Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms - Vol. 3

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

COMMENTARY ON PSALM 135

Alleluia. We must again utter Alleluia, a cry whose charm is always new, though it is quite familiar from our earlier commentaries. Subjoined to it is a psalm sung with the echoing of similar words. The topics embarked upon are different, but it rejoices in the identity of its exclamation. We say not without justification that its verses are to be called "identical ending," as we have already remarked of Psalm 117, whose four verses end with a similar expression. 1 All that is said is made relevant to the Lord's mercy, without which we cannot exist at all. So it is right that the word mercy should be repeated quite often, since it achieves all things in us through His most generous gifts; if you investigate the root of this great mystery, our entire life depends on the Lord's clemency, and our welfare on His mercy. So the word must not be absent from our lips or our hearts, so that the divine mercy may deign to preserve us by its continual protection. Poets in imitation of this repetition have composed flowery poems with echoing effects, so transferring the sounds of the heavenly virtues to worldly pursuits. But since each and every psalm is seen to contain strengths of many kinds, we can not unreasonably adjudge that this one depicts the perfect life of the just, who undertake the Lord's commands in wholesome fashion, and continually persevere in His mercy. So let us mentally recall that these repeated motifs in verses have subtly revealed the different powers to us in Psalms 8, 23, 41, 45, 48, 56, 66, 102, 103, and I06, as has clearly been explained in those contexts. We shall explain more fully in the conclusion to this psalm the power which it is seen to have.


Division of the Psalm

The prophet speaks throughout the psalm. The whole composition is seen to be like some heavenly basket, interwoven with beautiful repetitions like strands of gold, from which spiritual blessings can be offered like luscious fruits to guests within the Church. But in the initial verses with their varied content the Lord's magnificence is first recounted, and the status of the whole world made clear. In the second section are narrated the miracles which the Lord had performed in

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Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Ancient Christian Writers - The Works of the Fathers in Translation *
  • Cassiodorus: Explanation of the Psalms *
  • Contents v
  • Commentary on Psalm 101 i
  • Commentary on Psalm 102 18
  • Commentary on Psalm 103 29
  • Commentary on Psalm 104 49
  • Commentary on Psalm 105 65
  • Commentary on Psalm 106 82
  • Commentary on Psalm 107 95
  • Commentary on Psalm 108 102
  • Commentary on Psalm 109 116
  • Commentary on Psalm 110 125
  • Commentary on Psalm III 131
  • Commentary on Psalm 112 137
  • Commentary on Psalm 113 141
  • Commentary on Psalm 114 150
  • Commentary on Psalm 115 155
  • Commentary on Psalm 116 160
  • Commentary on Psalm 117 162
  • Commentary on Psalm 118 174
  • Commentary on Psalm 119 259
  • Commentary on Psalm 120 265
  • Commentary on Psalm 121 270
  • Commentary on Psalm 122 277
  • Commentary on Psalm 123 281
  • Commentary on Psalm 124 287
  • Commentary on Psalm 125 291
  • Commentary on Psalm 126 296
  • Commentary on Psalm 127 301
  • Commentary on Psalm 128 306
  • Commentary on Psalm 129 311
  • Commentary on Psalm 130 316
  • Commentary on Psalm 131 321
  • Commentary on Psalm 132 332
  • Commentary on Psalm 133 337
  • Commentary on Psalm 134 341
  • Commentary on Psalm 135 351
  • Commentary on Psalm 136 359
  • Commentary on Psalm 137 365
  • Commentary on Psalm 138 371
  • Commentary on Psalm 139 386
  • Commentary on Psalm 140 392
  • Commentary on Psalm 141 399
  • Commentary on Psalm 142 406
  • Commentary on Psalm 143 413
  • Commentary on Psalm 144 422
  • Commentary on Psalm 145 432
  • Commentary on Psalm 146 438
  • Commentary on Psalm 147 444
  • Commentary on Psalm 148 449
  • Commentary on Psalm 149 457
  • Commentary on Psalm 150 461
  • Notes 471
  • Indexes 525
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