From the Catechesis on the


From the Catechesis on the Psalms
From the vast treasury of riches that has been given us in our current pontiff, a portion of the magnificent exposition of Psalm 148

from Commentary on Psalm 148 His Holiness John Paul II Heaven, earth and the depths of the sea

2. We find in the heavens the singers of the starry universe: the remotest heavenly bodies, the choirs of angels, the sun and moon, the shining stars, the "highest heavens" (v. 4), that is, the starry space and the waters above the heavens, which the man of the Bible imagines were stored in reservoirs before falling on the earth as rain.

The "alleluia", that is, the invitation to "praise the Lord", resounds at least eight times, and has as its final goal the order and harmony of the heavenly bodies: "He fixed their bounds which cannot be passed" (v. 6).

We then lift our eyes to the earthly horizon where a procession of at least 22 singers unfolds: a sort of alphabet of praise whose letters are strewn over our planet. Here are the sea monsters and the depths of the sea, symbols of the watery chaos on which the earth is founded (cf. Ps 23[24],2), according to the ancient Semite conception of the cosmos.

St Basil, a Father of the Church observed: "Not even the deep was judged as contemptible by the Psalmist, who included them in the general chorus of creation, and what is more, with its own language completes the harmonious hymn to the Creator" (Homiliae in hexaemeron, III 9: PG 29,75).

What a depth of understanding--understanding of scripture, understanding of literature, understanding of poetic structure. All of these are given in a simple exposition. We should surely be grateful for such a remarkable man.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 27, 2002 7:37 AM.

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