SYMEON-iconOctober 12th is the feast of St Symeon the New Theologian  (949–1022 AD).

Here I am again, writing against those who say they have the Spirit of God unconsciously, who think that they have Him in themselves as a result of divine Baptism and who, while they believe they have this treasure, yet recognize themselves as wholly deaf to Him.

[…] Nor are they the only ones, but I am also against those who say they have never had any perception of that gift in contemplation or in revelation, but that they still receive it by faith and thought alone, not by experience, and hold it within themselves as a result of hearing the scriptures.

[…] “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ,” says Paul, “have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27)…. If we are baptized, is it not then also clear that, as the Apostle says, we have put on Christ?

[…] If then He first deified the flesh which He had assumed with His own divinity, and so quickened us all not by corruptible flesh but by that flesh which had been deified, it was so that we should no longer recognize Him as in any way merely man.

It was so that we should recognize Him as one God perfect in two natures—for God is one—and recognize the corruptible as swallowed up by incorruption.

It was so that we should recognize the body not as destroyed by that which is bodiless but as wholly changed, remaining unconfused with yet ineffably permeated by and united in unmingled mingling with God Who is Three.

It was so that one God in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may be worshipped—the Trinity—neither as taking on any addition due to the Economy [Incarnation] nor any passion due to the body.

[…] If the baptized have put on Christ, what is it that they have put on? God. He then who has put on God, will he not recognize with his intellect and see what he has clothed himself with?

The man who has clothed his naked body feels the garment that he sees, but the man who is naked in soul will not know that he has put on God?

If he who is clothed with God does not perceive Him, what has he put on in fact? According to you, God would be nothing at all. For, if He were something, those putting Him on would know it.

When we put nothing on, we feel nothing, but whenever we are clothed by ourselves or by others, so long as our sense are intact, we are quite aware of it.

Only the dead feel nothing when they are clothed, and I am very much afraid that those who say such things are the ones who are really and truly dead and naked.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): Fifth Ethical Discourse, (slightly adapted); full translation and introduction @ Discerning Thoughts, from Saint Symeon the New Theologian: The Ethical Discourses, volume II (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Popular Patristics Series).

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