Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 174-176

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

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

VERSE 174:
I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord,
and Thy law is my meditation.

Another sign: longing for the Lord’s salvation,
burning zeal, through the faithful fulfillment of the commandments.
Long quotations by Saint Isaac the Syrian on this zeal.

Zeal is inflamed in two ways:
fear that that good might be destroyed,
and with the desire for virtue increases in the soul.

Zeal is cooled down in two ways:
when the longing diminishes,
and with thoughts of self-assuredness.

VERSE 175:
My soul shall live and shall praise Thee,
and Thy judgments will help me.

Another sign, and way of nourishing the zeal:
the certitude (My soul shall live) that the chosen way leads directly to the goal determined by God,
with His help and protection.

He will finish it [the path]
if he does not put his faith in himself,
but rather begins gives himself up to the Lord to act in him.
p. 341

Again, in this verse Theophan insists a lot on synergy:
doing our part, but relying on God alone.

VERSE 176:
I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost;
O seek Thy servant, for I have not forgotten Thy commandments.

The more we advance in the spiritual life,
the more we see ourselves as worthless (cf. Luke 17:10 – unprofitable servants)
The true sign of saving progress is humility.

With this feeling of worthlessness, in the expectation of salvation in the Lord,
begins the proper life in penitence,
strengthened by the pledge of an unwavering faithfulness to God’s commandments…
An unprofitable servant, a lost sheep
–these are the cries of God’s true servants,
cries that are pleasing to God and attract His benevolence.
p. 343

This is a great summary of the whole psalm!


Any reflection on these quotes?

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