Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 145-146

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

(1815-1894)
by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014
Goodreads
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Introduction to the 19th octave:

Koph = monkey
Paying attention only to what is good, we can imitate the monkeys in their fervent imitation.
Be ye followers of me [Paul], even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 2:1).
And imitators of the Father (Lk 6:36 and Matt 5:48)
= to model our character in accordance with God’s qualities, as described in the commandments.
Throughout this Psalm 118, the prophet urges us to look to God as both the model and Bestower of strength for His imitation. This octave is like an abridged form of it:
– v. 151-152: the commandments are the compelling eternal law of our life.
– v. 145-148: patterns of invocation, in the longing to be faithful to this law
– v. 149: hope for mercy and judgment
– v. 150: prayer for speedy help, as the enemy is at hand.

VERSE 145:
I have cried with my whole heart;
hear me, O Lord, and I will seek after Thy statutes.

I have cried with my whole heart = vigor of spiritual yearning.
“This is what our prayer ought to be. Not thundering, but deep-hearted and intense in mind”. (p.301)

I will seek after Thy statutes =
“To seek God’s statutes means to fulfill them truly and fervently” (p. 301)
“Besides this there is nothing I seek or want to seek.”

Just as an artist is absorbed by the face which he is copying, so is the prophet absorbed by the Commandments he wants to reflect in his disposition.
p. 301

Neat image of a painter!

VERSE 146:
I have cried unto Thee;
save me, and I will keep Thy testimonies.

Same intense cry, not just hear, but save me.
Without God’s help, we cannot keep His commandments.

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