Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
Commenting on the subtitle of Psalm 32, “for understanding,” Augustine encapsulates understanding by saying “that not by the merits of works, but by the grace of God, man is delivered, confessing his sins” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 321018). The blessing given in verses 1-2 is that of forgiveness. The knowledge of our guilt and of God’s forgiveness should prevent boasting. Augustine then notes the Psalmist’s realization that failure to confess sins before God caused exhaustion and despair. “I was made miserably by knowing my misery, being pricked with an evil conscience” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 321026). However, in verse 5, confession leads to forgiveness. Those forgiven, in turn, are considered holy in verse six. They find refuge not in themselves but in God. God’s confirmation of his care comes in verse 8, where He speaks of the understanding he gives particularly to those who trust him. The one who approaches God, rather than fleeing from Him, receives comfort as opposed to scourging. For this reason, in verse 11, we are called to be glad in the Lord (Augustine Psalms, loc. 321046).