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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

God is wonderful in His Saints

It is interesting what catches the eye when you are trained by society to de-emphasize, forget or reject something . . .

The beginning of the Psalm quoted in the Offertory for St. Cyril and St. Methodius, Bishops, Martyrs, did just that for me. Here from the Douay-Rheims the phrase is "God is wonderful in His saints."

At this point the red flags are going up. Let us address these points. The Douay-Rheims is a Catholic Bible. True. One does not find this wording in any of the accepted English translations from the traditional KJV to the recent ESV (Protestant). In these translations reference is made to "holy places." So, it is a matter of how the translation is rendered. Also true. What credence is there in including this phrase in a biblical translation?

In the Septuagint we find: Θαυμαστος ο θεος εν τοις αγιοις αυτου This is echoed in the Vulgate: mirabilis Deus in sanctis suis. One ought also consult the Hebrew text. The older LXX and Vulgate renderings suffice for now in leading toward the purpose of this post, which is the greater meaning.

The greater meaning that seems to be being de-emphasized, forgotten and rejected in society and which caught my eye here is that of "holiness." Not that we are reminded almost daily of weaknesses in the Church by outsiders. Rather "holiness" now seems to be something that makes even "insiders" nervous. (Preach sin or entertain me ("lighten up"). I can relate to that.) So this is it in a nutshell. Holiness is something that is addressed over and over in divine revelation. We echo the theme "Holy, Holy, Holy" in the divine liturgy. Yet emphasizing such a theme appears foreign to us. Not only does society move us away from such thinking (hence, the word "secular") but we in the Church seem to be more comfortable moving away from this thinking too. This may explain too our drifting away from "reverence."

If there is such a thing as "Saints," and I believe there is, it is that, as the psalmist says, "God is wonderful in" them. As we see in Word and Sacraments the Lord blesses both things and people. Although sinners, do we not share in His holiness? "God is wonderful in His Saints: the God of Israel is He who will give power and strength to His people. Blessed be God."

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