Elias journeyed through the air, but the prophet mounted to the realms above without leaving the earth. Let us ask that we who are weighed down by the frailty of the flesh may be raised up by the Lord on the wings of His mercy. For Him nothing is difficult, except when we do not believe that He can fulfil some action that is good. So let us diligently study the divine Scriptures, let us turn over the books of the New and Old Testaments if we wish to be children of the researchers. It is there that we find the Lord, if we succeed in truly studying them.
A canticle of steps. The number itself announces the splendour of this step, for it reveals to us the sacred summit of the holy Trinity by its triple trebling. 1 But since we read: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, 2 we must investigate why the prophet has decided that we must keep it in mind at this stage. There are two fears which prick our hearts. The first is human fear, by which we are apprehensive of suffering physical hazards or losing worldly goods; this is clearly a temporary state, since we fear such things only as long as we dwell in the life of this world. But divine fear always mounts with us through all the advances which we make in this life. Whereas we abandon worldly fear together with the world on the first step, divine fear remains ever with us, and is adapted as a most faithful companion throughout our ascent. As has already been said in Psalm 118: Pierce thou my flesh with thy fear, for I am afraid of thy judgments. 3 So it is fitting that both on this step and everywhere we be instructed that fear of the Lord should be within us, for it is approved as our essential guardian.
In the first limb the prophet recounts by certain allusions the blessings of those who fear God, so as to fire the spirits of the committed with the warmth of heaven's reward. In the second, he blesses them that they may gain eternal joys, so that none may be apprehensive of this sweetest of fears.