25th St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Complete Psalm 36 from 35-36.   Begin Psalm 37  (Tuesday at Matins) “Prayer of the sinner is his time of crisis”  “Third enemy of the kingdom: sin”  “This psalm is the fervent pleading of as repentant sinner. The Christian, praying this psalm, will think of overcoming the greatest enemy of his soul, sin.  The psalm  can also be put into the mouth of the living Saviour; through His suffering and Cross He has atoned the sins of all the world.” (Roman Breviary)  PSALM 37 A PRAYER OF A PENITENT FOR THE REMISSION OF HIS SINS. THE THIRD PENITENTIAL PSALM.   1 The penitent David prays to God not to punish him in his anger and his wrath, as the judge deals with the culprit; but in his mercy, as the physician does with the patient. See the beginning of Psalm 6, on the difference between indignation and wrath, where we make them to be synonymous; but we will make a  difference, we would say with St. Augustine, that they…
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24th St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Friday 19 January 2018   Complete Psalm 36 from last week beginning with verses 8-9
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23rd St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Complete Ps. 35 from last week. Begin Psalm 36 (Tuesday at Matins) “The prosperity of the wicked is passing. The happiness of just is enduring.” The Roman Breviary says: “Psalm 36 is a didactic poem; successive verses are independent of previous ones, and there is no development of sequence of thought. Teh aim of the psalmist is to caution the virtuous against the allurements of the world and the seeming prosperity of the wicked ones.” (RB) Verse 1 “1– 2 The prophet, in the character of a spiritual physician, admonishes the faithful, when they see the wicked prospering, not to be tempted to imitate them, or to be indignant or manifest angry with God, as if he were treating them unjustly; because the prosperity of the evil doer will not be of long duration; nay, it will even have but a very brief existence; and then will God’s justice and providence, in not allowing them to exult and rejoice for any length of time, be made manifest to all. ‘Be not emulous of evil…
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22nd St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Complete Ps. 34 from last week Psalm 35 (Thursday at Lauds) “THE MALICE OF SINNERS AND THE GOODNESS OF GOD.” The Roman Breviary says: “’Life without God and life with God’ This psalm is composed of two poems set in opposition to each other. The first one portrays the wicked confirmed in their evildoing; the second depicts God as the fountain of life. It is on account of the second part that the psalm has been chosen for Lauds—it is a very fine reference to the Holy Eucharist. In the Eucharist Christ is, in the fullest and deepest sense, ‘the fountain of life,’ the source of sanctifying grace. It is a very fervent song” 35 (Thursday at Lauds) “THE MALICE OF SINNERS AND THE GOODNESS OF GOD.” Verse 1: “The prophet tells us the two primary roots of sin, one of which is in the will, whereby we determine on committing sin; the other is in the understanding, that does not consider the fear of the Lord forbidding sin. “The unjust hath said within himself,” that is,…
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21st St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Complete Ps. 33 Vv. 9. Begin Psalm 34 (Tuesday at Matins): The Roman Breviary says: “The Persecuted Church.” “First enemy of the kingdom: persecutor of Christians. This psalm is a plea against evil enemies; the Christian at prayer applies the psalm to the Church persecuted by the powers of hell. The enemy is the devil, and we pray that he will be completely overcome....” St. Robert Bellarmine: “PSALM 34 DAVID, IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST, PRAYETH AGAINST HIS PERSECUTORS; PROPHETICALLY FORESHOWING THE PUNISHMENTS THAT SHALL FALL UPON THEM....Verse 1 A petition for help against persecutors in general. To understand this verse properly we should understand Hebrew, from which it clearly appears that the verse means; ‘Judge them that judge me.’ By a just judgment condemn them that unjustly condemned me, such as the chiefs of the Jews, Annas and Caiphas, and the chiefs of the gentiles, Pilate and Herod, who judged Christ most unjustly; and many kings and princes who, by most unjust…
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20th St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Complete Ps. 32 Vv. 18-19 to 22. Begin Psalm 33: (Wednesday at Compline): The Roman Breviary says: “This very beautiful and consoling psalm assures us that God never abandons His children. He rescues them from every peril and rewards them richly. Like a refrain, four times repeated, one mighty theme stands out: ‘The just man cried out to the God and God delivered him from every peril.’... Psalm 33 was a great favourite among the early Christians and was often chanted a Communion hymn during holy Mass.” Verse 1: This is called an alphabetical Psalm, by reason of the first verse beginning with the first letter of the alphabet, the second, with the second letter, and so on— done, possibly, that it may be easier committed to memory, and be often chanted by the faithful. He commences by returning thanks with great affection....” Saint Robert Bellarmine, A Commentary on the Book of Psalms. p. 144.
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19th St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 32 (Monday at None): The Roman Breviary says: “Praise our all-merciful God.” 1 The rejoicing asked for here, includes the praising of God in joy; that is, praise him in rejoicing, not against your will, or in a sad or negligent manner, but with great affection, rejoicing and exulting in your hearts; and praise him not only internally but externally; because, “praise becometh the upright;” in other words, I specially invite you, ye just, to praise God, because it is the special duty of the just, who are called here the upright, as naturally they are; and with whom God, as being all righteousness, is always pleased.” p. 137 Saint Robert Bellarmine.” A Commentary on the Book of Psalms . Psalm 33: (Wednesday at Compline): The Roman Breviary says: “This very beautiful and consoling psalm assures us that God never abandons His children. He rescues them from every peril and rewards them richly. Like a refrain, fourt times repeated, one mighty theme stands out: ‘The just…
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18th St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 31 (Monday at None): The Roman Breviary says: “The Penitent’s Hymn of Thanks” David prays this psalm after his sin with Bethsabee. And we also may feel thankful for the grace of repentance so often granted to us.” (RB) Verse 1 No one can fairly appreciate the value of health until they have had to deplore the loss of it. It was only when David tasted of the bitterness of sin that he first began to feel the sweetness of innocence. Hence, this Penitential Psalm starts in the praise of pardon and innocence; p.129, Saint Robert Bellarmine. Psalm 32 (Monday at None): The Roman Breviary says: “Praise our all-merciful God.” 1 The rejoicing asked for here, includes the praising of God in joy; that is, praise him in rejoicing, not against your will, or in a sad or negligent manner, but with great affection, rejoicing and exulting in your hearts; and praise him not only internally but externally; because, “praise becometh the upright;” in other words, I specially invite…
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17th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Complete Ps. 29 Vv 8-9 from last week. Begin Ps. 30 (Monday at Sext): The Roman Breviary says: “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” Background in the story of salvation: Jesus hanging on the Cross speak His final words: “Into your hand I commend My spirit.” (Ps. 30) On the Cross His prayer of redemption. Especially in the middle verses we hear descriptions of His torments.” From St. Robert Bellarmine Verse10 David, being now an old man, could justly say, “For my life is wasted with grief:” was spent in constant trouble and “sighs.” In the first thirty years of his life his troubles were innumerable. On being made king, for seven years he had to wage war against the descendants of Saul; he then had various wars with neighbouring kingdoms; then with his own son....
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15th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Begin Psalm 27 (Monday at Tierce): The Roman Breviary says: “Psalm 27 continues the spirit of psalm 26, part 2. It is a pressing pleas for help in time of crisis. For us it is a pastoral prayer of the Church.” St. Robert comments on Ps. 27: DAVID’S PRAYER THAT HIS ENEMIES MAY NOT PREVAIL OVER HIM. EXPLANATION OF THE PSALM 1 Words spoken by Christ as he hung on the cross, asking for a speedy resurrection. “Be not thou silent;” do not turn from me, as if you were deaf, and did not hear me. He asks in a few words, that he may be heard, and get an answer from God that his prayer would be heard. “Lest if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit;” he wishes for an answer, because if God will not hear him, and give him a favourable answer, he will be like all other mortals who die and go to the lower regions, never to return there from. “Lest if thou be silent to me;” for fear you may not hear me, and I may, in consequence, become like those “that…
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14th(a) Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Continuation of Psalm 25 and the beginning of Ps. 26 (Monday at Tierce): Ps. 26: the Roman Breviary comments: “Psalm 26 consists of two strophes unlike in thought and concluded each by a finale. Notice the beautiful priestly prayer of verse: ‘One thing I ask of the Lord...’ St. Robert comments on Ps. 26 “DAVID’S FAITH AND HOPE IN GOD EXPLANATION OF THE PSALM 1 Tribulation brings on darkness, prosperity brings light and serenity; for tribulation confuses and confounds the soul, so that it cannot easily see how it ought to act, and thence is provoked to impatience, or to some other sin. But should God, by his divine light, dispel the darkness, the soul at once sees that the tribulation, which in the darkness of the night brought such horrors with it, was once enlightened and saved, but will constantly protect me with the shield of his providence and benevolence. “Of whom shall I be afraid,” then? “If God be for us, who is against us?” If a king, with a powerful armed…
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14th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Complete Psalm 24 from Friday 8 September 2017. On Friday 15 September, we had my conference on the “Glories of Divine Grace.” Psalm 25 from Prime of Wednesday: “Prayer before Holy Communion” “Prayer of the Innocent. The way to God’s kingdom is an innocent life. Happy the man has a clear conscience.” (Roman Breviary) “David’s Prayer to God for His Distress to Be Delivered, that He May Come to Worship Him in His Tabernacle (St. Robert Bellarmine, p.103) 1 David, having a misunderstanding with the king, appeals to the King of kings, there being none other to whom he could appeal. “Judge me, O Lord.” Be you, O Lord, my judge; let not Saul take it on him, but do it yourself. “For I have walked in my innocence,” with confidence I challenge God’s judgment, because my conscience which God alone beholds, does not reprove me, “For I have walked in my innocence.” I have led an innocent life. “I have put my trust in the Lord, and shall not be weakened.”…
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12th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 23 from Prime on Monday: “Thoughts on God’s Sanctuary” “God’s triumphal entry...Are you worthy to go along on this procession? Psalm 23 is a dramatic poem in tow parts: 1) the procession with the Ark: 2) before the gates of Mt. Sion.” (Roman Breviary, p. 299) “WHO ARE THEY THAT SHALL ASCEND TO HEAVEN; CHRIST’S TRIUMPHANT ASCENSION THITHER EXPLANATION OF THE PSALM 1 David proposes proving that of the immense family of the human race, Christ alone, and a few, very few others, as compared with the crowd, will enter God’s most holy and happy house; ...he premises those two verses, in which he lays down that God is the Creator and Lord of the entire world, and of everything in it. ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof’;” (St. Robert, Commentary, p.95)
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11th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 20, From Monday at Matins: “Joyous Gratitude” “Christ the Conqueror is crowned by His Father. During the week w mean to share His victory.” (Roman Breviary, p. 280) “1 Having obtained a victory, “The King,” Christ, “Shall joy in thy strength,” for the strength and power he got from you to triumph so successfully over his enemies; “’And in thy salvation,’ the salvation you gave him, ‘shall rejoice,’ nay, even ‘rejoice exceedingly.’ One part of the verse thus explains the other.” Psalm 21, From Friday at Prime: “A Prophecy of the Passion” “Christ on the Cross” “1 David speaks here in the person of Christ hanging on the cross, in the height of his suffering, as appears from Mt. 27, in which we read that the Redeemer, just before he expired, exclaimed: ‘O God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ The words, “Look upon me,” are not in the Hebrew; they were added by the Septuagint, for explanation sake. When Christ complains of having…
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10th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 18: The Sun Hymn. From Monday at Prime: “Prayer to obtain love of God’s Law.” “This is the famous sun psalm. More beautifully than all the rest of creation, the sun proclaims the glory of God; in fact the sun is the symbol of God, the symbol of Christ. (Roman Breviary, p. 300) “1 Being about to institute a comparison between the law of God and his heavens, and thence to extol his law, he sets out by saying, that such are the grandeur of the heavens, that they at once proclaim the grandeur of their Maker. The heavens show forth the glory of God;” that is to say, the heavens preeminently, beyond all the other works of God, by their grandeur and beauty make his glory known to us; “and the firmament declareth the work of his hands.” Psalm 19, From Monday at Matins. “Days of Distress, Days of Prayer.” “Prayer before Battle” “This psalm is a plea to the Father before the day’s battle, the week’s conflict of the kingdom of God—a plea which expressed at…
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9th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 17:25-26: 25– 26 “A reason for his having said he would get according to his justice from God, because God gives to everyone according to his works. He speaks to God here, ‘With the holy thou wilt be holy’; with the pious and the merciful thou wilt deal kindly and mercifully. To the man who is innocent, that is, who doeth no injury, thou wilt do no injury, nor permit others to do it. ‘With the elect thou wilt be elect’; with the sincere and pure minded, (for such is the meaning of the Hebrew,) you will deal sincerely and candidly; ‘And with the perverse thou wilt be perverted’:
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8th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 17:From Matins for Monday: “Prayer of Thanksgiving.” “At the end of his life, David sings this psalm as a sort of swan song , one of the most beautiful compositions in the Psalter. He looks back over the battles of his life and his final victory over all his enemies—a note of courage for the coming conflicts for the week.” (Roman Breviary, p. 274.) 1– 2 What he expressed in one word, ‘my strength,’ he now explains by several words, ‘my firmament, my refuge, my deliverer’: as if he said, I may justly call him my strength, when he is all the above names to me. When I lie down, he is my firmament; when I am in danger, he is my refuge; should I fall into the hands of the enemy, he will deliver me; and thus, in every respect, he is my strength and my courage. ‘My God is my helper, and in him will I put my trust: my protector and the horn of my salvation’.
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7th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Continuation of Psalm 15:11: The complete promise of the inheritance is here explained. “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life;” you have “taught me the way” of returning to delights even unto the end;” when he places them on his right hand, and with his right hand fills them, as if from an inexhaustible fountain, with delights interminable. 28 July 2017, Psalm 16: From Matins for Monday: “A Prayer for Justice from Enemies.” “It is a fierce struggle, but God is the mighty champion. ... This is the psalm that St. Lawrence prayed while he was being martyred (burned on the gridiron)” (Roman Breviary, Vol. III, p272). “1 He first prays that his just cause may be heard, for with a just judge, the cause is more regarded than the person; he asks then that his prayer may be attended to; for God not only loves justice, but also the just; and, as St. James has it, ‘The prayer of the just availeth much.’ He finally unites both justice and prayer, when he says,…
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6th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 13: From Matins for Monday: “Evils of Unbelief; Their Punishment” 1 “To such a pitch of folly has human nature, corrupted in our first parent, arrived, that one can be found, without daring to express it, yet to ‘say in his heart there is no God.’ David does not convey here, that one particular person said so, but that men in general, through the corruption of their intellect, had come to such a pitch of blindness, as to become entirely regardless of their last end, and to think there was no God who regarded mankind, or to whom they would be accountable. ‘The fool,”’ that is, the man bereft of all sense, ‘said in his heart, There is no God’:” Psalm 14: From Matins for Monday: “The Ideal Man of God” “Coming now to particulars, he says, ‘The man to dwell in the house of the Lord”’ is he who doeth no evil in heart, mouth or action, ‘Who speaketh truth in his heart.’ For all who set more value than they ought on the things of this world, do not…
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5th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
14 July 2017 Psalm 10: From Lauds for Sunday: “Prayer for Confidence” “The cry of the just man, who, under the weight of calumny is nigh tempted to despair and to desert his calling. ‘In the Lord I put any trust.’ He is everywhere, and all powerful.” Psalm 11: From Compline for Tuesday: “THE PROPHET CALLS FOR GOD’S HELP AGAINST THE WICKED” 1 “Save me, O Lord, from all dangers, for there is nobody else in whom I can confide; ‘For there is now no saint’; for there is scarce in the world to be found any one truly “Pious and merciful,” (for such is the real meaning of the Hebrew word,) and not merciful only, but truthful. For ‘truths are decayed among the children of men’; that is, scarce one can be found to speak the simple truth.” Psalm 12: From Compline for Tuesday: “A PRAYER IN TRIBULATION” 1 When the sinful desires are very powerful, God seems to forget and to desert the soul; when the understanding is obscured by darkness, he seems to turn from…
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4th Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 9: From Sunday for Matins: “THE CHURCH PRAISETH GOD FOR HIS PROTECTION AGAINST HER ENEMIES EXPLANATION OF THE PSALM 1. “The matter of the Psalm is here proposed, viz., the praise of God for his wonderful works. The words, ‘With my whole heart,’ signify the subject to be praised is one of the highest importance, and, therefore, to be done with all his might and affections. The words, ‘All thy wonders’ imply that the subject of his praise is so expansive as to comprehend in one view all the wonderful works of God”.
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3rd Part St. Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 7: From Compline for Monday: “ An Appeal to God’s Mercy when Falsely Accused.” “DAVID, TRUSTING IN THE JUSTICE OF HIS CAUSE, PRAYETH FOR GOD’S HELP AGAINST HIS ENEMIES EXPLANATION OF THE PSALM 1 ‘In thee have I put my trust,’ because nearly all have deserted me, so that my very son Absalom, and my father in law Saul, seek to put me to death. I have no one to trust in but you, my God. “Save me from all them that persecute me.” Numerous were his persecutors— some by their advice, some by their maledictions, some by war and arms.” Psalm 8: From Matins for Sunday: “Reflecting on God’s greatness, the prophet is wrapped in admiration at the idea of a God, so great in himself, condescending to look upon or to heap such and so many favours on man, a thing of dust and ashes. ‘O Lord,’ says he, who art the source of all being, whence all created things are derived; and, therefore, ‘Our Lord,’ that is to say, thou art Lord of all, ‘how admirable is thy…
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