Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Psalms of David -- Psalm 29

From the OSB:

"Ps 29 speaks of the Resurrection of Christ, who is the End (v. 1), and together with Him, the resurrection of the Church. Man's dilemma is the death and decay of his body in the grave (v. 10) and the dwelling of his soul in Hades (v. 4). As a result, these enemies rejoiced over him (v. 2), and his life was filled with weeping (v. 6), trouble (v. 8), lamentation and sackcloth (v. 12), and sadness (v. 13). But through Christ's resurrection (lifted me up, v. 2), (1) the Church will be healed (v. 3), that is, the body will be raised in beauty and power (v. 8) to immortal life forever (vv. 7, 13) at "the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come" (Creed); (2) the souls of the righteous in Hades were brought out from there at His Resurrection (v. 4); and (3) the Church is filled with praises (vv. 5, 13), thanksgiving (vv. 5, 13), great joy (v. 6), dancing and gladness (v. 12)."
An interesting observation from Fr. Patrick: he translates v. 11 -- ηκουσεν κυριος και ηλεησεν με κυριος εγενηθη βοηθος μου -- using the imperative "Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper," while the OSB (perhaps taking their cue from the Douay-Rheims) translates it as "The Lord heard and had mercy on me; the Lord became my helper." Regardless, the Lord did hear His Christ and answered Him (Heb. 5:7).

Fr. George -- the priest in Tulsa who received both myself and Audra -- always mentioned v. 10: "What profit is there in my blood, When I go down into decay? Will the dust confess You? Or will it declare Your truth?" Christ's groaning in Gethsemane is heard in these words as the fulfillment of David's longing for freedom from his physical enemies. The answer is a resounding yes: there is profit in the blood of the righteous innocents being poured into the ground; there is redemption for those gone down into decay. The dust will confess Him, not just the rocks. In its quiet submission to apparent destruction and death, the death of a holy one does declare God's truth, simply because it is done in union with the death of the Holy One of God. When God's blood soaks into the ground, life sprouts. When the fruit of life falls from the tree of the Cross and is planted as a seed in the ground, Israel is (re)born therefrom. This is a truth that no cruelty, no intimidation, no princes nor sons of men can overcome; our Lord has heard His Holy One, as well as all the holy ones called by His name, and will answer all those who endured and died with Him, for they shall reign and live with Him.

As Fr. Tom mentioned in quoting an (I believe) athonite monk: Our enemies can do anything they want to -- steal our money, burn our churches, smash our icons, rip up our Bibles, etc -- but they cannot rob us of our death. For God is with us.

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