O LORD, I have heard your speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.
Read Chapter 3
Caesarius of Arles
When the sacred lesson was read just now, we heard that at the time when the twelve spies were sent to view the land of promise, two of them brought back on a lever to the children of Israel a bunch of grapes of wonderful size. Those two men can be understood in many ways, dearly beloved, for they are not unfittingly believed to have signified both the two Testaments and the two precepts whereby God and the neighbor are loved. They can, likewise, be understood both historically and allegorically. That they were a type of the two Testaments we know definitely from the fact that the grapes are read to have been brought between those two men, just as Christ our Lord is clearly recognized in the middle of the two Testaments. According to what is written, “In the middle of the two animals you will be known,” that is, between the Old and New Testaments. When we read “in the middle,” we are not to understand that Christ was between the New and Old Testaments in such a way that he was containe...
“For mildness will come upon us, and we shall be corrected. Who knows the power of your anger, or can number your wrath for fear?” He now elaborates on his earlier statement: “the greatest number of them are labor and sorrow.” He says that we must not go beyond the precepts of the law, for Jesus Christ, who is mildness perfected, comes upon us and corrects and improves us if we wantonly ignore his Testaments. Since he used the word corrected, he prefaced it with “mildness,” so that we may realize that all the changes wrought by God in the faithful result from the application of devoted love. Next comes “Who knows the power of your anger or can number your wrath for fear?” Moses, who had experienced the severity of the Lord’s response to his errant people when they roused him with incessant grumbling, rightly exclaims that no one’s reckoning can measure his vengeance and that the potentialities of angry action open to him cannot be numbered. Observe in both instances that his boundless ...
With him nothing is incomplete or out of due season, just as with the Father there is nothing incongruous. For all these things were foreknown by the Father, but the Son works them out at the proper time in perfect order and sequence. This was the reason why, when Mary was urging on to perform the wonderful miracle of the wine and was desirous before the time to partake of the cup of emblematic significance, the Lord, checking her untimely haste, said, “Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour is not yet come”—waiting for that hour which was foreknown by the Father. This is also the reason why, when men were often desirous to take him, “for the hour of his being taken was not yet to come,” nor the time of his passion, which had been foreknown by the Father; as also says the prophet Habakkuk: “By this you shall be known when the years have drawn close; you shall be set forth when the time comes; because my soul is disturbed by anger, you shall remember your mercy.” .
Thy hearing: That is, thy oracles, the great and wonderful things thou hast revealed to me; and I was struck with a reverential fear and awe.
Thy work: The great work of the redemption of man, which thou wilt bring to life and light in the midst of the years, when our calamities and miseries shall be at their height.
The Father gave to the Son new disciples after Moses and Elijah had been exhibited along with him in the honor of his glory and had then been dismissed as having fully discharged their duty and office…. But we have the entire structure of this same vision in Habakkuk also, where the spirit in the person of some of the apostles says, “O Lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid.” What speech was this, other than the words of the voice from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, hear him”? “I considered your works and was astonished.” When could this have better happened than when Peter, on seeing his glory, knew not what he was saying? “In the midst of the two you shall be known”—even Moses and Elijah.