Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verse 74

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

They that fear Thee shall see me and be glad,
for on Thy words have I set my hope.

The gift of understanding, to learn God’s commandments, will be extended to all.

This brings to my mind Saint Seraphim of Sarov‘s famous word:
Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.”

In these days with the horrific Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, this is so relevant!
I can easily be complicit by my silence at denouncing such actions, and also by letting anger and violence grow in my heart, instead of starting to work for peace here.

Having received understanding, the psalmist hopes, with God’s help, to be taught to live in accordance with God’s commandments.
And others will rejoice
in that transformation.
Joy among choirs of angels in heaven –which makes me think of Luke 15:7:
“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
And joy on earth.
And I’m thinking of the song to the Theotokos:

All of Creation rejoices in thee, O full of grace:
the angels in heaven and the race of men,
O sanctified temple and spiritual paradise,
the glory of virgins, of whom God was incarnate
and became a child, our God before the ages.
He made thy body into a throne,
and thy womb more spacious than the heavens.
All of creation rejoices in thee, O full of grace:
Glory be to thee.

The Theotokos certainly learned to live according to the commandments. To the point that all, all of creation rejoices.

This is not an isolated personal project, this is communal, with communal effects. What our secular society might call butterfly effect.
Which most people do not see, just like the spiritual joy Theophan speaks about. It is nonetheless very real, at a deeper level. Just like monks and hermits are connected to the whole world at the spiritual level — dans leur solitude peuplée :

Hermits carry the whole world in their heart; they are not solitaries in spirit.
p. 190

Any reflection on these quotes?

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