PSALM LXVI. [The following Psalm is always joined on to the preceding and sung under one Doxology. After Durandus, we may thus explain the mystical reason. "First, because Psalm Ixii. signifies thirst for God, and in Psalm Ixvi. the Trinity is indicated. This is done, therefore, to signify thirst and continual longing for God. Secondly, to note that before the persecution of Anti-Christ the believing Gentiles referred to by Psalm Ixvi. shall be one in faith. Thirdly, because the former signifies love of God, wherefore it is said my soul thirsteth for Thee: the latter signifies love of our neighbour, wherefore it is said that we may know Thy salvation among all nations. Fourthly, because the grace of which the Church seems conscious in Psalm Ixii. is evidently confirmed in the latter. Again, at the end of Psalm Ixii. the Gloria Patri is not said, because therein human sorrow is treated of, whence it is there said : My soul thirsteth ; but in Psalm Ixvi., the Doxology is said, because in it the mercy of God is celebrated.]
Title. —To the end, in the hymns. A Psalm of a Song of David.
Tomasi : That Christ is the Light of the faithful. The Prophet counsels believers. The Apostolic voice. The Prophet's Voice, concerning the Coming of Christ, and His Resurrection.
Venerable Bede : Hymn and Song denote praise, and that it may be shown that these are given to Christ the Lord alone, To the End is prefixed. After the Song of Resurrection the Prophet supplicates that we may be blessed and be led to the knowledge of God, to which our own merits cannot attain.
(1) May God be merciful to us and bless us, and show us the light of His countenance, and be merciful unto us.
Mercy for past error is first sought, then blessing ; and then, again, we ask for mercy. Why this repetition ? Because we need God's mercy for perseverance in grace as well as for the original call to it. St. Augustine says this Psalm is the prayer of the Vineyard to the Husbandman, of the Church to God the Father, praying Him to send His rain to increase the fruit He Himself has planted and tilled. But though it is collectively the cry of the whole Vineyard, yet each section belongs to a different part, as Cardinal Hugo points out : Be merciful is the cry of the penitent ; bless us, of advancing Christians; show us the light, of the dying; asking generally for pardon, justification, wisdom and glory.
And show us the light of His countenance. God shows His countenance in divers ways, says Bellarmine. When He disperses the clouds of His anger, and looks on us with love, as children and friends called back to grace; when He enlightens us and warns by pouring wisdom and charity into our souls, as the visible sun blesses the earth. When He withdraws the veil and shows us His very Self, in the Person of Christ, for the Countenance or Face of the Father is the Son ; for, saith Jesus : He that seeth Me seeth the Father also [John xiv. 9.]. Therefore the Prophet says, in the way of desire : Let His countenance appear, that is, May the Father's countenance, even the Son Himself, shine on us here on earth by His Incarnation.
(2) That we may know Thy way upon earth : Thy Salvation among all nations.
Thy way is that which leadeth to Thee. What is it ? We can learn it, says St. Augustine, from the Gospel ? The Lord said: I am the Way. But fearest thou lest thou shouldst stray? He hath added: I am the Truth [John xiv. 6.]. Who strayeth in the Truth ? He strayeth who hath departed therefrom. The Truth is Christ, the Way is Christ; walk ye therein. Dost thou fear lest thou die before thou attain unto Him ? I am the Life. I am, said He, the Way, the Truth and the Life. As if saying, What fearest thou ? Through Me thou walkest, to Me thou walkest, in Me thou resteth. And note, says Albert the Great, we may know His way on earth in three manners. By natural understanding, which is wisdom; by grace, which is faith ; and by glory, which is reward.
Thy salvation among all the nations. The question, What is Thy way ? is answered by Thy salvation among all the nations. It is only one way for all nations, one Church to embrace all people, one Covenant for all mankind; for there is but one Mediator of God and men [I Tim. ii. 5.], Jesus, the Head of the Church.
(3) Let the people praise Thee, O God: yea, let all the people praise Thee.
Walk ye in the way together with all nations; walk ye in the way together with all peoples, O children of peace, children of the one Catholic Church. Walk ye in the way, singing as ye go. Wayfarers do this to beguile their toil. Sing ye in the way, I implore you, by that same way, sing ye in this way. A new song, sing ye; let no one there sing old songs ; sing ye the songs full of love for your fatherland ; let no one sing old songs. A new way, a new wayfarer, a new song. Thus St. Augustine.
(4) O let the nations rejoice and be glad : for Thou shall judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations upon the earth.
They shall be glad, and shall not be in servile fear of the judgment, because it will be just and merciful instead of arbitrary and cruel ; moreover Thou shall govern and guide the nations in the right way, so that they shall be safe from all peril, because taught by Thee to avoid sin.
(5) Let all the people praise Deus; thee O God: let all the people praise Thee. The earth hath brought forth its Fruit.
There is a fresh reason, says the Carmelite, for the rejoicing of the people, and one more glorious and joyous than the former. For the earth is that holy soil of which it is written : Drop down, ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let it bring forth a Saviour [Is. xlv. 8.].
The earth hath brought forth its Fruit. Mary hath borne Jesus. Et homo factus Est.
(6) May God, our God, bless us, may God bless us : and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
The Carmelite points out that the mystery of the Blessed Trinity is shadowed out in the triple recitation of the Name of God—God the Father, Unbegotten, Underived, shall bless us : Our own God, God the Son, our Brother, made like us in all things save sin, shall bless us ; God, the Holy Ghost, shall bless us. And the singular verb in the Latin and the pronoun express the Unity.
All the ends of the earth shall fear Him. Not with the servile fear which the devils feel, but with the loving fear of sons, the wholesome reverence of disciples, that fear whereby we are saved from the wrath to come.
Glory be to the Father Whom we seek early and Who sheds on us the Light of His Countenance. Glory to the Son Who watches for us to God and Who is our own God. Glory to the Holy Ghost Himself the Mercy in Judgment to be extolled above all life and Who is the Light of the Countenance of God.
From - The Little Office of Our Lady; a treatise theoretical, practical, and exegetical - Taunton, Ethelred L. (Ethelred Luke), 1857-1907