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The Second Sunday in Lent

Augustine on Psalm CXIX HE
Second Sunday in Lent Home

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacrementary of Gregory - Bishop of Rome. [600 AD] The petition is not only for assualts from without, but also from within.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Gen x. 44. 37 Psalm 6, 38 | 119:33–72   1 Thessalonians iv. 1. & St. Matthew xv. 21 


Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Greetings Centurions, Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, we examine a portion of Psalm 119--section: HE, and the first verse, and that portion of Augustine's homily that covered it. 

To begin, I encourage you to read Augustine's preface for this Psalm.

The Psalm is constructed in such a way that the opening of each section was a letter in the Hebrew alphabet--an acrostic form. When translated into other languages, the  historical alphabetical division was lost. However, we will address the Psalm by the original divisions.  Section HE begins with the plea of "yârâh" meaning teach.  Augustine wrote,

Why doth this man still pray for a law to be laid down for him; which, if it had not been laid down for him, he could not have run the way of God's commandments in the breadth of his heart? But since one speaketh who is growing in grace, and who knoweth that it is God's gift that he profiteth in grace; what else doth he pray, when he prayeth that a law may be laid down for him, save that he may profit more and more? As, if thou holdest a full cup, and givest it to a thirsty man; he both exhausts it by drinking it, and prayeth for it by still longing for it.… 

One of Augustine's main works was to combat the heresy of the monk Pelagius who maintained that there was no taint of original sin from Adam, and that man could do right if he only would choose to do so.  Augustine soundly defended the catholic faith, that it is through God's grace only that we may know God's law and will, by his grace that we may succeed, and not by our determination.  I reckon that is why some read or hear the Scriptures and walk away as if they were blind and deaf, while others are enlightened and quickened through God's grace.  The parable of the sower is related to this thought as well [Mark 4:12]

 In the Council of Orange (529) it is written:

CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, "For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5).

Praise be to God that he answers the righteous prayers of his sons, instructs them, and leads them in right ways.


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]


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