Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 153-154

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

Introduction to the 20th octave:

Resh = head,
that is, what is essential.
The main dispositions of the heart, salvific and pleasing to God,
as listed in the Beatitudes and in the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).
humility, purity of conscience, the seeking of justifications, hope of salvation, patience, zeal for the good morality of others, a love loyal to God, and a conviction of the immutability of God’s commandments.

VERSE 153:
Behold my humiliation and rescue me,
for Thy law have I not forgotten.

Recognizing themselves as powerless to do anything good, they beg God for strength for every good deed –to start, to continue, and to complete it. Having accomplished it, they thank God as the accomplisher, attributing nothing to themselves. Such a disposition of spirit is the root of the spiritual life.

VERSE 154:
Judge my cause and redeem me;
for Thy word’s sake quicken me.

“He is given the boldness to speak thus by the awareness that he is right”. (p. 311)
He turns to God because he has a clean conscience.
“Maintaining the conscience in such purity is one of the fundamental dispositions of a heart pleasing to God.” (pp. 311-312)
“This brightness and purity make up the joy of a life according to the commandments, in spite of all inner and outer difficulties.” (p.312)
Prayer cannot mature without this purity of conscience.

quicken me  = deliver me
for Thy word’s sake  = the word of God’s promise,e.g. in Ps 90:15-16:
“He shall cry unto me and I will hearken unto him.
I am with him in affliction, and I will rescue him… and I will show him my salvation.”
He puts all his hope in God’s merciful promise.


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