Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 86-88

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

All Thy commandments are truth.
Without a cause have men persecuted me: do Thou help me.

The Prophet confirms why he didn’t listen to the transgressors from verse 85 and remained faithful:
All Thy commandments are truth

This is the 4th reason why he ought to be helped: “I prefer Thy law… because I see all of Thy commandments clad with truth” (Theodoret).
This underpins the firmness of his resolution.
But it doesn’t remove the feeling of sorrow, hence  the cry, “do Thou help me“!

Do Thou help me =
prayer concerning deliverance from persecution, but also for help in enduring it.

They well nigh made an end of me on the earth;
but as for me, I forsook not Thy commandments.

This is what happened to the holy martyrs.
“This is the 5th reason why it is fair to expect help and deliverance from oppressions”.
The test of the Lord has been completed, it’s time to end it, “to bestow tranquility upon me, therefore I pray: Save me.”

The Prophet has reached the utmost limit in his struggle with the passions — not to consent to do evil.

“Consent and non-consent are always a function of freedom. No one can force it — not even God Almighty Himself.”

But then, the ultimate success is the work of God’s grace, hence the prayer, “When wilt Thou comfort me” (v.82) and “do Thou help me” (v.86).

Theophan reminds us of the great synergy between our own participation and God’s. We first need to do our part, and thus open the way to God’s.

These words may also express the prophet’s apprehension that he may not be able to withstand much longer.

According to Thy mercy quicken me,
and I will keep the testimonies of Thy mouth.

“The goal of the present life is the fulfillment of God’s commandments”.

Sign of the prophet’s humility: he doesn’t ask for life as a reward for righteousness, but as a gift of mercy. (Theodoret).
And he concludes this octave by his devotion to God’s will. 

Quicken me =
he asks for what he desires, ie “to live in eternity, having in mind a life in blessedness” (Ambrose). And through God’s grace to “always live for God”.

Any reflection on these quotes?

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