Friday, March 31, 2017

Convert us O Lord - Psalm 125 v5 (Gradual Psalm No 7/5)




5
V/NV
Convérte, Dómine, captivitátem nostram, * sicut torrens in austro.
JH
Conuerte, Domine, captiuitatem nostram,  sicut riuum in austro. 

πίστρεψον κύριε τν αχμαλωσίαν μν ς χειμάρρους ν τ νότ

Text notes: The second phrase is a proverbial allusion to the sudden change from dried up wadies in summer to overflowing rivers and streams in winter, ie Converte Domine captivitatem nostram, sicut torrens in Austro = Change, 0 Lord, our lot, like the wady in the south-land.

converto, verti, versum, ere 3,  to turn, change, alter, bring back, quicken, refresh,restore,  convert, turn from sin
torrens, entis, m.  a brook, stream, torrent
Auster, stri, m.,  the south wind;, the south.

DR
Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south.
Brenton
Turn, O Lord, our captivity, as the steams in the south.
Grail
Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage as streams in dry land.
MD
Restore again our fortunes O Lord as the torrent in the south
RSV
Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb!
Cover
Turn our captivity, O Lord, as the rivers in the south.
Knox
Deliver us, Lord, from our bondage; our withered hopes, Lord, like some desert water-course renew

A traditionalist's prayer for the restoration of the Church?!

There are two main lines of interpretation in relation to this verse.  The first is to see it as a call on the part of those who have already returned to God praying for the return of the rest of the people, just as there were two waves of return from Babylon to Jerusalem, under Ezra and Nehemiah respectively.

St Robert Bellarmine, for example, suggested:
As all the captives did not come home together—for some came, in the first instance, with Esdras, and then another party with Nehemias — the first party, then, pray to God for the return of all the captives, and they take up the simile of a torrent that is wont to run with great force and violence in a southerly gale; hence they say, "Turn again, O Lord, our captivity." Bring back our captives, the majority of whom are still in the land of the stranger; and bring them back at once, as quickly "as a stream in the south;" for when the wind blows from the south, the rain falls, the streams and the rivers rise, and the great flood rolls rapidly on to the ocean, and that without delay or obstruction. 
If the exiles, on their return, prayed to God so earnestly, what amount of earnestness will not be required of us, still exiles as we are? For though some have got home, have  come to their country, yet many are still in exile, on the not so are quite reconciled to the captivity, and attached to the things of this world that they don't bestow even a thought on their country; it was, then, absolutely necessary that the Lord, with all the violence of a torrent, when the south wind blows, should force them and compel them to ascend. 
In conclusion, then, the former, as well as the latter, are, to a certain extent, captives; for "all expect that every creature shall be deliv­ered from the servitude of corruption;" and even the blessed in heaven included. It is for this perfect liberty of the children of God, of which St. Paul treats in Rom. 8, that we most properly pray when we say, "Turn again our captivity as a stream in the south." The south means the south wind that usually preceded rain, and caused the streams and rivers to fill and run with rapidity; most expressive of the tide of captives returning back again in crowds and in haste to their beloved country.
And for our own conversion

The second line of interpretation focuses on the verses application to ourselves.  Cassiodorus, for example says: 
Now that they have proclaimed redemption brought by the Lord's coming, the faithful people reach the second section, entreating that their sins be again pardoned, for as Scripture says: The just man is bis own accuser at the beginning of his speech? and again: First tell of your iniquities that you may justify yourself. So rightly they both rejoiced at the general pardon and prayed that they too be granted indulgence. 
There follows a beautiful comparison: As a torrent in the south wind. The south is a warm wind which by the force of its exhalation looses waters which are fast bound with cold, and unleashes a rushing torrent through the heat of its breath. In the same way, sins held fast by the cold of death (for they have no life in them) are loosed by the warmth of heavenly mercy, and swiftly depart like a raging torrent. To grasp the fullness of the sense we must say: "Transform our captivity, Lord, as a torrent in the south wind is transformed into running water."
 Psalm 125 (126)
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
Canticum graduum.

 In converténdo Dóminus captivitátem Sion: * facti sumus sicut consoláti:
When the Lord brought back the captivity of Sion, we became like men comforted.
2  Tunc replétum est gáudio os nostrum: * et lingua nostra exsultatióne
2 Then was our mouth filled with gladness; and our tongue with joy.
3  Tunc dicent inter Gentes: * Magnificávit Dóminus fácere cum eis.
Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord has done great things for them.
4  Magnificávit Dóminus fácere nobíscum: * facti sumus lætántes.
3 The Lord has done great things for us; we have become joyful.
5  Convérte, Dómine, captivitátem nostram, * sicut torrens in austro.
4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south.
6  Qui séminant in lácrimis, * in exsultatióne metent.
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

7  Eúntes ibant et flebant, * mitténtes sémina sua.
6 Going they went and wept, casting their seeds.
8  Veniéntes autem vénient cum exsultatióne, * portántes manípulos suos.
7 But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Lord has done great things for us - Psalm 125 v 3-4 (Gradual Psalm No 7/4)





The previous spoke of our proper Easter joy; this one builds on it by emphasising that  God's great work of redemption was visible not just to the Jews of the time, but to the Gentiles as well, many of whom converted.  And truth has a greater impact when outsiders can witness to it.

3
V/NV
Tunc dicent inter gentes: * magnificávit Dóminus fácere cum eis.
JH
tunc dicent in gentibus,  Magnificauit Dominus facere cum istis. 

τότε ροσιν ν τος θνεσιν μεγάλυνεν κύριος το ποισαι μετ' ατν

Text notes:  A number of the commentators suggest that ‘dicent’ should be translated here as ‘men were saying’ or ‘it is said’.  ‘Magnificare facere’ is a particular construction taken over from the Hebrew meaning ‘has done great things’.

gens, gentis, sing., people, nation, the chosen people, the Israelites; pl the heathen, the gentiles,
magnifico, avi, atum, are to praise, glorify, extol, magnify

DR
Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord has done great things for them.
Brenton
then would they say among the Gentiles The Lord has done great things among them.
Grail
The heathens themselves said: "What marvels the Lord worked for them!"
MD
Then was it said among the heathens, The Lord hath done great things for them
RSV
then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
Coverdale
Then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.
Knox
Among the heathen themselves it was said, What favour the Lord has shewn them!

Cassiodorus explains the reasons for emphasising the attention of the Gentiles:
The praise proclaimed by enemies is unambiguous; there is great weight of truth when a person known to have opposing senti­ments gives favourable testimony. Note quite carefully that he does not say: "The Gentiles," but among the Gentiles. At the coming of the Lord not all Gentiles believed, but among them were some who could have uttered such words when pricked at heart. So when they saw religion flourishing among the Christian people, they attained good understanding, and they proclaimed that the Lord was truly with such people, for they showed zeal for an upright conscience, and did not desire to besmirch themselves with any superstition. 
Since they saw that the Christians were also exercising virtues, they said: "The Lord has decided to do great things with them," for they saw that the Christians through their prayers were having their requests fulfilled.
The second half of the verse is echoed in the Magnificat, and goes to the wonder of what has happened, as St John Chrysostom explains:
And observe: they did not say, "He saved us," nor "He freed us," but He excelled himself, wanting to bring out through the term "excelling" the baffling character of the marvel...  word of them circulated everywhere, making clear to every­one God's lovingkindness: the wonders worked for them were marvellous and larger than life. 
As St Augustine tells us, we have received reward well beyond any possible merit or expectation:
It is the fact that the Lord dealt nobly with us, beyond our merits and our expectations, when he brought us from a miser­able captivity to this our sweetest native land; and thus "we are become joyful;" we who had hitherto been groaning in sorrow, captives as we were.
4
V/NV/JH
Magnificávit Dóminus fácere nobíscum: * facti sumus lætántes.

μεγάλυνεν κύριος το ποισαι μεθ' μν γενήθημεν εφραινόμενοι

laetor, atus sum, ari, (laetus), to rejoice, be joyful, take delight in

DR
The Lord has done great things for us; we have become joyful.
Brenton
The Lord has done great things for us, we became joyful.
Grail
What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.
MD
Yes the Lord hath done great things for us, and we were filled with joy.
RSV
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
Coverdale
Yea, the Lord hath done great things for us already, whereof we rejoice.
Knox
Favour indeed the Lord has shewn us, and our hearts are rejoiced.

St Augustine comments: 
In the whole world our redemption is received; Amen is answered. The dwellers in Jerusalem, therefore, captive, destined to return, pilgrims, sighing for their country, speak thus among the heathen. What do they say? The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we rejoice. Have they done anything for themselves? They have done ill with themselves, for they have sold themselves under sin. The Redeemer came, and did the good things for them.

Psalm 125 (126)
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
Canticum graduum.

 In converténdo Dóminus captivitátem Sion: * facti sumus sicut consoláti:
When the Lord brought back the captivity of Sion, we became like men comforted.
2  Tunc replétum est gáudio os nostrum: * et lingua nostra exsultatióne
2 Then was our mouth filled with gladness; and our tongue with joy.
3  Tunc dicent inter Gentes: * Magnificávit Dóminus fácere cum eis.
Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord has done great things for them.
4  Magnificávit Dóminus fácere nobíscum: * facti sumus lætántes.
3 The Lord has done great things for us; we have become joyful.
5  Convérte, Dómine, captivitátem nostram, * sicut torrens in austro.
4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south.
6  Qui séminant in lácrimis, * in exsultatióne metent.
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

7  Eúntes ibant et flebant, * mitténtes sémina sua.
6 Going they went and wept, casting their seeds.
8  Veniéntes autem vénient cum exsultatióne, * portántes manípulos suos.
7 But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.







Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Show your joy - Psalm 125 v2 (Gradual Psalm No 7/3)

El Greco


2
V/NV
Tunc replétum est gáudio os nostrum: * et lingua nostra exsultatióne.
JH
Tunc implebitur risu os nostrum, et lingua nostra laude : 

τότε πλήσθη χαρς τ στόμα μν κα  γλσσα μν γαλλιάσεως 

tunc, adv. denoting a point of time which corresponds with another; then, at that time. as a subst.
repleo, plevi, pletum, ere 2, to fill, sate, satisfy
gaudium, ii,, joy, gladness, delight
os, oris, n., the mouth. 
lingua, ae, , the tongue; language, speech, tongue; plan, council. .
exsultatio, onis, joy, rejoicing, exultation

DR
Then was our mouth filled with gladness; and our tongue with joy.
Brenton
Then was our mouth filled with joy, and our tongue with exultation:
Grail
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, on our lips there were songs.
MD
Then our mouth was filled with gladness, and our tongue with jubilation.
RSV
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;
Coverdale
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with joy.
Knox
in every mouth was laughter, joy was on every tongue.

Verse 2 of Psalm 125 takes us to the people's rejoicing at their liberation, and this is proper, as it reflects our proper attitude of gratitude towards God.

Cassiodorus tells us that the when referred to here (tunc) means the coming of Christ; but it can equally be applied, I think to his sacrifice that redeemed us:
Then means when the coming of the Lord Saviour, as has now been said, transformed our captivity into joy, our vices into virtues, our ignorance into knowledge of things divine, our death into eternal life, so that our mouth was rightly filled with gladness, and our tongue with joy, for such blessings were bestowed on us by the Lord's gift. Here mouth describes the hidden depth of the heart, where joys are first sown and sprout, and through the office of the tongue burst out into a harvest of words. It is the mouth which is referred to in: Taste, and see that the Lord is good!1 Even though his lips are closed, he cries out to the Lord, and the utterance of his remorseful heart is effectively heard, though his mouth is inactive.
 St Robert Bellarmine urges us always to show our joy:
this selfsame unspeakable consolation is always felt by those who are seri­ously converted to God, and, despising the hopes of this world, and abandoning all desire for the goods of this world, "direct their steps in the path of peace." 
They know the value of being rescued from the captivity of the devil, from the depths of the pit, and the being prepared for the enjoyment of true liberty and everlasting peace, through the call and the guidance of the Almighty. Interior joy will not fail to show itself externally, which it does by the expression of joy on the countenance and gladness on the tongue.
Rejoicing, he argues, is the proper reaction to God's action:

Rejoicing at liberation from captivity is no slight contribution to a change for the better. And who, he asks, does not rejoice at it? Their forebears, when liberated from Egypt and transferred from that awful slavery to freedom, under the influence of extreme ingratitude murmured in the midst of the very benefits, were dis­gruntled, indignant, and maintained their grief. This is not true of us, they claim: we rejoice and exult.

Psalm 125 (126)
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
Canticum graduum.

 In converténdo Dóminus captivitátem Sion: * facti sumus sicut consoláti:
When the Lord brought back the captivity of Sion, we became like men comforted.
2  Tunc replétum est gáudio os nostrum: * et lingua nostra exsultatióne
2 Then was our mouth filled with gladness; and our tongue with joy.
3  Tunc dicent inter Gentes: * Magnificávit Dóminus fácere cum eis.
Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord has done great things for them.
4  Magnificávit Dóminus fácere nobíscum: * facti sumus lætántes.
3 The Lord has done great things for us; we have become joyful.
5  Convérte, Dómine, captivitátem nostram, * sicut torrens in austro.
4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south.
6  Qui séminant in lácrimis, * in exsultatióne metent.
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

7  Eúntes ibant et flebant, * mitténtes sémina sua.
6 Going they went and wept, casting their seeds.
8  Veniéntes autem vénient cum exsultatióne, * portántes manípulos suos.
7 But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.






Tuesday, March 28, 2017

When Christ freed his people - Psalm 125 v1 (Gradual Psalm No 7/2)

c586, Syriac rabbula Gospels

The first verse of Psalm 125 announces that when God freed his people from captivity the captivity of sins, he also comforted them in their distress.  We can perhaps best view this as epitomised by Christ's action in entrusting his mother to St John's care while on the cross.

1
V
In converténdo Dóminus captivitátem Sion: * facti sumus sicut consoláti:
NV
In convertendo Dominus captivitatem Sion, facti sumus quasi somniantes.
JH
Cum conuerteret Dominus captiuitatem Sion, facti sumus quasi somniantes.

ἐν τῷ ἐπιστρέψαι κύριον τὴν αἰχμαλωσίαν Σιων ἐγενήθημεν ὡς παρακεκλημένοι

Text notes: St Jerome’s use of a cum clause here is perhaps easier for English speakers to translate than the gerund of the Vulgate, but most translations use ‘When’ in any case.  

There is some debate about the appropriateness of the word ‘captivitatem’ here – the Hebrew Massoretic Text implies more ‘lot’ or ‘fortunes’, and the RSV translates it accordingly as ‘When the Lord restored the fortunes of Sion’.  Others, however, see the word as a direct reference to the Babylonian captivity, thus, ‘When the Lord ended the captivity of Sion’.  

In the second phrase, the Masoretic text (followed by the Diurnal) is ‘like people dreaming’ – in the first half of the psalm, the people are perhaps waking from a joyous dream, or seeing a vision of what it will be like.  The Septuagint-Vulgate version though presents us with the idea of God as comforter, an image of the Holy Spirit and on the face of it reflects an alternative, and arguably better, manuscript tradition.

converto, verti, versum, ere 3,  to turn, change, alter, bring back, quicken, refresh, restore,  convert, turn from sin
captivitas, atis,   captivity,  captives;[ lot, fortunes]
consolor, atus sum, ari, to comfort, console, encourage

DR
When the Lord brought back the captivity of Sion, we became like men comforted.
B
When the Lord turned the captivity of Sion, we became as comforted ones.
G
When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream.
MD
When the Lord ended the captivity of Sion, were then as in a dream.
RS
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
C
When the Lord turned again the captivity of Sion, then were we like unto them that dream.
K
When the Lord gave back Sion her banished sons, we walked like men in a dream;

Sion here is best interpreted as the Church, the people of God, held captive to sin.  Cassiodorus, for example, summarises St Augustine's take on the verse as follows:
It is clearly the captivity of the devil, under which the world was kept subject... But it gained the transformation of freedom when at the Lord's coming the bars of hell were burst asunder. 
That captivity, though, is always a threat to us, for in this life there is always the danger of falling into sin.  St John Chrysostom draws out the warning contained in the verse:
The one taken captive by sin, on the other hand, is in thrall to a pitiless and savage mistress, who im­poses the most menial of tasks; this form of tyranny is not accus­tomed to spare or to show mercy. Listen, for example, to how it took captive the wretched and miserable Judas without sparing him, turning him instead into a sacrilegious traitor; after he com­mitted his sin, it made a public display of him before the Jews and revealed his fault, not allowing him to reap the benefit of repen­tance, but snatching him from repentance to lead him to the noose. It is, you see, a harsh tyrant, imposing wicked commands, and shaming its subjects.
Hence, I beseech you, let us avoid its sway with great earnest­ness, fight against it without ever being reconciled to it, and once liberated from it remain at liberty. After all, if these people on being freed from savages were consoled, much more should we rejoice and exult on being liberated from sin, and maintain this undying joy instead of impairing and distorting it by becoming involved in the same vices,
We, though, have the promise of freedom from that captivity by virtue of Christ's sacrifice, the hope of salvation.  For that reason we can be filled with joy and relief even now.  As St Augustine puts it: 
Walk therefore in Christ, and sing rejoicing, sing as one that is comforted; because He went before you who has commanded you to follow Him.

Psalm 125 (126)
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
Canticum graduum.

 In converténdo Dóminus captivitátem Sion: * facti sumus sicut consoláti:
When the Lord brought back the captivity of Sion, we became like men comforted.
2  Tunc replétum est gáudio os nostrum: * et lingua nostra exsultatióne
2 Then was our mouth filled with gladness; and our tongue with joy.
3  Tunc dicent inter Gentes: * Magnificávit Dóminus fácere cum eis.
Then shall they say among the Gentiles: The Lord has done great things for them.
4  Magnificávit Dóminus fácere nobíscum: * facti sumus lætántes.
3 The Lord has done great things for us; we have become joyful.
5  Convérte, Dómine, captivitátem nostram, * sicut torrens in austro.
4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as a stream in the south.
6  Qui séminant in lácrimis, * in exsultatióne metent.
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

7  Eúntes ibant et flebant, * mitténtes sémina sua.
6 Going they went and wept, casting their seeds.
8  Veniéntes autem vénient cum exsultatióne, * portántes manípulos suos.
7 But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.