Augustine on Psalm 144
Home, Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity
O LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Leo of Rome  and of Gregory. Said the Sunday week before the penitential season of Advent, it begs God for absolution. Today's Gospel echos this theme as the woman was released from her bands of infirmity through faith [Barbee and Zahl]
" Do not think that no one can please God who is a soldier in military arms. Holy David was among these, to whom the Lord gave such great witness "[Augustine, Letter to Boniface] calendar
newsOn the Name of God: Use of the tetragram in liturgical worship. New Roman Latin Mass - in English: Note the 60s verbiage like "and also with you" is gone, and the ancient "with your spirit" is back Christians flee Mosul, Iraq in wake of killings Complexity Theory: this might appear slightly off target, but I think not whey you consider the timeless truth captured in this verse: Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God [Rev 15:3] Not to mention - complex
Today we may read Augustine preaching on Psalm 144. This is a great militant psalm.
Like may of David's songs, this psalm is a prayer for strength in warfare. It is one that I commend to all of our combat veterans. Augustine's copy of the prayer related it to David's defeat of Goliath. However, Henry's commentary places the psalm later, and I tend to agree. Henry suggests a time of intense danger for David from outside enemies and suggests 2nd Samuel v. 17 which I have placed at the link above. It was in this period that God gave David very specific aid in guiding him to defeat the Philistines, by ambush. They had arrayed their Army against Israel, and David was instructed to come up from a hidden position and to attack at the sound of the wind rustling in the mulberry trees.
Augustine explains the psalm and at the same time makes this imprecatory bidding against the enemies of the Church of his day.
But there are some that conspire, that "gather themselves together against the Lord, and against His Christ." They have come together, they have conspired. "Flash forth Thy lightnings, and Thou shalt scatter them." Abound with Thy miracles, and their conspiracy shall be broken...."Send forth Thine arrows, and Thou shalt confound them." Let the unsound be wounded, that, being well wounded, they may be made sound; and let them say, being set now in the Church, in the Body of Christ, let them say with the Church, "I am wounded with Love." "Send forth Thine Hand from on high." What afterward? What in the end? How conquereth the Body of Christ? By heavenly aid. "For the Lord Himself shall come with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God shall He descend from heaven," Himself the Saviour of the body, the Hand of God. What is, "Out of many waters"? From many peoples. What peoples? Aliens, unbelievers, whether assailing us from without, or laying snares within.
I think of the Church today in meditating on Augustine. Beware of those who "are laying snares within" I read this week of a billionaire who is funding liberal Roman Catholic groups in hopes of overturning the historic Catholic faith, morals, and discipline. Centurion James of Wisconsin wrote to local editors this week calling their attention to this article from Britain on the situation with the Roman Church there and Islam. Centurions, take heart! Know that God watches over those who love him and follow him, and he will never let them come to spiritual harm. Stand firm! Nothing can separate you from the love of God except you by turning from him and his Gospel.