Commentary on Psalm 1, by Basil
the Great, 4th century
Any part of the Scriptures you like to choose is inspired
by God. The Holy Spirit
composed the Scriptures so that in them, as in a pharmacy
open to all souls, we
might each of us be able to find the medicine suited
to our own particular illness.
Thus, the teaching of the Prophets is one thing, and that
of the historical books is
another. And, again, the Law has one meaning, and the
advice we read in the Book
of Proverbs has a different one.
But the Book of Psalms contains everything useful that
the others have. It predicts
the future, it recalls the past, it gives directions
for living, it suggests the right
behavior to adopt. It is, in short, a jewel case in which
have been collected all the
valid teachings in such a way that individuals find remedies
just right for their
It heals the old wounds of the soul and gives relief to
recent ones. It cures the
illnesses and preserves the health of the soul.
Every Psalm brings peace, soothes the internal conflicts,
calms the rough waves of
evil thoughts, dissolves anger, corrects and moderates
Every Psalm preserves friendship and reconciles those
who are separated. Who
could actually regard as an enemy the person beside whom
they have raised a song to the one God?
Every Psalm anticipates the anguish of the night and gives
rest after the efforts of
the day. it is safety for babes, beauty for the
young, comfort for the aged,
adornment for women.
Every Psalm is the voice of the Church.
(Translation by Thomas Spidlik, Drinking from the Hidden
Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo,
MI - Spencer, MASS, 1994)