Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 36-37

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies,
and not unto covetousness.

Covetousness  = πλεονεξία, the greed to have more and more.
Need to reject improper feelings, reject covetousness (the root of all evil), and have exclusive love of God.
And worship God for His own sake, not for mercenary designs, be they spiritual. Not for self-interest.

This purity doesn’t happen over night. It’s a gift, but our job is to ask for it, and to keep what is granted and make use of it.

Turn away mine eyes that I may not see vanity,
quicken Thou me in Thy way.

Not to have the mind busy with thoughts of temporary things.
Appealing emptiness, the world is packed full of such things.

Let me not, by looking at things of vanity, be carried away by vanity and get attached to them by attention and sympathy, because therein is death for me.
p.103 (cf. Lot!)

For Athanasios, vanity = everything that is not relevant to pleasing God and to salvation
For Theodoret = what is useless and serves no purpose

The fruit of turning one’s eyes away from vanity = spiritual life
It’s also not doing good in order to be seen by men (vainglory).

Any reflection on these quotes?

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