Augustine on Psalm 1 John
First Sunday after Trinity Home
O GOD, the strength of all those who put their hope in thee; Mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source: Gregory's Sacramentum. The traditional numbering of Sundays was after Trinity Sunday. Carnmer translated it as put their "trust" in thee in the first Prayer Book
We begin this long season of the church after Trinity, and we will have about 25 weeks or so before Advent. In this season, the appointed Epistles and Gospels look mainly at the teachings of Christ. We will continue with our examination of the psalms through the eyes of Augustine.
Today we look at Psalm 1. It lays out two paths, one of unrighteousness and death, and one of righteousness and life. It begins with a benediction for the righteous man.
Augustine in his homily wrote,
"Blessed is the man that hath not gone away in the counsel of the ungodly" (ver. 1). This is to be understood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord Man. "Blessed is the man that hath not gone away in the counsel of the ungodly," as "the man of earth did," who consented to his wife deceived by the serpent, to the transgressing the commandment of God. "Nor stood in the way of sinners." For He came indeed in the way of sinners, by being born as sinners are; but He "stood" not therein, for that the enticements of the world held Him not. "And hath not sat in the seat of pestilence." He willed not an earthly kingdom, with pride, which is well taken for "the seat of pestilence;" for that there is hardly any one who is free from the love of rule, and craves not human glory. For a "pestilence" is disease widely spread, and involving all or nearly all. Yet "the seat of pestilence" may be more appropriately understood of hurtful doctrine; "whose word spreadeth as a canker." The order too of the words must be considered: "went away, stood, sat." For he "went away," when he drew back from God. He "stood," when he took pleasure in sin. He "sat," when, confirmed in his pride, he could not go back, unless set free by Him, who neither "hath gone away in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of pestilence."
Augustine interprets this verse from a Christian perspective. Paul preached the same thing when he said that only Christ was without sin. So then, how are we to become righteous and expect the benefits of life? There is only one way, not withstanding what many post-modern clerics might preach... that way is the way of the Cross. For Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father except through me.
Adam and Jesus present the community of faithful with models-types. Adam, the fallen man, through whom came all the separation from God that has led to defeat in a fallen world. Jesus, the God Man who loves the world and through his work in the world offers a path of reconciliation with the Father and victory to all who will submit to him. This is not a righteousness that can be earned, but only that righteousness of Christ which is by grace acquired, put on as it were, through faith. According to that measure of faith that has been given through the Holy Ghost, God will lead his elect in the imitation of Christ, day-by-day, and finally perfect them in the end times.
This is the right and universal faith handed down from the Apostles.
Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]
* ORDO CENTURIONUM * IN HOC SIGNO VINCES * TIME DEUM ET OPERARE IUSTITIAM