Psalm 118: Third Stasis

Psalm 118 (LXX) / 119 (MT): Meditations on the Excellencies of the Word of God

icon king davidThird Stasis                         

פ Pe (Theme: Expression Of God’s Words, Testimonies & Teaching, & Man’s Learning & Receiving)

Mouth: God’s mouth pronounces orders & commandments, the mouth of God-fearing people professes their absolute submission to God & they pray to Him to teach them & give them the strength to fulfill precisely all that is pronounced by His mouth, expressing contrition & repentance, if it ever will occur, to forsake it. God’s words are wonderful & attract the attention of the soul (v. 129), the word of God makes wiser & enlightens (v. 130); the longing for God’s commandments attracts His grace (v. 131). He who devotes himself to God finds himself under God’s protection (v. 132), & the fear of the Lord protects him & guides him in his ways (v. 133). In the hour of trial it gives him the strength not to leave the path of virtue (v. 134), brings down upon him God’s benevolence (v. 135), & bestows upon him the gift of tears for his sins (v. 136).

129  Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.

130  The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

131  I opened my mouth & panted, for I longed for Your commandments.

Third Stasis

132  Look upon me & be merciful to me, as Your custom is toward those who love Your name.

133  Direct my steps by Your word, & let no iniquity have dominion over me.

134  Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts.

135  Make Your face shine upon Your servant, & teach me Your statutes.

136  Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.

צ Tsaddi (Theme: Aspects: Judgment, Zeal, Faith, Trials)

Flank or side: Here are the indications of various sides, aspects or facets of the commandments; from each such side the relation to them is expressed by a specific disposition. Four of such dispositions are mentioned: faith, the certainty that commandments are the truth & the immutable verity (v. 137, 138), zeal derived from such firm conviction & the desire to carry it out & the love of the commandments (v. 139, 140), humility with hope (v. 141, 142), endurance of anything that happens on account of faithfulness to commandments (v. 143, 144). Here is a complete program, & the bread of spiritual life is eaten in the midst of great spiritual effort.

137  Righteous are You, O Lord, & upright are Your judgments.

138  Your testimonies, which You have commanded, are righteous & very faithful.

139  My zeal has consumed me, because my enemies have forgotten Your words.

140  Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it.

141  I am small & despised, yet I do not forget Your precepts.

142  Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, & Your law is truth.

143  Trouble & anguish have overtaken me, yet Your commandments are my delights.

144  The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; give me understanding, & I shall live.

ק Qoph (Theme: Appeal, Devotion, Faith In The Truth & Permanence Of God’s Ways; Imitation)

Ape: imitation is not only necessary but indispensable & moral & religious life. Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful. The Prophet calls to imitate God as an example & at the same time as the giver of strength to imitate Him, & this is what all the invocations of this octave are about: ‘I have cried with my whole heart,’ hear me, save me, & I will seek Thy testimonies & keep them. He arises in the dead of night to pray, & he gets up early to find the time to meditate; the enemies of spiritual life persecute him, but he remains faithful to God, seeks Him & pledges always to be faithful to God’s testimonies which have been established for ever.

145  I cry out with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord! I will keep Your statutes.

146  I cry out to You; Save me, & I will keep Your testimonies.

147  I rise before the dawning of the morning, & cry for help; I hope in Your word.

148  My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.

149  Hear my voice according to Your loving-kindness; O Lord, revive me according to Your justice.

150  They draw near who follow after wickedness; they are far from Your law.

151  You are near, O Lord, & all Your commandments are truth.

152  Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.

ר Resh (Theme: Essentials: Faith In Trials, Salvation; God’s Truth, Wisdom, Our Fear & Love)

Head, meaning main, essential: & the moral life this word can be used to indicate the main dispositions of the heart by which such a life is upheld & activated. The Savior pointed to such dispositions in His presentation of the Beatitudes: humility, contrition, meekness, love of truth, merciful must, purity of heart, love of peace, patience, hope. And the Apostle Paul indicates similar dispositions when he enumerates the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal. 5:22, 23). And there are similar passages & other places of the Holy Scriptures, of which this octave is one. Shown here are humility, purity of the conscience, the seeking of God’s statutes, hope of salvation, patience, zeal for the good morals of others, love of God & the conviction of the permanence of God’s commandments.

153  Consider my affliction & deliver me, for I do not forget Your law.

154  Plead my cause & redeem me; revive me according to Your word.

155  Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes.

156  Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord; revive me according to Your judgments.

157  Many are my persecutors & my enemies, yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.

158  I see the treacherous, & am disgusted, because they do not keep Your word.

159  Consider how I love Your precepts; revive me, O Lord, according to Your loving-kindness.

160  The entirety of Your word is truth, & every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

ש Shin (Theme: Martyrs: Fear Of Men Or Of God; Daily Prayer, Waiting For Salvation)

Tooth: in the animal kingdom teeth are the instruments of protection & feeding, & in addition to that they help human beings to speak. What means of protection are given a person who wants to live by the commandments of God? Fear of transgressing the law (v. 161), hope for the blessings resulting from its fulfilling (v. 162), love of the law (v. 163). These fill the soul & mind with praise to God for the blessings from the judgments of God’s truth (v. 164), & those blessings which are imparted as a result of fulfilling God’s commandments: peace of mind (v. 165), hope of salvation (v. 166), the very love of the commandments (v. 167), & the final crowning of everything: to walk before God (v. 168).

161  Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word.

162  I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.

163  I hate & abhor lying, but I love Your law.

164  Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments.

165  Great peace have those who love Your law, & nothing causes them to stumble.

166  Lord, I hope for Your salvation, & I do Your commandments.

167  My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly.

168  I keep Your precepts & Your testimonies, for all my ways are before You.

ת Tau (Theme: The Humility Of David & Its Universal Meaning For The Church)

Sign: here indicated are signs by which one can determine if one is on the right track & whether one is walking along it in the right way. This is the last & conclusive octave. It describes the height of human perfection, the fruits borne by a soul devoted to God. It has learned to pray, to seek understanding & help from God (v. 169, 170), on account of which ardent prayer & praise to God are bursting from the soul (v. 171), & the tongue wants to declare God’s ways to other people (v. 172). The assurance of God’s protection gives Gary & increases zeal for salvation (v. 173, 174), as it quickens the soul & fills it with assuredness that God will help into the end (v. 175), yet, at the last moment the Prophet humbles himself before God & appeals to His mercy (v. 176). And that is the very best sign of his salvation. Dammit

169  Let my cry come before You, O Lord; give me understanding according to Your word.

170  Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your word.

171  My lips shall utter praise, for You teach me Your statutes.

172  My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.

173  Let Your hand become my help, for I have chosen Your precepts.

174  I long for Your salvation, O Lord, & Your law is my delight.

175  Let my soul live, & it shall praise You; & let Your judgments help me.

176  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.

Prayers after the Third Stasis:

Glory to the Father & to the Son & to the Holy Spirit; now & ever & unto ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia; Glory to Thee, O God. (2x)

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia; Glory to Thee, O God our Hope, O Lord, glory to Thee.

(Trisagion Prayers)

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal; have mercy on us. (3x)

Glory to the Father & to the Son & to the Holy Spirit; now & ever & unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit & heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father & to the Son & to the Holy Spirit; now & ever & unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. & forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. & lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom & the power & the glory of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit; now & ever & unto ages of ages. Amen.


Like the prodigal son have I sinned against Thee, O Savior; accept me who repent, O Father, & have mercy upon me, O God!

Glory to the Father, & to the Son, & to the Holy Spirit…

With the publican’s voice do I cry into Thee, O Savior Christ; cleanse me as Thou didst him, & have mercy upon me!

…now & ever & unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Theotokos, disdain not me who am in need of thine aid, for in thee hath my soul trusted. Have mercy upon me!

Lord, have mercy. (40x)

Almighty Master & Lord, Creator of all, Father of compassion & God of mercy, Who fashioned man from the earth & showed him to be created according to Thine image & likeness, that thereby Thy majestic name might be glorified on earth; & Who, when he had been uprooted by the violation of Thy commandment, didst fashion him a new & yet better in Thy Christ, & didst lead him up to heaven, I think Thee that Thou has not given me over utterly to mine enemies, which seek to cast me down to be lost in hell, nor has left me to perish with mine iniquities. Now, therefore, O greatly merciful Lord, Who lovest that which is good, Who desirest not the death of the sinner, but awaitest his conversion & dost accept it, Who settest aright them that have been cast down, & healest the broken, turn even me unto repentance, set me aright to have been cast down, & heal me who am broken; Be Thou mindful of Thy compassions & Thine incomparable goodness which hath been unto us from of old, & forget my countless iniquities which I have committed by thought, word & deed; remove the blinders of my heart, & grant me tears of remorse for the cleansing of my vile thoughts. Hearken, O Lord, & attend, O Lover of mankind; cleanse me, O Compassionate One, & free Thou my wretched soul from the tyranny of the passions which reign within me. & let sin have no more hold over me, nor let the warring demon prevail against me, neither let him lead me to do his will; but with Thy mighty hand, O Thou Who hast rescued me from his dominion, do Thou reign within me, O good Lord Who lovest mankind; & be Thou well pleased that I be holy Thine, & that I live henceforth in accordance with Thy will. & by Thine ineffable goodness grant me cleansing of heart, a guard over my mouth, uprightness of activity, a humble mind, piece of thought, serenity of the powers of my soul, spiritual joy, true piety, long-suffering, goodness, meekness, unfeigned love, steadfast temperance; & fill me with every good fruit, through the gift of Thy Holy Spirit, & bring me not to the mid-point of my days unprepared, neither snatch away my unrepentant soul, but perfect me with Thy perfection, & thus lead me up from this present life, that, having passed through the principalities & powers of darkness without hindrance, even I may, through Thy grace, behold the ineffable beauty of Thine unapproachable glory, with all Thy saints, in whom Thy most honorable & majestic name hath been glorified & sanctified, together with Thy Son, & Thy most holy, good & life-creating spirit; now, & ever, & unto ages of ages. Amen. (A Psalter For Prayer)

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