Thought of the day
9/23/2020 5:37:35 AM

"They went from village to village proclaiming the good news "


Saint Hilary (c.315-367)

Bishop of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church

Commentary on Psalm 65, §19-20 ; CSEL 22, 261

"They went from village to village proclaiming the good news "

What is this “sound of praise” (Ps 66[65]:8) we are to proclaim? Surely this: “He has given life to the souls” of believers (v. 9). For God has granted us constancy and perseverance in professing our faith by the apostles' preaching and martyrs' witness, and preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven has traversed the earth in every direction as if by strides. Indeed, “their message has spread to the ends of the world” (Ps 19[18]:5). And elsewhere the Holy Spirit declares the splendor of this spiritual course: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace” (Is 52:7). This, then, is the sound of God's praises that our proclamation should make known, as the psalmist bears witness: “He gave life to my soul and did not allow my foot to slip” (LXX). For indeed, the apostles were not deterred from the course of their preaching by fear of human threats, and the firmness of their footsteps, soundly set, were not allowed to slip from the path of faith... Nevertheless, after saying: “He has not let my feet slip”, the psalmist adds: “You have tested us, O God! You have tried us as silver is tried” (v. 10). Thus, this statement, which began in the singular, refers to several. For the Spirit is one and one the faith of believers, as it is written in the Acts if the Apostles: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32) (…)        But to what does this simile refer: “They were tried as silver is tried”? As I understand it, if you try silver it is purely to separate off the scoria attached to unrefined matter (…) That is why, when God tries those who believe in him, it is not that he ignores their faith but because “endurance proves character” as the apostle Paul says (Rom 5:4). God puts them to the proof, not that he might know them, but that he might lead them to the perfect attainment of virtue. And so, purified by fire and separated from every alloy with the vices of the flesh, they can shine out with all the splendor of an innocence that has proved itself true.