JESUS LIVING IN MARY: HANDBOOK OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT
I. Introduction. II. Saint Louis de Montfort and the Psalms: 1. Montforts knowledge of the psalms; 2. Montforts interpretation of the psalms. III. Examples of Montforts Interpretation of the Psalms: 1. Psalms dealing with God, a. Jesus, b. Wisdom, c. Missionaries, 2. Marian texts: a. Images; b. Allusions. 3. Texts concerning man: a. Invitation to praise; b. The Sinful Nature of Man; c. Human suffering and the Cross; d. Death. IV. The Psalms in Contemporary Montfort Spirituality.
The Psalter is the hymn book of Israel, or to be more precise, the songbook of the Temple.1 The numbering of the psalms has caused some confusion since Psalms 10 to 48 in the Hebrew Bible are one figure ahead of the Greek and Vulgate, which join 9 and 10 and also 114 and 115, but which divide 116 and 147 into two. The Hebrew numbering is followed in this article.
The book is a collection of one hundred fifty psalms, which may be divided structurally into hymns of praise (e.g., 33, 4648, 96100, 145 150) that celebrate the glory of God; psalms of suffering or laments that are national (e.g., 44, 60, 83, 85) or individual entreaties (e.g., 57, 6971, 14043); and psalms of thanksgiving (e.g., 18, 21, 30, 65 68). This tripartite division is by no means watertight, for often one psalm has characteristics of all three types.
However, the above division is based upon the principal theme of the psalms, which calls for a certain structure. Based primarily on content, the psalms may be divided into several categories, e.g., historical narratives (e.g., 105106, 13536); those entirely devoted to liturgical worship (e.g., 15); royal psalms wherein the king appears to be the speaker or the subject of the piece (e.g., 2, 18); and wisdom psalms, which seem to show an affinity with the content of OT wisdom literature (e.g., 1, 34, 37).
This divinely inspired prayer book of the Old Testament was recited by Jesus, Our Lady, and the apostles. It is also the official prayer of Christianity, which sings the psalms in the light of the Incarnation, death, and Resurrection of the holy one of Israel, Jesus the Christ.
The psalms run the whole gamut of human emotions and experience, from despair, mourning, even wish for revenge, to compassion and bold hope. For the most part, they are the inspired voice of humanity crying out to God, an authentic and at times startling voice, which seems to echo the depths of the soul.
II. SAINT LOUIS DE MONTFORTAND THE PSALMS
1. Montforts Knowledge of the Psalms.
Montfort has without doubt drunk often from this fountain of Christian spirituality. Grandet tells us that the Holy Bible and the Breviary were his constant companions, and from these he came into daily prayerful contact with the psalter. Evidence that his spirituality is steeped in the psalms is the fact that there are numerous references to the psalms in his writings.
By temperament Montfort was an artist and a poet endowed with an esthetic sense. His poetic soul would have vibrated with the psalms of praise as he felt the joy in God, in Eternal Incarnate and Crucified Wisdom, in Mary, in the poor, and in nature. The psalms of lamentation would have found echoes in his soul as he faced persecution from his enemies and the rejection of bishops, always putting his trust in "God Alone" (Ps 62). He not only loved the psalms but composed himself many songs and canticles inspired by these canticles: e.g., H 117 is a paraphrase of Psalm 113, and H 160 a paraphrase of Psalm 117.
2. Montforts Interpretation of the Psalms
Montforts exegesis is similar to that of spiritual writers of his age, such as Bossuet and the followers of Bérulle. He "develops" scripture texts to support what he writes. Occasionally he comments on a scripture text, as in FC. In other places, he paraphrases the Bible text. Sometimes he interprets the same text in different ways in different contexts (e.g. Psalm 84: 1-3 in TD 196 and in HD 48). He is against a too scientific exegesis, and this causes him to sometimes interpret the Bible in an unusual way, as in his commentaries on Psalm 68 in PM 1925. Most often, however, his faith leads him to an interpretation that helps him go beyond the literal text to discover the spiritual or mystical sense inspired by the divine author and to find the application that is apposite to the present situation. M. Gilbert, a modern exegete, calls Montforts interpretation a "spiritual exegesis."2 The originality of his exegesis comes from his ability to uncover the hermeneutic keys of Eternal Wisdom and of Mary and to find "an abundance of meaning" in the texts that he uses.3 Saint Louis Maries interpretation of the psalms is spiritual if not mystical at times and is very different from contemporary scholarship in its concerns and content.
His contemplative reading of the psalms became a treasury for his preaching and also for his writings. The rather free interpretation the saint gives to some of the psalms will become evident in the course of the article. Psalms speak to Father de Montfort exactly where he is, in the circumstances before him, and he finds in them the voice of God guiding him, according to the mind of the Church. At times his understanding of a verse or two of a psalm has little if anything to do with what appears to be the original meaning; Montfort freely accomodates it to light up the path God has picked out for him.
Even a cursory study of Montforts writings demonstrates that he was intent on basing his doctrine on scriptural foundations. Psalms is the book of the Old Testament most often cited, and after the Gospels of Luke and Matthew it is the book most often referenced. There are at least seventy-eight explicit citations and forty-nine allusions to the Book of Psalms interspersed in the works of the saint. A few of the explicit quotes will be studied in order to give the reader a grasp of the manner Saint Louis prayed the psalms.
III. EXAMPLES OF MONTFORTS INTERPRETATION OF THE PSALMS
Montforts use of the psalms can be divided into texts dealing with God, with Jesus, with Mary, and with man.
1. Psalms Dealing with God
In SR 39 Montfort is commenting on the Our Father and more precisely on the first petition, "Hallowed be thy name." He explains the meaning of these terms: "The name of the Lord is holy and to be feared, said the prophet-king David, and heaven, according to Isaiah echoes with the praises of the seraphim who unceasingly praise the holiness of the Lord, God of hosts."
The psalm cited is 99:3: "Let them praise thy great and terrible name! Holy is He!" This is the last of the enthronement hymns celebrating YHWH as the Victorious King of all creation. It is a chant of praise to the holiness of His Name, the cry of the people extolling the reign of YHWH. Like some modern commentaries, Saint Louis de Montfort refers his readers to a similar thought found in Is 6:3: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory." It is remarkable that Louis Marie beautifully concludes his commentary on this verse of the Our Father by stating: "We pray that all may be holy because God himself is holy" (SR 39). The absolute Holiness of God is not, for the missionary, only to be adored and praised; thanks to the mercy of the All-Holy, this Holiness of God is to become our life.
TD 70 explains that there are three types of slavery: "natural slavery, enforced slavery, and voluntary slavery." And Montfort is quick to add: "All creatures are slaves of God in the first sense, for the earth and its fullness belong to the Lord." Saint Louis Marie is quoting Psalm 24:1: "The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof." The psalm itself is victorious praise of YHWH the Creator and Lord of the universe; its words recall the Genesis account of creation. Everything then belongs to the Lord, the farthest speck of existence belongs to the Lord. All are "slaves of God" by nature.
PM 30the conclusion of Saint Louis fiery prayer for missionaries quotes two psalms, 68:2 and 44:23 in the Latin: "Exsurgat Deus et dissipentur inimici ejus!" Exsurge, Domine, quare obdormis? Exsurge." ("May the Lord rise up and his enemies be scattered! Lord, Arise! Why are you sleeping?")
Psalm 68 is recognized as probably the most obscure and therefore the most difficult of the psalter. The RSV translation reads: "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered." Whether the psalm is a triumphal hymn or, more likely, a series of short ancient hymns is of little interest here. Montfort interprets the psalm quite literally, begging the Lord to destroy all His enemies so that His kingdom may come.
Psalm 44, on the other hand is a lamentation of a people oppressed by the enemy. Verse 23 is an urgent appeal to YHWH to rise up from His sleep and come to the aid of His people. With these two verses the ardent prayer of Montfort for missionaries reaches its climax.
Psalm 90:11: "Who considers the power of thy anger?" is quoted in FC to underline the gravity of sin: "Dear Friends of the Cross, we are all sinners . . . if punishment for our sins is put off till the next world, then it will be Gods avenging justice . . . which will inflict the punishment, a dreadful, indescribable punishment: Who understands the power of your anger?" (FC 21, 22). This wisdom psalm, a cry of national lament, underscores the eternal nature of God and the passing sinful nature of man. In this psalm, man appears as the object of Gods anger (vv. 7, 9, 11) and judgment. Mont-fort wanted to convince the Friends of the Cross that if we sinners do not accept the cross and sufferings here below, we will be punished in the next world by the terrible anger of God. However, the knowledge of Gods anger should make wisdom enter our hearts.
It is somewhat surprising that the principal Christological work of Montfort, LEW, makes only one reference to Psalm 40:8, a Christological psalm. FC mentions only this verse and psalm 22:6 when referring to Christ.
Psalm 40:8 is referrred to in FC 16: "I . . . Who came into the world only to embrace the Cross, to set it in my heart," and in LEW 16: "At his coming into the world, while in his Mothers womb, he received it [the cross] from his eternal Father. He placed it deep in his heart, there to dominate his life, saying: My God, and my Father, I chose this cross when I was in your bosom. I choose it now in the womb of my Mother. I love it with all my strength and I place it deep in my heart to be my spouse and my mistress." The psalm itself reads: "I delight to do thy will, O my God, thy Law is within my heart." In this psalm of thanksgiving, a poor man of YHWH, saved from great danger, thanks God in peace and offers himself to God. The verses 79 are a prophetic meditation on true worship, which does not mean sacrifices but the observance of the Torah of God, which is in the heart (cf. Jr. 31:33). The Letter to the Hebrews, radically changing the Septuagint version of this psalm, turns it into a messianic text and places it on the lips of Christ (Heb. 10:510). Montfort, deepening the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament, identifies the "will and the law of God" with "the cross." LEW 169 combines Psalm 40:9 with Wisdom 8:2 and says that Incarnate Wisdom has put the cross deep in his heart. FC 18 presents Jesus as following the words of Psalm 40:89 as an invitation to anyone who wishes to follow him in his humiliations.
Psalm 22:6 is found in FC 16: "If anyone wants to follow me who so humbled and emptied myself that I have become rather a worm than a man." The verse of the psalm itself reads: "But I am a worm and no man, scorned by men and despised by the people." Montfort applies v. 6 to Jesus and considers Psalm 22 as messianic, since the opening of this psalm, an individual lament, occurs on the lips of Jesus crucified. Even though v. 7 is not used in the New Testament, it describes the abject humiliation of the psalmist who, as the Servant of YHWH, "is despised and rejected" by men (Is. 53:3). In these words, according to Montfort, Jesus describes his kenosis as he invites the Friends of the Cross to follow him.
Psalm 84:9 is cited in PM 4: "Look upon the face of your anointed one." Psalm 84 is the great chant of the pilgrim journeying towards Sion, the house of YHWH. The official prayer of the temple (v. 9) gives the prayer for the anointing of the Lord, the Hebrew king (cf. Ps 1:2). However, after the fall of the davidic dynasty, these supplications were transformed into pleas for the coming of a definite and perfect Messiah. In PM 4, after giving other reasons, Montfort asks God to look on the face of his anointed, his only son Jesus so that the missionarys plea for a new congregation, the Missionaries of the Company of Mary, may come about.
Psalm 30:9 is cited in PM 4: "What value do you see in my death?". The RSV has: "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit?" Montfort reminds God of the agony and shame Jesus endured and makes of the text a loving complaint of Jesus in the Garden of Olives. It forms part of Saint Louis Maries plea to God to raise up his community of the Company of Mary. This psalm itself is a song of personal thanksgiving for deliverance from mortal danger. Verse 9 accepts the traditional idea of Sheol of the Old Testament, as a place of silence where God is not praised.
In LEW, so steeped in the wisdom books of the Bible, Montfort cites three psalms.
Psalm 34:8 ("O taste and see that the Lord is good!") is found in LEW 10: "Taste and see." In this psalm, the poor person, who prays to the Lord in his distress for delivery, asks his hearers to taste and see how the Lord is good. Montfort makes this an invitation of Divine Wisdom to taste the joy and sweetness of this wisdom.
Psalm 107:43 ("Whoever is wise let him give heed to these things") is found in LEW 33 and 227: "Let he who is wise consider these things." This psalm, a hymn of thanksgiving of the community, ends with an invitation to anyone who is wise to understand the "steadfast love of the Lord." In LEW, the "wise person" is the one who has received the gift of Wisdom from the Eternal Wisdom, and "these things" are the mysteries of nature revealed by the marvelous power of Divine Wisdom. In LEW 227, the verse is the last phrase of the book.
Psalm 4:2 (How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?") becomes in LEW 181: "How long will you go on loving vain things and seeking what is false?" All want good things but often seek them in vanity and lies. Montfort suggests a burning desire as the first means of acquiring Divine Wisdom and exhorts his reader to desire Wisdom in place of vanity and deceit.
In PM Montfort uses the psalms thirteen times. He calls the band of missionaries for whom he is praying "the congregation" (PM 16), borrowing from Psalm 74:2: "Remem-ber thy congregation which thou hast gotten of old." Quoting Psalm 106:47, Montfort prays in PM 18: "Lord, gather us from the nations." The readiness of the missionaries of the Company of Mary to respond to the call of obedience is described by citing Psalms 57:7 and 108:1: "My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!" and also psalm 40:7: "Behold I come." In PM 14, showing his confidence in God he makes allusion to Psalm 34:6: "this poor man cried and the Lord heard him" and cites Psalm 118:17: "I shall live and recount the deeds of the Lord." In PM 17, he cites Psalm 19:6: "there is nothing hid from its heat," an allusion to the deluge of fire of the pure love of God, which the Almighty will send for the conversion of all nations.
In PM 19 we find the longest passage from the psalms, 68:916. In PM 19:25 Montfort gives a liberal and somewhat personal exegesis of this psalm which, as mentioned above, is most probably the most difficult psalm of the entire psalter.4 "The abundant rain with which the Lord nourishes his faltering heritage," "the creatures" who live in the heritage of the Lord, "the animals" prefigured by the mysterious animals of Ezekiel (1:514), all become symbols of the missionary saints he is requesting in his prayer. It is to them that "the Lord gives his commands." In all the missions that they undertake, their only goal will be to give glory to the Lord for "the spoils" he has won from his enemies. "The silver wings of the dove" are given them because of their complete dependence on Providence and their devotion to Mary. They will be "covered in gold like the wings of the dove" by their perfect love for their neighbor and for Jesus Christ. "The mountain of God, . . . mysterious mountain" is no other than Mary, the well-beloved elect of God. Happy those missionaries of the Company of Mary that God has chosen as his own to live with him on the divine mountain of all delights. Montfort uses Psalm 68:10 in LCM 7, and 68:13 in TD 58, always with reference to the missionaries and apostles of the end times for whom this ardent prayer is made.
In TD 59, he says that God knows when these apostles of the end times will come and that, for our part, we must long for these times and wait for them in silence and prayer. He finishes with Psalm 40:1: "I have waited patiently for the Lord," or as Mont-fort transcribes it: "I have waited and waited." He concludes the rousing Prayer for Missionaries with Psalm 29:9: "And in his temple all cry Glory."
2. Marian Texts
Montforts Marian use of the psalms can be divided into images and allusions.
Following patristic exegesis, and sometimes going beyond it to personal spiritual exegesis, Montfort uses several images of the psalms in referring to Mary.
Mother. In his remarks on the need for devotion to Mary and her role in the sanctification of souls, in TD 32 he borrows from Psalm 87:5: "In her all are born." In the canticle of Sion, symbol of Jerusalem, Sion appears as a mother, which enables it to be applied to the Mother of the Lord. 5 The word "born" in v. 4, 5, and 6 introduces the idea of the maternal womb. Sion becomes the womb of a fruitful mother from which all nations are born. Using Sion as the symbol of Mary, Montfort says in TD 32: "According to the explanation of some of the Fathers, the first man born of Mary is the God-Man, Jesus Christ. The second is simply man, child of God and Mary by adoption." In TD 33, when he says that Jesus is always the fruit of the womb of Mary, he declares with Saint Augustine that all the just are also formed in her womb. Again in TD 264, he repeats this text in the context of the interior practice of doing everything "in Mary," and how "her womb, as the Fathers say, is the room of the divine sacraments, where Jesus Christ and all the elect are formed."
The fourth wonderful effect of TD, "a great confidence in God and Mary" paraphrases Psalm 131:12: "O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high, I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul like a child quited at its mothers breast" (cf. TD 216). Montfort applies to Mary the image of abandonment to God shown in the relationship of a child resting on the lap of his mother, and ends: "It is on her breast that all good things come to me."
The daughter of the King, the fiancée. In his introduction to TD, Montfort recalls Psalm 45:13: "All the glory of the daughter of the King is within" (TD 11). Traditionally, the Church has used this royal wedding song in liturgical celebrations of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The poet keeps his attention on the daughter of the king, become fiancée and queen of another king. She appears all glorious, adorned with a glory like the divine glory. Montfort applies the "interior" of the palace to the "interior" of the daughter of the king, Mary, and understands that her external glory is as nothing compared to that which she received internally from her creator. He uses Psalm 45 in TD 196; and in TD 46, he makes the Marian application of Psalm 45:12.
The ark and the dwelling. Explaining the connection between Holy Communion and the living of perfect consecration, Saint Louis Marie recommends: "Implore him (Jesus) to rise and come to the place of his repose and the ark of his sanctification," recalling Psalm 132:8, "Arise, O Lord and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might." Using the only psalm that mentions the ark, Montfort makes of Mary the dwelling place of Jesus and the ark that of his sanctifying power, and makes this text a prayer to Jesus before Communion.
In TD 196 he mentions Psalm 84:34 and addresses it to "Lord Jesus" instead of to the "Lord of hosts." He adds: "Lord Jesus, how lovely is your dwelling place! The sparrow has found a house to dwell in and the turtle-dove a nest for her little-ones! How happy is the man who dwells in the house of Mary, where you were the first to dwell! . . . How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts!"
The City of God. In TD 48, Montfort adapts Psalm 59:1315: "They will be converted towards evening, and will be as hungry as dogs. Suffering this hunger, they will go around the city in search of something to eat." Providing a spiritual exegesis of "city," "hunger," and "evening," he goes on: "This city, around which men will roam at the end of the world, seeking conversion and the appeasement of the hunger they have for justice, is the most Blessed Virgin who is called by the Holy Spirit, the City of God." The text also seems to refer to Psalm 87:3: "Glorious things are spoken of you, O City of God." In the first paragraph of TD 48, Montfort speaks of "the mystical city of God, that is to say the most blessed Virgin, who has been called by the Fathers of the Church the temple of Solomon and the City of God." TD 266 applies to Mary, the City of God, Psalm 46:5: "God is in the midst of her: she can not be moved."
The mountain of God. Reference has been made above to PM 25, where, using Psalm 68:14, Montfort speaks of the mysterious mountain of God, which is no other than Mary, "whose beginnings you established on the heights," making reference also to Psalm 87:1: "on the holy mount stands the city he founded."
The way. Explaining the pertfect practise of true devotion as the best way to attain the Lord, Montfort says that, if someone were to give him another way, no matter how perfect, "I would choose the immaculate way of Mary," referring to the "way" of Psalm 18:32: "God . . . has made my way safe."
Montfort makes at the very least seven allusions to Mary based on the psalms. Psalm 119 is a psalm of the Torah in which each of eight verses in each stanza contains a reference to the law of God in three different ways. In TD 200 he applies the commandments of v. 21 to Marys orders. In TD 216 he adds the invocation: "Holy Virgin" from v. 94. In TD 179, he translates v. 56 by: "Mary is made for me," and in SM 66 by "Mary is in me." In SR 46, he notes that the "new song" of Psalm 144:9 "is the salutation of the archangel" to Mary. In TD 272, he recalls Psalm 17:2: "let your eyes see nothing in me but the virtues and merits of Mary." And in TD 56 the "arrows" of Psalm 127:4 are the "children of Mary."
3. Texts Concerning Man
A rapid glance at some of Montforts psalm references to man can be grouped according to theme.
a. Invitation to praise.
In TD 271, speaking about the practise of total consecration after communion, Father de Montfort suggests an invitation to all creation to thank, adore, and love Jesus through Mary, and mentions Psalm 95:6: "Come, let us adore." In SR 141, speaking of the good fortune of those who join the confraternity of the daily rosary, he uses psalm 84:4: "Blessed are those who dwell in thy house, ever singing thy praise!"
b. The sinful nature of man.
When he speaks of our spoiled nature, Montfort paraphrases and expands Psalm 51:5: "Our bodies are so corrupt, that they are referred to by the Holy Spirit as bodies of sin, as conceived and nourished in sin and capable of any kind of sin" (TD 79). Praising Wisdom for confiding to Mary all the graces we receive through total consecration, he alludes to Psalm 119:141 and notes: "But bitter experience has taught me that I carry these riches in a very fragile vessel and that I am too weak and sinful to guard them by myself" (TD 173). In LEW 129, in order to show that Incarnate and Glorified Wisdom continues to be lovable in heaven, he tells us how a dissipated man was converted by the words of psalm 51:1: "O God, have mercy on me."
c. Human suffering and the Cross.
In FC 45 Montfort strongly recommends a prayer to obtain the wisdom of the cross and using Psalm 51:1012, he advises: "If you stand in need of such (the spirit to carry crosses courageously), pray for wisdom, ask for it continually and fervently without wavering or fear of not obtaining it and it will be yours." In FC 51, he writes that the joy of suffering does not come from the body but from the soul and goes on to cite Psalm 84:2: "In that way, someone who is suffering greatly can say with the psalmist My heart and my flesh ring our their joy to God the living God." In FC 54, to exhort the acceptance of all sorts of crosses, he uses the words of Psalm 57:7 and 108:1: "My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready." He changes the exhortation "to praise" to the exhortation to "suffer all sorts of crosses." In FC 58, to suggest the reward of a crown in heaven as a reason for accepting suffering, Psalm 69:7 is cited as saying: "We suffer persecutions for the reward," instead of the literal: "for thy sake."
The seven short pages of HD have six quotations from and two allusions to the Psalms. HD 24 notes: "Recite, if you can . . . the psalm: "I rejoiced because they said to me" (122:1). HD 33 evokes Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a pure heart, O my God. Wash me completely from my fault; purify me from my offense." In HD 46, he appeals to Psalm 31:1 and 71:1: "I have my refuge in you, Lord; keep me humble always" ("let me never be put to shame"). In HD 48 there is reference to Psalm 116:9 "the land of the living" and further on, a reference which combines two quotations and a reference: "My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life" (Ps 42:2); "How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of hosts" (Ps 84:1); "I will be satisfied when your glory appears" (Ps 17:15). In HD 49, Montfort recalls Psalm 150:6: "Let everything that breathes praise the Lord."
IV. THE PSALMS IN CONTEMPORARY MONTFORT SPIRITUALITY
Even though the reading of the psalms is necessary for all Christian spirituality, they hold a special place within the hearts of those inspired by Saint Louis de Montfort. Although his manner of interpretation may not be ours, nonetheless, it is evident that he is totally imbued with both the spirit and words of the psalms. His contemplative praying of the psalter opened up for him magnificent vistas not accessible through a cold, academic study of "the psalms as literature."
Nonetheless, praying the psalms is not always easy. First, the psalms may appear as strange expressions of centuries ago, hardly relevant in the third millenium. Life experiences are perhaps necessary to be in tune with many of the psalms.6 Anguish, joy, praise, victory coupled with sickness, and lamentable defeat and fear of death all resonate throughout the psalter. The psalms give words to our innermost feelings. Like Saint Louis de Montfort, our own life experiences and our own community events are to interpret the psalms, as the psalms themselves interpret us.
Secondly, the psalms of revenge shock us and scandalize us. We avoid them, taking out a few verses from a few psalms, or give them a spiritual meaning. We ought to recognize that vengeance is not only found in the psalms but in ourselves, and that we all have a tendency to hatred. This revenge should be humbly acknowledged and completely confessed; only then can it give way to the mercy of God, as in the psalms of complaint. There is always, however, the "wrath" of God. It should be seen as another face of divine compassion, a way of speaking of the moral order in which God is acting in favor of his "people." In the psalms, as elsewhere in the Bible, God acts for his "faithful"that is, the justand in the name of "the poor and oppressed" against their op-pressors. The "compassion" of God for Israel becomes "revenge" against Israels enemies. Gods victory is assured.
Third, the psalms of creation and nature, such as Psalm 104, recall to us our duties of working for the protection and conservation of the environment and the ecosystem, which we have received from the hands of the creator, God.
Saint Louis de Montforts intense love for the hymns of Israel inspired him to see Gods loving, triumphant hand in all events of his life and in the history of the universe. The hymns empowered him to proclaim the victory of God in Christ Jesus and our duty and privilege of implementing that victory in spite of individual and collective difficulties.
T. A. Joseph
Notes: (1) For bibliography on the psalms and a concise introduction and commentary, cf. John S. Kselman and Michael L. Barré, "Psalms," in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, R. Brown, J. Fitzmyer, R. Murphy, eds., Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N. J. 1990, 523552. (2) Cf. M. Gilbert, Lexégèse Spirituelle de Montfort in NRT, Nov. -Dec. 1982, pp. 678-691. (3) Cf. J. S. Croatto, Biblical Hermeneutics, Orbis Books, New York 1987, 2035. (4) Cf. the work of M. Zappella, Psalm 68 and the Prayer for Missionaries. Exegetical notes, QM 4 (1986) 11017, where he states that Montfort "shares with the psalmist a reading of history of salvation, understood as a dwelling of God with his people" (p. 116). Cf also C. Carniti, Psalm 68. Literary Study, LAS, Rome 1985. (5) The Septuagint translates the first part of verse 5: "the mother of Sion says to man," creating a problem among the sages from Augustine up to certain modern experts, who, to keep the term "mother," have altered the text of the Hebrew. Cf. Ravasi, The Book of the Psalms, vol 2, 795. Cf also the notes 56 and 57 of GA 37980. (6) Cf. W. Brueggemann, Praying the Psalms, St. Mary Press, Minnesota 1986.
Taken from: Jesus Living in Mary: Handbook of the Spirituality of St. Louis de Montfort (Litchfield, CT: Montfort Publications, 1994).
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