Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms - Vol. 3

By Cassiodorus; P. G. Walsh | Go to book overview

present psalm has softened our spirits in devoted lamentation, and in the first section has also recounted our captivity as well with its mystical explanation, in this verse it has divulged the secrets of most savage and most secret sin, with the double aim of revealing the bane and of not concealing the remedies. At the instigation of the devil an unwelcome notion is launched into our minds; we admit there what by our own assessment we condemn, and we undoubtedly become captives to the tyranny of sin, for which we curse ourselves. But these thoughts while still little ones must be dashed against the Rock; as has been said, they must be shattered against the Cornerstone, where all evil quickly dissolves if the force of the impact is strong.


Conclusion Drawn From the Psalm

The most holy and praiseworthy devotion of the psalms of lamentation is now completed. Earlier in Psalms 73 and 78 the forthcoming captivity of Jerusalem is bewailed; here we have a third psalm on the same theme, so that the holiness of most devoted remorse can be offered through the most sacred number of the Trinity. It is indeed an exalted form of charity that the Lord bids us to show to neighbours, provided that our grief maintains due limit and measure, so that hope in the resurrection cannot be removed, and we do not suspect that the Lord has acted in any way unjustly; for even if we are fired by loving grief, we must not exceed the bounds of moderation. What we offer in the zeal of devotion should be humble and mild. The Lord Christ provides evidence of the proper measure of just tears, for He wept when He pondered the frailty of humankind, even though He was to raise Lazarus from the dead. 17 In this way the good Master sought to teach us devotion, and also to demonstrate the veracity of the humanity which He had assumed.


COMMENTARY ON PSALM 137

I. For David himself. Though we have said that in earlier headings David denotes "strong in hand" and "longed for," 1 expressions clearly

-365-

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