Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verse 25

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

(1815-1894)
by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014
Goodreads
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Introduction to the 4th octave:

Daleth means door, cf. “Open to me the doors of repentance”.
So repentance is the theme of this octave.
This verse is part of one of my favorite liturgical prayers. It’s neat to see how Theophan combines here Scripture and Liturgy.

It goes from the first awakening of the conscience to the resolute entry onto the path of the commandments.
Each level of the spiritual life has its door:
– v.25-27: door of repentance
– v.28-29: transition
– v.30-32: door into a just life

VERSE 25:
My soul hath cleaved unto the earth;
quicken me according to Thy word.

This is the first cry of the sinner.
Sin and passions find the food that satisfies them in the sensual things of this earth.
After awareness, the sinner cries out, “alas, my soul hath cleaved unto the earth”, like the prodigal son, “and I perish with hunger” (Lk 15:16).
Like Adam after the Fall. Cf. Ambrose:

He who has heeded Christ’s call: Follow Me, shall no longer cleave to the earth.
p.64
Let us walk in God’s will, that it may be said of us that we cleave to God.
p.65

And in Augustine: the one who is already walking the paths of righteousness (v.23) still feels the lure of the earthly impulses of the flesh.
In eternity, bodies will cling to souls, take life from them, and the souls will cleave to God and take life from God.
So we are not talking here about the separation body/soul, but about the lust of the flesh.

Having realized its unnatural attraction to the earth, the spirit cries to God, Quicken Me.
p.66

The sinner is just quickened enough to cry for strength.

The second step will be grace giving the strength to open the door of repentance.

According to Thy Word = according to Thy promises to be merciful towards those who repent, not wanting the death of the sinner (cf. Augustine and Anthimos).orthodox-cross

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