Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 102-104

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

VERSE 102:
From Thy judgments have I not declined,
for Thou hast set a law for me.

This follows naturally from the previous verse:
“if I have declined from evil deeds, then of course I have not declined from good ones.”
“Not turning away from God’s judgments [God’s will on my life] is the same as not turning away from the fulfillment of God’s commandments”. (p.236)
So each time you choose to do good, you turn away from doing evil.Therefore:

Look sharply around and under your feet,
and do not let slip past you any opportunity for doing good that presents itself.

We come back here to the idea of daily practice (see my comment on previous verse).

Any opportunity to do good is like God’s law set for me to do good.
As soon as you see it, just do it, like the Samaritan who didn’t hesitate.
Realizing God’s Providence in that, is a good incentive not to avoid it.

VERSE 103:
How sweet to my palate are Thy sayings!
more sweet than honey to my mouth.

Then our spiritual sense needs to be quickened, our heart needs to be warm towards everything holy and divine.
We need to find pleasure and sweetness in doing good.
Instead of experiencing callousness, crudeness, and insensitivity of the heart.

Steadiness in doing good slowly quickens the heart.
Then “prayer begins to delight. Charity brings comfort, and every abstinence joy.” (p.238)

VERSE 104:
From Thy commandments have I gained understanding;
therefore have I hated every way of unrighteousness.

When we develop taste for the spiritual, then the evil ways will feel unappetizing and even unpleasant (I have hated every way of unrighteousness).
This is proof of the healing of the soul.

St. Basil the Great, answering the question,
“What is the sign of cleansing of the heart,”
answered: “When a person hates sin.”

Any reflection on these quotes?

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