Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Law of the Lord is Spotless

Medieval Psalter, Psalm 18(19)

LEX DOMINI IMMACULATA, theLaw of the Lord is spotless, says the Psalmist and the Church's Liturgy, and following the lead of David and of the Praying Church, the Christian ought daily to reflect on the immaculate quality of God's Law, the Law that governs the Universe, the Cosmos, and governs us who are called to reasonable and faithful obedience to it. The Law of the Lord leads all creation toward its fulfilment in Christ, the Word of God, into God, the Eternal Law.

This Immaculate Law converts souls, that is, it turns them from the path that leads toward their destruction--toward death--and brings the lost souls back to the straight ways of the Lord, paths which lead to union with Him in Love.

The Law of the Lord beckons us, from without, as it is seen in the things that are made, in the teachings of the Church and the Scriptures, in the example of the life of the Saints.

The Law of the Lord beckons us from within, as it is writ in our heart and is heard in the promptings and stirrings of conscience, properly formed. There, in the inner tabernacle of God in us, if we are still, we may hear the judgments of God, judgments which are true, and which are rendered by God not to condemn us (though they may condemn the sin in us, even that hidden sin in us, the sin both patent and latent, the sin from which we are fleeing, the sin to which we stubbornly deny or foolishly hold on).

These judgments are meant to prompt us to turn. These are merciful judgments, warnings, wooings, if we but listen to them. They sting, they chasten, but eventually they lead to joy of loving reunion with Christ the great Reconciler. The Law of the Lord beckons us in Christ, and in such beckoning grace is given us so as to prompt us and enable us to turn to the Lord, all of us having strayed in countless ways, and to cleanse us from our prior disobedience. The Law, and the judgment based upon the Law, ought to inspire in us, not a dread fear, but a filial fear of God, most Holy.

We learn, once we taste the goodness of the Lord's Law, that neither earthly riches, nor luxuries, nor pleasures, compare to the Law of God, and our walking along its ways, in a real partnership with God, whose grace redeems us, and lifts us up toward our eternal destiny to be with God in the glory of eternal beatitude, if we but turn and let it do its work in us.

Psalm 18 (19) 8-15

Lex Domini immaculata, convertens animas;
testimonium Domini fidele, sapientiam præstans parvulis.
Justitiæ Domini rectæ, lætificantes corda;
præceptum Domini lucidum, illuminans oculos.
Timor Domini sanctus, permanens in sæculum sæculi;
judicia Domini vera, justificata in semetipsa,
desiderabilia super aurum et lapidem pretiosum multum,
et dulciora super mel et favum.
Etenim servus tuus custodit ea;
in custodiendis illis retributio multa.
Delicta quis intelligit? ab occultis meis munda me;
et ab alienis parce servo tuo.
Si mei non fuerint dominati, tunc immaculatus ero,
et emundabor a delicto maximo.
Et erunt ut complaceant eloquia oris mei,
et meditatio cordis mei in conspectu tuo semper.
Domine, adjutor meus, et redemptor meus.

The law of the Lord is unspotted,
converting souls:
the testimony of the Lord is faithful, giving wisdom to little ones.
The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts:
the commandment of the Lord is lightsome, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is holy, enduring for ever and ever:
the judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves.
More to be desired than gold and many precious stones:
and sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.
For your servant keeps them, and in keeping them there is a great reward.
Who can understand sins?
From my secret ones cleanse me, O Lord:
And from those of others spare your servant.
If they shall have no dominion over me, then shall I be without spot:
and I shall be cleansed from the greatest sin.
And the words of my mouth shall be such as may please:
and the meditation of my heart always in your sight.
O Lord, my helper and my Redeemer.

ὁ νόμος τοῦ κυρίου ἄμωμος ἐπιστρέφων ψυχάς
ἡ μαρτυρία κυρίου πιστή σοφίζουσα νήπια
τὰ δικαιώματα κυρίου εὐθεῖα εὐφραίνοντα καρδίαν
ἡ ἐντολὴ κυρίου τηλαυγής φωτίζουσα ὀφθαλμούς
ὁ φόβος κυρίου ἁγνός διαμένων εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος
τὰ κρίματα κυρίου ἀληθινά δεδικαιωμένα ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό
ἐπιθυμητὰ ὑπὲρ χρυσίον καὶ λίθον τίμιον πολὺν καὶ γλυκύτερα ὑπὲρ μέλι καὶ κηρίον
καὶ γὰρ ὁ δοῦλός σου φυλάσσει αὐτά ἐν τῷ φυλάσσειν αὐτὰ ἀνταπόδοσις πολλή
παραπτώματα τίς συνήσει ἐκ τῶν κρυφίων μου καθάρισόν με
καὶ ἀπὸ ἀλλοτρίων φεῖσαι τοῦ δούλου σου
ἐὰν μή μου κατακυριεύσωσιν τότε ἄμωμος ἔσομαι
καὶ καθαρισθήσομαι ἀπὸ ἁμαρτίας μεγάλης
καὶ ἔσονται εἰς εὐδοκίαν τὰ λόγια τοῦ στόματός μου
καὶ ἡ μελέτη τῆς καρδίας μου ἐνώπιόν σου διὰ παντός
κύριε βοηθέ μου καὶ λυτρωτά μου.

תֹּורַת יְהוָה תְּמִימָה מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ עֵדוּת יְהוָה נֶאֱמָנָה מַחְכִּימַת פֶּתִי
פִּקּוּדֵי יְהוָה יְשָׁרִים מְשַׂמְּחֵי־לֵב מִצְוַת יְהוָה בָּרָה מְאִירַת עֵינָיִם
יִרְאַת יְהוָה ׀ טְהֹורָה עֹומֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי־יְהוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו
הַנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפַּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים
גַּם־עַבְדְּךָ נִזְהָר בָּהֶם בְּשָׁמְרָם עֵקֶב רָב
שְׁגִיאֹות מִי־יָבִין מִנִּסְתָּרֹות נַקֵּנִ
גַּם מִזֵּדִים ׀ חֲשֹׂךְ עַבְדֶּךָ אַל־יִמְשְׁלוּ־בִי אָז אֵיתָם וְנִקֵּיתִי מִפֶּשַׁע רָב
יִהְיוּ לְרָצֹון ׀ אִמְרֵי־פִי וְהֶגְיֹון לִבִּי לְפָנֶיךָ יְהוָה צוּרִי וְגֹאֲלִי

"Lex Domini"

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