may Mary’s spirit be in each one to rejoice in God; if, according to the flesh, the Mother of Christ is one alone, according to the faith all souls bring forth Christ; each, in fact, welcomes the Word of God within…. Mary’s soul magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God because, consecrated in soul and spirit to the Father and to the Son, she adores with devout affection one God, from whom come all things and only one Lord, by virtue of whom all things exist” (Exposition of the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke, 2: 26-27:  SAEMO, XI, Milan-Rome, 1978, p. 169).

In this marvellous commentary on the Magnificat by St Ambrose, I am always especially moved by the surprising words:  “If, according to the flesh the Mother of Christ is one alone, according to the faith all souls bring forth Christ:  indeed, each one intimately welcomes the Word of God”. Thus, interpreting Our Lady’s very words, the Holy Doctor invites us to ensure that the Lord can find a dwelling place in our own souls and lives. Not only must we carry him in our hearts, but we must bring him to the world, so that we too can bring forth Christ for our epoch. Let us pray the Lord to help us praise him with Mary’s spirit and soul, and to bring Christ back to our world.

Posted in BENEDICT XVI CATECHESIS, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Our Lady, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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