Admin: I began this Lenten exercise regarding Psalm 119 (118) as much for myself as anyone in order to learn more about the longest Psalm in Scripture. I plan to continue to post as often as I can in the hopes of completing it before Easter. However, as is often the case, outside circumstances have conspired to fill my schedule. Last Wednesday I began facilitating a weekly 90 minute meeting at our parish involving over 95 people in viewing and discussing Fr. Barron’s excellent Catholicism series. Add to this my oldest son’s high school baseball schedule, the continued plodding along while writing my book, and the adoption of a beagle puppy taking place in the coming one or two weeks, well…you get the idea. However I would heartily encourage those of you intent upon learning more about this psalm to check out the excellent work being done by Kate over at Austalia Incognita. She is putting together a terrific presentation on the stanzas of this psalm which I admit I have tried hard to avoid lest I be too discouraged to continue. (I’m smiling and kidding as I typed that, but not too much.) Be sure to check out her series, also cross-posted on her blog Psallam Domino. You won’t be disappointed.
Lord, I have by faith thy mercies in view; let me by prayer prevail to obtain them…
41 Let your mercy come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise;
- Salvation. The Messiah, foretold by the prophets:
- The sceptor shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (Genesis 49:10)
- or grace, freely promised to all who ask for it:
- Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24)
- For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)
42 then shall I have an answer for those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.
- Thus he stops their mouths, by professing his confidence in God. (Haydock)
- The Babylonians insultingly ask, Where is their God? If you free me from captivity, I may reply that my hopes were not vain. This answer I will give boldly, if I obtain your grace, which will strengthen my weakness. (Worthington)
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your ordinances.
- Mouth. Let those who preach the truth, live up to it. (St. Hilary and St. Ambrose)
- Though the psalmist may be under some fear, he prays that he may not omit to make open profession of his faith. God never hinders his servants from doing this, though he sometimes allows them to fall. But the Church will never cease to proclaim the truth. She will not give up one article of faith. (Berthier)
44 I will keep your law continually, for ever and ever;
- The sanction of the law will remain after this world is at an end.
45 and I shall walk at liberty, for I have sought your precepts.
- David had already observed this line of conduct, which he resolved always to pursue. (Haydock)
- Those who suffer for the faith, receive great joy. (Worthington)
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings, and shall not be put to shame;
- Thus many even of the female sex have professed their faith boldly, with St. Agnes, St. Catharine, St. Winefrid, etc., answering the reproachful objections that were put to them, as if it were dishonorable to be a Christian or Catholic. No. These are most glorious titles, importing the true service of Christ, in unity with the Catholic Church, and under the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope. (Worthington)
- Daniel spoke with great freedom to Nebuchadnezzar:
- Daniel answered the king, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery which the king has asked, buut there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days…” (Daniel 2:27-28)
- Then Daniel answered before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation.” (Daniel 5:17)
- “My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” (Daniel 6:22)
47 for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
48 I revere your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.
- To pray, labor, or rather to swear an eternal fidelity. (Calmet)
And when the salvation of the saints is completed, it will plainly appear that it was not in vain to trust in God’s word. We need to pray that we may never be afraid or ashamed to own God’s truths and ways before men. And the psalmist resolves to keep God’s law, in a constant course of obedience, without backsliding. The service of sin is slavery; the service of God is liberty. There is no full happiness, or perfect liberty, but in keeping God’s law. We must never be ashamed or afraid to own our religion. The more delight we take in the service of God, the nearer we come to perfection. Not only consent to his law as good, but take pleasure in it as good for us. Let me put forth all the strength I have, to do it. Something of this mind of Christ is in every true disciple. (source)