Friday, April 1, 2016

Faithful and Kind

Continuing my posts of patristic texts coinciding with this Sunday’s Psalm study.

The Lᴏʀᴅ is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.
The Lᴏʀᴅ upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.  (Ps 145:14 LXX)

His truthfulness in promises is matched by His holiness recognizable in all His activity.  This too undoubtedly refers to the Lord’s abundance, when those who fall are raised, the guilty pardoned, and the battered are restored.  It is then that recollection of His sweetness is noted when the power of such deeds is beheld, and there is an outburst in praise of Him who deigned to snatch the sinner from the devil’s control.  Note that here too two things are ascribed to the Lord: He raises up those who fall but as yet have not crashed down, and he restores those who are cast down, who are already seen to have sustained a fall.  This is well observed, for we are protected from falling by His protection, and equally raised by His power so that when prostrate we can rise.  Undoubtedly, these and similar events can come to pass through the abundance of His sweetness.

The eyes of all wait upon You;
    and You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hands,
    and fill every living thing with pleasure.  (Ps 145:15-16 LXX)

In the two verses here and the later one, a broader explanation is given: those who listen to the Lord of mercy must also tremble at the just Judge.  It is of the nature of His justice that those who do not cease to hope in Him attain obtain the gifts of fullness from Him.  The food mentioned here must be understood as embracing each and every thing; some things demand physical control, and others spiritual, but to all is dispensed as one food the generosity of the Creator.  So that you should not think that what is asked for will always be given, the psalmist added in due season.  Many make petitions, but they are happily rejected.  So let us pray diligently for this one thing, that the Lord in His kindness may grant only what He knows is helpful.  As Paul says: We do not know what to pray for as we ought.  We also know that all things are established in His power when He opens His hand and every living creature is filled with blessings.

Cassiodorus, Exposition of the Psalms

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