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The Homilies of Saint Jerome, Volume 1 (1–59 on the Psalms) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 48)

Saint Jerome

Publication Year: 2010

This volume contains fifty-nine homilies preached by St. Jerome on selected Psalms.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Series: The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xxxi

IN 385, ST. JEROME, sick at heart, fled the cruel calumnies of Rome, and after a year's pilgrimage, sought refuge in the Holy Land. These years were not only the happiest period of his life, but also the most productive and earned for him the title he most coveted, 'vir ecclesiasticus.' ...


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1. Homily 1 On Psalm 1

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pp. 3-14

THE PSALTER IS LIKE a stately mansion that has only one key to the main entrance. Within the mansion, however, each separate chamber has its own key. Even though the great key to the grand entrance is the Holy Spirit, still each room without exception has its own smaller key. ...

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2. Homily 2 On Psalm 5

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pp. 15-24

THE FIFTH PSALM has for its title: 'Unto the end, for her that obtains the inheritance. A psalm of David:! There are many who insist that the titles do not belong to the psalms but who really do not know why they hold such a view. If the titles were not found in all the manuscripts ...

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3. Homily 3 On Psalm 7

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pp. 25-34

NAMES ARE GIVEN to individual things that we may be able to identify them, and psalms have titles for the same reason. The fifth psalm bears the title, 'Unto the end, for her that obtains the inheritance';1 the sixth, 'Unto the end, in verses, a psalm of David, for the octave:2 ...

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4. Homily 4 On Psalm 9 (9A, 9B)

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pp. 35-37

JESUS SON OF NAVE, was fighting in the desert and as long as Moses kept on praying, he was victorious.1 One was fighting; another was really conquering by prayer. And so, with the words of Scripture, I say: 'Open wide your mouth, and I ...

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5. Homily 5 On Psalm 14 (15)

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pp. 38-42

MOST OPPORTUNELY do we read the fourteenth psalm; so timely is its place in the proper course of the liturgy that it seems to fall there almost by plan. The psalm is read, moreover, in its regular sequence. This has happened, I think, by the dispensation of God, so that what would be ...

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6. Homily 6 On Psalm 66 (67)

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pp. 43-49

MAY GOD HAVE PITY on us, and bless us.' May He not be our Judge, but may He be merciful to us. 'May God have pity on us.' It is the voice of the apostles speaking to the assembly of the nations: You have believed in our words, behold you are the Church that has been ...

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7. Homily 7 On Psalm 67 (68)

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pp. 50-59

GOD ARISES; his enemies are scattered.' This psalm may be interpreted both in particular and in general. In particular, it refers to the Lord Himself, how He rose from the dead and scattered all His enemies, I mean the devil and his army or the Jews. In general, it applies to us when, ...

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8. Homily 8 On Psalm 74 (75)

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pp. 60-61

UNTO THE END.1 (Do not destroyl) A psalm of Asaph; a song.' The Hebrew text does not have 'unto the end,' but has instead, 'for the victor.' The translators of the Septuagint have not erred very seriously, however, inasmuch as victory certainly implies the end. ...

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9. Homily 9 On Psalm 75 (76)

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pp. 62-67

BEFORE THE CROSS brought light to the world, before the Lord was seen on earth, 'God' was 'renowned it: ~ Juda, in Israel: moreover, 'great was his name';1 but when the Savior came,' 'through all the earth his voice re sounded, and to the ends of tlle world, His message.'2 ...

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10. Homily 10 On Psalm 76 (77)

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pp. 68-78

ALOUD TO THE Lord I cry; aloud to God, and he hears me; on the day of my distress I seek my God.'1 See how troubled he is, for he cries in loud appeal to God, God, God; yet there is but one God. 'Aloud to the Lord I cry.' A loud cry is all the more necessary when the troubled ...

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11. Homily 11 On Psalm 77 (78)

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pp. 79-89

HOLY WRIT WARNS US to partake of the feast prudently when we have been invited to dine at the table of a rich man.1 I might say that a rich man's table of Scripture has been laid before us. We enter a meadow filled with flowers; here the rose blushes; ...

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12. Homily 12 On Psalm 78 (79)

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pp. 90-92

FOR WE ARE brought very low.'1 Because for our sake You became lowly and as one in sore need, we, too, are brought very low. This is 'The prayer of an afflicted one when he is faint and pours out his anguish before the Lord.'2 ...

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13. Homily 13 On Psalm 80 (81)

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pp. 93-101

UNTO THE END, for the wine presses, a psalm of Asaph:1 It is written in the law that there are three solemn festivals: the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The tenth day [of the month)2 before the feast of Tabernacles, was a fast day, and the fast lasted until evening. ...

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14. Homily 14 On Psalm 81 (82)

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pp. 102-110

GOD ARISES in the divine assembly.' There are many different postures that one adopts. Frequently we are sitting down; sometimes we are standing; other times we are lying down; at times we are running; then again we are walking. ...

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15. Homily 15 On Psalm 82 (83)

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pp. 111-117

O GOD, WHO" like to you?"1 Because there is no one like You, we look for no other Creator except You. 'Be not silent, 0 God, and be not still!' We are silent; do You intercede in our behalf. This is the voice of the just man, for he who says: ...

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16. Homily 16 On Psalm 83 (84)

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pp. 118-126

UNTO THE END, for the wine presses. A psalm of the sons of Core.'1 There are three psalms with the phrase, 'for the wine presses,'2 as part of their title: the eighth, the eightieth, and the eighty-third. The eighth is superscribed with David's name, the eightieth with the ...

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17. Homily 17 On Psalm 84 (85)

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pp. 127-134

UNTO THE END. A psalm of the son of Core'l is the title of the eighty-fourth psalm. As I have said frequently before, you will always find joy and never sadness in a psalm that has 'for the sons of Core' in its title. This is so because the sons' joy is to ...

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18. Homily 18 On Psalm 86 (87)

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pp. 135-145

A PSALM OF the sons of Core. A song.' I have called ~ your attention frequently to the difference between the psalm and the song. The psalm is named from the psalter, but a song comes forth from the voice. The psalm, a work of art, relates to the practical; ...

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19. Homily 19 On Psalm 89 (90)

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pp. 146-155

A PRAYER OF Moses, the man of God.' There are four psalms characterized as a prayer: 1 the sixteenth and the following. psalm, the eighty-ninth, and Psalm 101. The one-hundred-and-first psalm is: 'The prayer of an afflicted one when he is faint ...

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20. Homily 20 On Psalm 90 (91)

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pp. 156-163

YOU WHO DWELL in the shelter [adiutorio] of the Most High.' Now, it is the name, Ezra, that is translated 'adiutorium' and means 'help.' In fact, the prophet Esdra is called Boeth6s, helper.1 He is the one who led back the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity, back into the land ...

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21. Homily 21 On Psalm 91 (92)

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pp. 164-173

THE NINETY-FIRST PSALM is inscribed with the title: 'A psalm; a song for the Sabbath day.' There could be no sabbath day without six preceding days. We work for six days, on the seventh day we rest. We cannot sing to the Lord, therefore, save on the day of the sabbath. As long ...

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22. Homily 22 On Psalm 93 (94)

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pp. 174-182

WE HAVE ALWAYS maintained that from its title one may learn the theme of a psalm. 'A psalm for David himself on the fourth day of the week.'1 The fourth day is midway to the sabbath; it is, as it were, the heart of the week, the middle day in seven. It is the fourth ...

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23. Homily 23 On Psalm 95 (96)

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pp. 183-190

THE NINETY-FIFTH PSALM is distinguished by the title: 'A song of David when the house was being built after the captivity.'1 A title such as this brims with mystery; it embodies the whole mystical meaning and plan of our salvation. 'A song of David, when the house was ...

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24. Homily 24 On Psalm 96 (97)

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pp. 191-196

OF DAVID, when his land was restored again to him.'1 We read in the Books of Kings and in Paralipomenon that David was a valorous hero who subjugated to his rule all the surrounding nations. This fact agrees with the literal interpretation of the title, so that we understand its ...

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25. Homily 25 On Psalm 97 (98)

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pp. 197-203

SING TO THE Lord a new song'; the story of the Son of God crucified is the new song that had never been heard of before. A new event should have a new song. 'Sing to the Lord a new song.' It was the man, indeed, who suffered; but, you, sing ...

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26. Homily 26 On Psalm 98 (99)

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pp. 204-212

THE LORD IS KINGj the peoples tremble.' There are three psalms that begin with the same versicle, the ninety-second, the ninety-sixth, and the ninety-eighth. Although the opening versicle is the same in each psalm, the verse ending is different. How, then, does the ninety-second ...

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27. Homily 27 On Psalm 100 (101)

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pp. 213-215

OF KINDNESS and judgment I will sing; to you, O Lord.' Let sinners who are despairing of their salvation, who are humble and broken down over their sins, hear the song of mercy; let the arrogant who say: 'The Lord is merciful, let us sin, He will pardon us,' hear the song of ...

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28. Homily 28 On Psalm 101 (102)

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pp. 216-218

THE PRAYER OF a poor man, when he is faint and pours out his anguish before the Lord.'1 The psalm is . speaking of the poor man, not the pauper of this world, but him of whom it is written: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit.'2 ...

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29. Homily 29 On Psalm 102 (103)

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pp. 219-221

BLESS THE Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless his 13'\\ holy name.' Another of the psalms says: 'Know that the Lord is God';1 this one: 'And all my being, bless His holy name.' If we say: 'Bless the Lord, O my soul,' and the Lord is 'Lord,' what name of the Lord is the psalmist ...

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30. Homily 30 On Psalm 103 (104)

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pp. 222-229

THIS PSALM is the worship of the creature praising and blessing his Creator through the prophet and is similar in theme to the eighteenth psalm that says: 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament declares his handiwork.'1 ...

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31. Homily 31 On Psalm 104 (105)

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pp. 230-233

GIVE THANKS to the Lord, invoke his name'; give thanks to Him and say: we, indeed, are sinners but You are merciful, have pity on us. 'Invoke his name.' There will be no setting up of idols in our hearts, but we shall call upon the Lord and He Himself will be our redemption. ...

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32. Homily 32 On Psalm 105 (106)

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pp. 234-237

ALLELUIA, Alleluia.'! It is necessary to bear in mind the rule that whenever there are two alleluias in the prescription of a psalm, one marks the end of the preceding psalm; the other, the beginning of the following one. ...

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33. Homily 33 On Psalm 106 (107)

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pp. 238-244

GIVE THANKS to the Lord, for he is good, for his kind. ness endures forever!' Because He is gracious and forgives sin, for that reason confess your sins to Him. If He were not good, the prophet would not admonish you to confess and give thanks to Him; ...

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34. Homily 34 On Psalm 107 (108)

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pp. 245-254

A SONG OF a psalm of David.'1 Song always suggests the work of the mind, but psalm that of the body. To express this distinction more clearly, song implies theory, and the psalm practice in reference to the art. ...

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35. Homily 35 On Psalm 108 (109)

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pp. 255-269

UNTO THE END, a psalm of David.'1 'Unto the end' is a sign that the message of the psalm pertains not to the present but to the future. If, moreover, the prophet speaks of the future, the prophecy is of Christ. ...

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36. Homily 36 On Psalm 109 (110)

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pp. 270-279

THE LORD SAID to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand." A psalm of David.'l It is David who is speaking, a prophet, a holy man, a king. What is the king saying? What does the king and prophet say? 'The Lord is my Lord.' The Savior has revealed the meaning of these words ...

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37. Homily 37 On Psalm 110 (111)

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pp. 280-313

I WILL GIVE THANKS to the Lord with all my heart.' If David were not single-hearted and sincere, he would not have said, I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; not only with his lips, but with all his heart. ...

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38. Homily 38 On Psalm 111 (112)

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pp. 281-285

HAPPY THE MAN who fears the Lord.' I have told you frequently that all interpretations in the name of the just man point to Christ. If th~ saints are types prefiguring the Savior, the truly holy man, for example Isaia, is a type of the Lord and Savior, and so, too, are Joseph, ...

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39. Homily 39 On Psalm 114 (116A)

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pp. 286-292

I HAVE LOVED the Lord because he will hear my voice in supplication.'! The psalmist did not say, I shall love, but I have loved. He does not promise to love, but testifies that he has loved. 'I have loved.' Why have I loved? Because the Lord will grant gracious hearing to my ...

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40. Homily 40 On Psalm 115 (116B)

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pp. 293-299

I BELIEVED, THEREFORE have I spoken.'! In the Hebrew psalter Psalms 114 and 115 are integral parts of the same psalm. Why, then, did the prophet say, I believed, therefore, I spoke? What was it that you believed? What did you say? The first of these psalms closes with the ...

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41. Homily 41 On Psalm 119 (120)

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pp. 300-315

LET US TURN to the psalm that is read after the one, hundred and eighteenth psalm. Psalm 118, by the way, is constructed, as we have more than once indicated, on the pattern of the alphabet and is, therefore, alphabetical in form. It begins with ALEPH and goes on down to ...

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42. Homily 42 On Psalm 127 (128)

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pp. 316-324

HAPPY ARE THEY who fear the Lord.'l What is the reward of those who fear the Lord? What is their crown? Let us see what their glory is, what their reward. 'Happy shall you be, and favored.' I have already granted their happiness; now I am inquiring into its nature. ...

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43. Homily 43 On Psalm 128 (129)

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pp. 325-328

MUCH HAVE THEY oppressed me from my youth, let Israel say, much have they oppressed me from my youth.' Twice the psalmist repeats his complaint: much have they persecuted me; time and again from my youth they have persecuted me. If, however, I have begun to serve the Lord in ...

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44. Homily 44 On Psalm 131 (132)

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pp. 329-332

REMEMBER, O LORD, for David all his meekness.'1 There are many commentators who conclude from the words of the Gospel: 'Son of David, have mercy on us'2-the cry of the blind man sitting on the wayside at Jericho-that this David, whose name means 'strong of hand,' ...

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45. Homily 45 On Psalm 132 (133)

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pp. 333-340

BEHOLD' HOW GOOD it is, and how pleasant, where brethren dwell at one!' The psalmist mentions two D qualities of the common dwelling of brethren, good and pleasant. Martyrdom is good, but it is not pleasant, for it consists in suffering and sorrow; in torture there is always ...

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46. Homily 46 On Psalm 133 (134)

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pp. 341-352

COME, BLESS THE LORD, all you servants of the Lord.' This is the last psalm in the songs of the steps.1 The first of these gradual psalms opened with the words: 'In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.'2 In the second, the psalmist ...

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47. Homily 47 On Psalm 135 (136)

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pp. 353-356

GIVE THANKS to the Lord, for he is good.'1 Despite these words, heretics maintain that there is no repentance, but the prophet urges us to confess our sins, for God is good. Blessed, therefore, is he who acknowledges ...

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48. Homily 48 On Psalm 136 (137)

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pp. 357-360

BY THE STREAMS of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Sion: If one has never been sick, he does not appreciate the value of health.1 The cripple does not know the strength of feet that are sound; the blind man does not realize the power of vision. ...

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49. Homily 49 On Psalm 137 (138)

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pp. 361-362

I WILL CONFESS to you, Lord, with all my heart.'1 The nature of a wound determines the medication to be applied. Just as the body has wounds of various kinds, so also the soul has its passions and its wound,s, and we must do penance in proportion to the nature of our sin. ...

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50. Homily 50 On Psalm 139 (140)

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pp. 363-364

DELIVER ME, O Lord, from the evil men.' In no way does the devil succeed so well in deceiving us as he does through the agency of men; it is from treachery this kind that the prophet prays for deliverance. ...

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51. Homily 51 On Psalm 140 (141)

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pp. 365-373

O LORD, TO YOU I call; hearken to me.'1 Moses was standing his ground in the midst of his people, and Pharao, marching in pursuit, was almost upon him; on all sides he was straitened. It was then that he cried out to God and instantly God said to him: 'Why are you crying ...

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52. Homily 52 On Psalm 141 (142)

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pp. 374-376

OF UNDERSTANDING for David. A prayer when he was in the cave.'1 The title of this psalm agrees with history and refers to the time when David fled Saul into the wilderness of Engaddi and hid himself in a cave. Saul, unaware of David's hiding place, also entered the cave in ...

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53. Homily 53 On Psalm 142 (143)

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pp. 377-379

O LORD, HEAR my prayer.' Modest words, full of humility and compassion. 'Hearken to my pleading in your truth.'1 These are the words of a man who trusts. 'In your truth,' in Your Christ, of course: 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life.'2 ...

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54. Homily 54 On Psalm 143 (144)

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pp. 380-391

EVEN THOUGH we have preached at length on the Gospel, nevertheless, for the sake of those who do not know Latin, we must make a few comments on the psalter, that some may not go away starving while others are well ...

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55. Homily 55 On Psalm 145 (146)

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pp. 392-399

PRAISE THE LORD, O my soul.' The title of this psalm is: 'Of Aggai and Zacharia.'1 In the first place, we should .... know that this title is not found in the Hebrew text, but in the Septuagint translation. We should say a word, however, about the superscription, 'Of Aggai and Zacharia,' ...

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56. Homily 56 On Psalm 146 (147A)

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pp. 400-407

PRAISE THE LORD, because a psalm is good.'1 The title of Psalm 146 is 'Alleluia.' Those who are unfamiliar with the Hebrew language, are wont to inquire into the significance of the word 'alleluia' when it appears in the title of a psalm. ...

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57. Homily 57 On Psalm 147 (147B)

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pp. 408-415

GLORIFY THE LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Sion.' We have just heard the venerable priest declare in his sermon that the Jews had been abandoned because of their transgression of the law. ...

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58. Homily 58 On Psalm 148

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pp. 416-423

THERE IS A DOUBLE 'alleluia' in the title of this psalm, and many suppose that the two alleluias constitute the title. We ought to know, however, that one alleluia marks the close of the preceding psalm and the other the beginning of this. ...

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59. Homily 59 On Psalm 149

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pp. 424-430

THE ONE-HUNDRED-FORTY-NINTH PSALM has been read which begins with the words: 'Sing to the Lord a new song.' The venerable priest has explained that Psalms 95 and 97 have this same introduction. The ninety-fifth psalm is entitled: ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813211480
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813213040

Page Count: 462
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation

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  • Bible. O.T. Psalms -- Sermons.
  • Sermons, Latin -- Translations into English.
  • Sermons, Early Christian.
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