Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verse 121

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

Introduction to the 16th octave:

a’in = the eye
Without the grace of the Holy Spirit, our spiritual eye is darkened.
With the Holy Spirit:

He who will walk in this direction
will have his horizon grow wider and wider,
and the unseen world will unfold before him with more clarity.
This disposition is the state of contemplation.
All Christians are destined to it,
and true Christians actually attain it.
(See St. Isaac the Syrian, Discourse 55).
which I believe might be #76 in the 2011 Holy Transfiguration Monastery edition
p. 265

So, what is the state of a contemplating mind?

Faith represents all its content;
love embraces all its movements;
hope forms the base or the support of its standing.
All of them define a life in God.
p. 265

With his mind’s eye, he cleaves to God,
forgetting everything around him,
as if there were nothing and never was.
In this alone is his gladness and his paradise;
all his desires rush here;
from here originates all his energy;
in this are all his goals.
p. 265

There’s a “loving directing of the mental eyes towards God” (Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord – Psalm 24:15, etc.).
And there’s “a hopeful directing of the eyes towards God, in devotion to the will of God.” (The eyes of all look to Thee with hope – Ps 144:16, etc).

The hopeful directing of the eyes towards God: this is what this octave is about, as summarized in verse 123: Mine eyes have failed with waiting for Thy salvation.

In the other verses, the psalmist talks about circumstances that call out for hope, and “the main condition for the efficacy of hope”: “faithfulness to God’s will through the fulfillment of His holy commandments”:
one eye on God’s hand, in hope of receiving His mercy, + one eye on the commandments.

VERSE 121:
I have wrought judgments and righteousness;
O give me not up to them that wrong me.

O give me not up:
cried by those devoted to God, aware of all dangers, knowing that without God’s help and protection, the enemy would devour them.
Maybe accused by his own conscience, he adds, I have wrought judgments and righteousness.
No one is pure, so how can he say that?
His could be sins of feebleness and ignorance, not of intention. And he went through cleansing and repentance.

So then — if you wish your soul to be overshadowed with hope,
and you might dare to utter to God, O give me not up,
be faithful to righteousness, to God’s commandments.
p. 267

Hope is the most tender flower in the spiritual garden,
but also the strongest…
It itself strengthens everything with its fragrance.
Safeguard this flower, guard yourself from sin.
p. 267

Any reflection on these quotes?

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