As the psalms are a microcosm of the Old Testament, so the Expositions of the Psalms can be seen as a microcosm of Augustinian thought. In the Book of Psalms are to be found the history of the people of Israel, the theology and spirituality of the Old Covenant, and a treasury of human experience expressed in prayer and poetry. So too does the work of expounding the psalms recapitulate and focus the experiences of Augustine’s personal life, his theological reflections and his pastoral concerns as Bishop of Hippo. The full set of 6 Volumes of the Expositions of the Psalms is translated by Maria Boulding.
“Was it food Christ wanted, when he looked for fruit on the tree;14 and if he had found any, would he have eaten it? And was it water Christ wanted, when he said to the Samaritan woman, Give me a drink, and on the cross, I am thirsty (Jn 4:7; 19:28)? What does Christ hunger for, what does he thirst for? Our good actions. He found none in those who crucified and hounded him, so he had to stay fasting then, for they supplied nothing but sterility to his soul. What a fast it was for him! He found barely one robber to taste on the cross.” (Page 63)
“They have reached such a point that they want to put up a case for actions that the divine word condemns. This is the abyss. In another place scripture says, A person devoid of reverence goes deep into sin and is defiant (Prv 18:3). There is the abyss for you. Yes, Lord, your judgments are an unfathomable abyss.” (Page 82)
“Why do you want to dispute your case at law with me? You have all abandoned me, says the Lord (Jer 2:29). Do not dispute with him at law; concentrate on being righteous. But then, however righteous you have managed to be, confess that you are a sinner, and always hope for mercy.” (Page 263)
“Christ had been asleep for them, and that was why they were apprehensive, but when Christ woke up, he commanded the winds, and they died down, as we have just heard in the gospel.10 Christ dwells in the heart of each one of us through our faith. This episode shows us that if we forget our faith, our heart is like a boat battered and tossed about in this stormy world, because Christ seems to be asleep. But when he awakes, there is calm. This interpretation is beyond dispute, because the Lord himself demanded, Where is your faith? (Lk 8:25). When Christ awoke he awakened their faith, so that what had been done for the boat might happen also in their hearts. Our helper in the terrible tribulations that have come upon us, he acted there to bring about a great calm.” (Page 314)