Aquinas Doesn’t Care That Much About War

When the ethical topic of war comes up, as it does often enough and with intensity every so often, St. Thomas Aquinas is usually mentioned as a defender of a long-standing Catholic endorsement of the idea of “Just War.”  That’s not wrong exactly, but let’s subvert the claim for a bit.  I’m a teacher; being ambiguously provocative is basically my whole life. Continue reading Aquinas Doesn’t Care That Much About War

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Translating Psalms (75)

If you are not familiar with how the Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, first read II Kings 18-19 (it’s also in Isaiah 36-37).  Then read Lord Byron’s immortal take, even though the psalmist beat him to it by about 2500 years.

For Holy Saturday, it is the harrowing of hell.

“Notus in Judaea” (Psalm 75)

[1] In finem, in laudibus. Psalmus Asaph, canticum ad Assyrios.

Unto the end, in praises.  A psalm for Asaph, a canticle unto the Assyrians. Continue reading Translating Psalms (75)

Translating Psalms (73)

Why indeed would God be angry with us?  Maybe because we just sold His Son into the hands of death?  A total desecration of God in the triumph of the enemy?  An overthrow of God in the garden of His holy place?

Sure if this weren’t Holy Week I could talk about what I think the historical setting of this psalm is–some later stage of the kingdom when the foreign cults were overwhelming the worship of God.  But that doesn’t matter compared to seeing Jesus heading to the garden to be betrayed by his friend.

“Ut quid, Deus” (Psalm 73)

[1] Intellectus Asaph. Ut quid, Deus, repulisti in finem, iratus est furor tuus super oves pascuae tuae?

An understanding of Asaph.  Why, O God, have You repelled unto the end, has been angry, Your fury, over the sheep of Your flock? Continue reading Translating Psalms (73)

Translating Psalms (72)

Obviously in some boring human sense it’s mere coincidence that I am translating this on Tuesday of Holy Week and publishing it on Spy Wednesday.  But it’s not only that; the coincidence of each of these psalms with their corresponding day in the Passion of Our Lord is some small, hidden corner of divine providence.  They are each of them, after all, written about Him.

Playing this in the background of His last day of ministry in Jerusalem, while Judas was plotting his betrayal, is downright operatic.

“Quam bonus Israel Deus” (Psalm 72)

[1] Psalmus Asaph. Quam bonus Israel Deus, his qui recto sunt corde!

A psalm for Asaph.  How good Israel’s God to them who are of right heart! Continue reading Translating Psalms (72)

Translating Psalms (68)

Really wishing I had looked ahead to see this one waiting for me after the long Psalm 67… My heart hasn’t really been in these as much this year given my other commits, but this is a great Lenten psalm with excellent Passion connections.  Just look at v. 22!  I can at least soldier on for gems like these!

“Salvum me fac, Deus” (Psalm 68)

[1] In finem, pro iis qui commutabuntur. David.

Unto the end, for them who will be all-changed.  To David. Continue reading Translating Psalms (68)