Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verse 17

Psalm 118Psalm 118:
A Commentary
by Saint Theophan the Recluse

(1815-1894)
by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014
Goodreads
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STROPHA 3: verses 17-24

Ghimel = camel, the most enduring of pack animals, like toilers on the path of the commandments, who have not yet developed a taste for them.
As a beast, bearing the burden without enjoying the fruit.
This stropha is about inner and outer difficulties encountered on the good path.

VERSE 17:
Give reward unto Thy servant,
quicken me and I will keep Thy words.

Give reward = in mercy, give what is needed, give fully, in abundance.
This is said by a servant who sees an impoverishment of his spiritual life. Fill my emptiness!
Quicken me = because someone who abides in sin is dead for God.
Give reward = Quicken me

We have 3 lives:

  • of the body
  • of the soul
  • of the spirit

Towering above them is our consciousness, free and endowed with reason.
When the spirit is awakened by the action of the Holy Spirit, we consolidate our spiritual life.
here in this verse, we find the insensibility of a man’s life without God’s grace. There’s no sign of spiritual life, though the consciousness and the inner faithfulness is still present.

So, what to do? “Be patient and pray, confessing your feebleness.” (p.50)
This makes us never forget that by ourselves, we are nothing.
The person here still keeps the words, but heartlessly for now, more like a machine.

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