by Saint Theophan the Recluse
by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014
Not sure why, but after July 2020, I stopped taking time to post my notes on this book. I have been reading many more pages from the book since, without sharing anything.
I thought that this Great Lent 2021 was a nice opportunity to start sharing again, and also revisiting these pages I read many months ago. May these humble notes be a source of nourishment to you, my readers.
With my whole heart have I sought after Thee,
Cast me not away from Thy commandments.
The heart that seeks the Lord:
the first home for the commandments is the human nature
Heart: all of our inner life
The active part of the soul that takes the initiative and does the seeking is the will. So the 1st home for the commandments is the undertakings of the will
That the “soul of all our deeds may be the seeking of our Lord!”
“Whatever you do, do it with the awareness that it is required by God’s commandments.”
I like this quotation. I think we too often tend to understand the commandments in a negative way, as interdiction. Saint Anthony sees them in a positive way, as a rudder to guide your actions. I like the idea of taking time to reflect before acting, and see what I’m preparing to do is required by His commandments, and in what way my action will fulfill them.
Saint Theophan expands then on Saint Anthony’s quotation:
Sit down and review, and in the light of God’s commandments determine how you should act in all the circumstances and situations of your life, and then do not turn away from these decisions, and you will always be walking in the commandments and God’s will, and in everything, great or small, you will please God, grow nearer to Him, seek Him, and finally find Him.
Cast me not away: do not deprive me of Your favor
This feeling comes from somebody who repents, especially after falling many times, or if labor of repentance doesn’t seem to bring fruit.
We are afraid of being abandoned by God, but He allows this to make our repentance more intense.
The determination to be always faithful to the commandments an seek the Lord makes the soul worthy of receiving God’s grace (cf. Ambrose and Hilary).
PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THESE NOTES
Any reflection on these quotes?
This verse sounds so much like the Psalms, the same devout impulse that inspired so many of them: intensely seeking the Lord and fearing (in a good way) ever to be separated from Him by departing from His will–His law and commandments. Very helpful quotes and reflections!
I am reminded of your talk on repentance and the interior movement of compunction. The more we learn to seek the Lord, seek His face, the more aggrieved and sorrowful will we be in times of repentance, and the greater the joy of reunion with Him, our deepest Love.
Lucy, I am not sure what you mean by “This verse sounds so much like the Psalms.” Theophan is commenting on each verse of Psalm 118, from the Biblical book of Psalms.
But besides that, thanks for your comment. Yes, the closer we get to the Light, the more we see our dark areas, but they will melt in His presence, if we let Him work on our hearts
You’re quite right! I forgot that for a moment. It’s been awhile. It sounds like a Psalm because it is a Psalm. Excuse my lapse! In any case, I appreciate your posts on this commentary.
Thanks for your comments. I’m finally back to posting more