12 July 2009

St. Symeon the new Theologian

Let us be like those who knock patiently and to whom the Lord opens the doors of His kingdom, according to His promise, and like those who seek and are given the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for a man who seeks with all his soul not to find the Holy Spirit and be enriched by His Charismata. (Cateshesis 22)

A person who has within him the light of the most Holy Spirit, unable to endure it, falls prostrate upon the ground; and he cries out and shouts in terror and great fear, for he sees and experiences something that surpasses nature, thought and imagination. He becomes as one whose entrails have been set ablaze: devoured by fire and unable to bear the scorching flame, he is beside himself, and he cannot control himself at all. And though he sheds unceasing tears that bring him some relief, the fire of his longing is kindled to yet fiercer flames. Then he weeps more abundantly and, washed by the flood of his tears, he shines as lightning with an- ever-increasing brilliance. When he is entirely aflame and becomes as light, then is fulfilled the saying, ‘God is joined in unity with gods and is known by them. (Practical and Theological Chapters 3:21)

When someone suddenly lifts up his gaze and contemplates the nature of existing things in a way that he had never done before, then he is filled with amazement and sheds spontaneous tears without any sense of anguish. These tears purify him and wash him in a second baptism, that baptism of which our Lord speaks in the Gospels when He says, ‘if someone is not born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Again He says, ‘If someone is not born from above’ (John 3:5,7). When He said ‘from above’, He signified being born from the Spirit.

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