The Little Office Of Our Lady – At Sext: The Sixth Hour, pt 3. By E. L. Taunton.


Title.A Song of Degrees.


Tomasi : That Christ may defend us with His help lest the rod, that is, the tyranny of sin, should be upon us. The voice of the Church. This is the sixth step of them that hold out and are unmoved amidst their suffering, and in whom, stretching not out their hands to unrighteousness, the peace of Israel will abide.

Venerable Bede : In the sixth step the Prophet cries to us to put our trust in the Lord lest we labour in vain. He first makes the firm assertion that they who trust in the Lord can in no wise be moved; he then prays that prosperity may come to the good and vengeance to the bad.

(1) They that put their trust in the Lord shall be as Mount 
Sion : he shall not be moved who dwelleth in Jerusalem.

(2) The mountains gird it round about: and the Lord is in the
midst of His people from this time forth and for ever.

They who trust in the Lord, says St. Bruno of Aste, shall be as Mount Sion, that is, they shall have for their own use all the grace and strength stored up in the Church of God. Most of the commentators here go beyond the usual interpretation and take Sion to mean not so much the Church as the Divine Head thereof. So, those who trust in the Lord shall share in the strength of the Rock, which is Christ. While he who dwelleth in Jerusalem, or as St. Paul says, whose conversation is in heaven [Phil. iii. 20.], shall never be moved ; for the Church prays in one of the Collects "that where true joys are there may our hearts be fixed " (Fourth Sunday after Easter).
The hills are round about them. This they interpret as the Angels watching and defending as guardians the Sion of waiting souls on earth, compassing about the Heavenly City with their shining ranks. But, says St. Augustine, while these Angels of the Lord have the charge of those who put their trust in Him because they fear Him, as it is written : The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him [Ps. xxxiii. 7.] ; a stronger defender, a more blessed gift, is for them who truly dwell in Jerusalem, submitting themselves to all its laws, for the Lord is round about His people.

(3) For the Lord shall not leave the rod of the ungodly over the
lot of the righteous : lest the righteous put their hands to iniquity.

For the rod we are to understand the sceptre of authority and power. Says St. Hilary : The Lord does not leave this rod in the hands of the ungodly; troubles come, but they do not last; persecutions come, but they do not continue ; they may have mastery over the body, but never over our conscience. The rod of the ungodly is not left upon us if we turn to Him when we have been conquered and stretched forth our hands to sin ; for God is faithful and will not suffer us to be tried above our strength [I Cor. x. 13.]. Our suffering at the hands of God's adversaries is brief and wins the reward of victory, albeit it involves no long toil of battle.
The lot of the righteous is the Church, which He does not permit to be continually afflicted, however He may chastise it for a time.

(4) Do well 0 Lord unto the good : and to the true of heart.

Good refers to external and godly behaviour ; true of heart, to internal holiness. The conjunction and implies that real external goodness (such as will merit supernatural reward) cannot be found without internal sanctity, for the outward is only the expression of the inward. Deeds that seem good may be performed for worldly motives. But these God is not asked to reward, for He says : Amen, I say to you they have their reward [Math. vi. 2.] in the approval of men. But those deeds, really good because they are done by the righteous in heart, we do ask God to reward ; and the reward He gives is grace here, and glory hereafter ; or, in other words, Himself [Gen. xv. i.], the reward exceeding great.

(5) Such as turn aside unto bonds the Lord shall 
lead forth with the workers of iniquity : but peace shall be upon Israel.

Turn aside, such as go out of the King's Highway and cease to obey; bonds, the sins in which they become entangled. Those who, under the pressure of the rod of the ungodly, stretch forth their hands to iniquity are here spoken of; that have put their conscience under bonds and have turned away from its dictates, and yet know the judgment of God, that who commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but consort with them that do the same [Rom. i. 32.] ; their lot is with the workers of iniquity. But to Israel, to those who see God with unclouded conscience, there shall be peace ; for a ruler, the Prince of Peace [Isaias ix. 6.] is set over us. There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse [Isaias xi. I.] ; and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel [Num. xxiv., 17.] ; and with this rod He shall feed His people Israel, the flock of His heritage ; for He is our Peace who hath made but one [Ephesians ii. 14.], Jews and Gentiles alike, unto one Israel, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Thus St. Hilary.

Glory be to the Father, the Lord Who is in the midst of His people. Glory to the Son the Peace upon Israel. Glory to the Holy Ghost Who doth well to the good and right of heart.

From - The Little Office of Our Lady; a treatise theoretical, practical, and exegetical - Taunton, Ethelred L. (Ethelred Luke), 1857-1907