As the Nativity Fast approaches, I must face the fact that I not only have neglected this blog but have broken a promise. Last year during this time I wrote on St. Ambrose and his Treatise on the Holy Spirit, but failed to make my way through the whole thing. Thus, I promised to use it as a means to maintain this blog in the months between Nativity Fasts.
I have very legitimate reasons for my failure (my youngest having heart surgery being a major factor); however, it does not change the fact that I placed this blog so low on my priority list that I have failed to write anything for months. For that I need to apologize, especially to St. Ambrose.
Speaking of whom, I asked him what I should write about during the upcoming fast: finish his Treatise or embark on something new? He pointed me in the direction of St. Hilary of Poitiers, whose most famous work is on the Holy Trinity; however, it is not this work that I am drawn towards. Rather, there are several extant homilies on the Psalms, including one on the First Psalm.
In the Orthodox Christian liturgical life (as it is practiced in the monasteries), the entire Psaltery is read every week. During Great Lent it is read twice a week. The Psalms are the foundation of our worship services — not only do we read them, but we sing them, we use them as introductions to Scripture readings and we use them as communion hymns, for example.
Unfortunately, those of us who live in the world are woefully ignorant of this wondrous part of Scripture. The First Psalm serves as an introduction to the rest of the Psaltery. Therefore, St. Hilary’s homily on the First Psalm should be a wonderful introduction to a more intimate understanding of the Psaltery as a whole.
May St. Hilary inspire all of us to become more familiar with this most beautiful section of Scripture. Amen.