impulse that although the birds do not know the outlines of the letters, they none the less fashion them by the guidance of instinct. So we have seen the affirmations of the psalm set in the highest heaven like the brightest stars; we have seen the boundless sea filled with the fish which the apostles' nets drew in at the Lord's command. Let us also observe that the very order of the psalms announces to us no mean mysteries of the age to come. It was appropriate that songs in stages 295 should attend this Church, which is gathered from the whole world and has lingered on the Lord's praises, so that they indicate a picture of what is to come at the end of the world. When at the Lord's prompting the aggregate of all the blessed has been gathered, the happy throng is to be raised up and mount to the heavenly Jerusalem. So we must remember that this is the third of the alphabetic hymns delineated with the entire alphabet, Psalms 110, III, and the present one. Since they are stamped with this threefold distinction, they clearly denote to us the Trinity which perfects our faith. This number three is rightly associated with the future Jerusalem, for it is strengthened by the power of total purity. Four alphabetic psalms, 24, 33, 36 and 144, are fashioned with the tally of letters incomplete. They accord with the four cardinal points of the world, and aptly denote the Catholic Church which is still active in the world; for the Church is still imperfect until it suitably obtains the number of the predestined. In this way the collection of these psalms is seen to reveal the mysteries of mighty matters. This is also the fifth psalm, as has already been stated in previous psalms, in which the blessed troop has sung of all that pertains to ecclesiastical discipline. It is deservedly connected with the number 118, for we read that Noah's ark, which represented the type of the Church in a special sense, was fashioned in a hundred years; 296 now the letters iota and eta as the Greeks form them make the number eighteen; so the number 118 is shown to contain within it both the reward of the crown and the glory of the holy name. 297
A canticle of steps. 1 A series of new and remarkable headings is now inaugurated, though the words have been encountered in our explana
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Publication information: Book title: Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms. Volume: 3. Contributors: Cassiodorus - Author, P. G. Walsh - Unknown. Publisher: Paulist Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 259.
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