Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verse 80

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

Let my heart be blameless in Thy statutes,
that I may not be put to shame.

Two aspects in moral life:
1. good behavior
2. blamelessness of heart
#2 is much more difficult than #1, because of passions that infiltrate into us, and exist side by side with our natural needs.
So, to make our heart blameless = to recreate it.
Only the Creator can do that, through his Grace, and the support of the Church and the sacraments – and our efforts.

I thought Theophan would quote Psalm 50 here:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a s right spirit within me.”

Then the heart is filled with the fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22, and the Beatitudes.)

A blameless heart = devoid of everything depraved + filled with every goodness
= it is of godly nature.

that I may not be put to shame
– It could be during inner battles: when the heart is blameless, it offers a strong repulse to the attacks of the enemy:

anger is repelled by meekness,
pride and vain glory by contrition and humility,
uncleanness by purity,
cupidity by rightness and mercifulness,
offenses by patience.

This is an interesting variation on Evagrius’s Antirrhetikos.

Whichever evil motion might approach,
it will be rebuffed by the opposite godly disposition of the heart.

– It could also be at the time of death, if our blameless heart has no passions to declare.
Here, Theophan has an interesting view on the toll houses: he suggests that the demons might actually present delightful things to the souls, to entice them away from God.
But the soul will resist if passions have been driven away from the heart throughout life on earth and replaced by virtues.
If this work has not been done, demons will consider the soul one of their friends.

– And finally it will be at the Last Judgement. The incessant image of it is enough to implant blamelessness in the heart.

Any reflection on these quotes?

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