Symeon the New Theologian: Grace becomes itself the day of divine judgment by which he who is purified is continually illumined Tuesday, Aug 25 2015 

SYMEON-iconContinued from here….

Grace, on the one hand, is unapproachable and invisible to those who are still possessed by unbelief and the passions, and is seen, on the other hand, and revealed to those who with faith and in fear and trembling do the commandments and give evidence of a worthy repentance.

This same grace of itself incontestably brings the future judgment to pass in them.

Rather, indeed, it becomes itself the day of divine judgment by which he who is purified is continually illumined, sees himself as he is in truth and in every detail, and all his works for what they are, whether done by the body or acted on by the soul.

Nor this alone, but he is as well judged and examined by the divine fire, and, thus enriched by the water of his tears, his whole body is moistened and he is baptized entire, little by little, by the divine fire and Spirit, and becomes wholly purified, altogether immaculate, a son of the light and of the day, and from that point on no longer a child of mortal man.

It is quite for this reason, too, that such a man is not judged at the judgment and justice to come, for he has already been judged. Neither is he reproved by that light, for he has been illumined beforehand.

Nor is he put to the test and burned on entering this fire, for he has been tried already. Neither does he understand the Day of the Lord as appearing sometime “then,” because, by virtue of his converse and union with God, he has become wholly a bright and shining day.

[…] As many therefore as are children of the light also become sons of the Day which is to come, and are enabled to walk decently as in the day, The Day of the Lord will never come upend them, because they are already in it forever and continually.

The Day of the Lord, in effect, is not going to be revealed suddenly to those who are ever illumined by the divine light, but for those who are in the darkness of the passions and spend their lives in the world hungering for the things of the world, for them it will be fearful and they will experience it as unbearable fire.

However, this fire which is God will not appear in an entirely spiritual manner but, one might say, as bodilessly embodied, in the same way as, according to the Evangelist, Christ of old was seen by the Apostles after having risen from the dead.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): Tenth Ethical Discourse @ Eclectic Orthodoxy.

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Symeon the New Theologian: The revelation of His divinity becomes a judgment for those to whom it is revealed Saturday, Aug 1 2015 

SYMEON-iconIt is not called Day of the Lord as being the last of these present days, nor because it is on this day that He is going to come again in the same way that we say for feast days of the present time.

[…] Neither is it called Day of Judgment because it is on this day that judgment is going to take place, since the day when this occurs is not other than the Lord who will come on it, but it is called this because He Himself, the God and Master of all, will at that time shine with the glory of His own divinity.

[…] And He alone will be at once “Day” and God. He Who is now invisible to all and dwells in light will then be revealed to all as He is, and will fill all things with His light, and will be without evening, without end, a day of everlasting joy, but absolutely unapproachable and unseen for those who, like me, are lazy and sinners.

Because this did not happen while they yet lived, because they lacked zeal to see the light of His glory and, through purification, to have Him completely indwelling in themselves, He will also naturally be unapproachable for them in the future.

[…] The revelation of His divinity becomes in fact a judgment for those to whom it is revealed. No flesh could have endured the glory of His divinity as manifested naked of its joining and inexpressible union with the God-man. All creation would instead have been utterly destroyed both in body and soul, since at that time all were possessed by unbelief.

For the divinity, which is to say the grace of the all-Holy Spirit, has never appeared to anyone who is without faith; and, if it were to appear by some paradox among men, it would show itself as fearful and dreadful, as not illumining but burning, not as giving life but as punishing dreadfully.

And this is clear from the things which the blessed Paul, the vessel of election suffered. In the encounter with the radiance of the unapproachable light which flashed around him like lightning, his vision was wounded, and rather than being illumined he was darkened. He could not see, and lost even his natural faculty of sight.

These things happened to him who would later become the great teacher of Christ’s Church! That man who was so great, the same man who later said: ‘The God Who said “Let light shine out of darkness” has shone in our hearts,’ and a little later: ‘We have this treasure’ — i.e., of illumination — ‘in our hearts’ could not at that time see even the least glimmer of the light.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): Tenth Ethical Discourse @ Eclectic Orthodoxy.

Symeon the New Theologian: We receive the Word and the Spirit in our hearts Saturday, Jun 14 2014 

SYMEON-iconEveryone of us believes in him who is the Son of God and son of Mary, ever-virgin and mother of God.

And as believers we faithfully welcome his gospel into our hearts, confessing in words our belief, and repenting with all our soul of our past sins.

Then immediately, just as God the Word of the Father entered the Virgin’s womb, so also in ourselves the word which we receive in learning right belief appears like a seed.

You should be amazed when you hear of such an awe-inspiring mystery, and because the word is reliable you should receive it with full conviction and faith.

In fact we receive him not bodily, as the Virgin and Mother of God received him, but both spiritually and substantially.

And the very one whom the chaste Virgin also received, we hold in our own hearts, as Saint Paul says: It is God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shown in our hearts to reveal the knowledge of his Son. 

In other words: he has become wholly substantial in us. And that he actually meant this, he made clear in the next verse: But we contain this treasure in earthenware pots, calling the Holy Spirit a treasure.

But elsewhere he also calls the Lord Spirit: The Lord is the Spirit, he says. And he tells us this so that if you hear the words the Son of God, you should think of and hear the words the Spirit at the same time.

Again, if you hear the Spirit mentioned you should join the Father to the Spirit in thought, because con­cerning the Father too it is said: God is Spirit. 

You are constantly taught that the Holy Trinity is inseparable and of the same substance, and that where the Son is the Father is also, and where the Father is the Spirit is also, and where the Holy Spirit is the whole of the deity in three persons is, the one God and Father with Son and Spirit of the same substance, “who is praised for ever. Amen.”

So if we wholeheartedly believe and ardently repent, we receive the Word of God in our hearts, as has been said, like the Virgin, if of course we bring with us our own souls chaste and pure.

And just as the fire of the deity did not consume the Virgin since she was supremely pure, so neither does it consume us if we bring with us chaste and pure hearts; on the contrary it becomes in us the dew from heaven, a spring of water, and a stream of immortal life.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): Traites Theologiques et Ethiques J, 10: se 122, 252-254 @ Dom Donald’s Blog.

Symeon the New Theologian: The Father is Light, the Son is Light, the Holy Spirit is Light Saturday, May 31 2014 

SYMEON-iconThe Father is light, the Son is light, the Holy Spirit is light.
Watch what you say, brother, watch lest you go astray!
For the Three are one light, one, not separated,
but united in three persons without confusion.

For God is wholly undivided by nature
and in essence He is truly beyond all essence.
He is not split in power, nor in form, nor in glory,
nor in appearance, for He is contemplated entirely as simple light.

In these the persons are one, the three hypostases are one.
For the Three are in the one, or rather the Three are one,
the Three are one power, the Three are one glory,
the Three are one nature, one essence, and one divinity.

And these are the one light that illuminates the world,
not the world, perish the thought, not this visible world
—for this visible world has not known Him, nor is it
able to know, nor can the friends of the world,
for the one who loves the world is an enemy of God,

but we call “the world” that which God has made human
according to his image and likeness,
because one is adorned with virtues, one rules terrestrial beings;

just as God has authority over the universe,
so also one reigns over the passions according to this image,
and subjugates demons, the craftsmen of evils,
and tramples underfoot the dragon, the primeval, the huge
dragon like a common sparrow. And how? Listen child!

This fallen prince immediately found himself in darkness
because he was deprived of the light; he is now in darkness
with all those who fell with him from heaven;
he reigns in it—certainly in the darkness I say—
over demons and humans who are held in the darkness.

Every soul who does not see the light of life shining
both in the day and night is punished by the prince of darkness:
wounded, subdued, dragged, and enchained,
and stabbed daily by the darts of pleasure.

Even if the soul seems to resist, even if she seems not to fall,
but still she always has an irreconcilable war with him
in much sweat, toil, trouble, and hardship.

But every soul who contemplates the divine light,
from whence the evil prince has fallen, despises the evil one,
and once enlightened by the unapproachable light itself,
then the soul tramples underfoot the prince of darkness like a leaf
fallen on the ground from a high tree.

For she is in darkness where he has power and authority,
but in the light he becomes an utterly dead corpse.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): from Hymn 33.

Saint Symeon the New Theologian: How fortunate are those who embraced divine Love! Wednesday, Mar 12 2014 

SYMEON-iconMarch 12th is the Feast of St Symeon the New Theologian (also October 12th).

Continued from here….

Love desired, how fortunate are those who have embraced you, for they will no longer have a yearning to embrace any human beauty.

How fortunate are they who are moved by divine love to cling to you: they’ll deny the whole world, and, to whatever degree they associate with others, they won’t be spoiled.

How fortunate are those who caress your beauty and delight in it with great desire, for their souls will be sanctified by the undefiled blood and water which issue from you.

How fortunate are those who passionately embrace you, for they will be altered for the better in spirit and will exult in their souls, because you are inexpressible joy.

How fortunate are they who gain possession of you, for they will count the treasures of the world as nothing, for you are indeed wealth “beyond the dreams of avarice”.

How blessed and thrice-blessed are they whom you accept, for though they be apparently without any glory, they will be more glorious than those who are glorious, more honoured than those who are honoured.

How worthy of praise are those who pursue you; even more so those who have found you.

Most blessed are those who are loved by you, received by you, taught by you, those who have dwelt in you and been fed by you with immortal food, that is the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Love divine, where are you holding Christ? Where are you concealing Him​? Why have you taken the Redeemer of the world and departed from us?

Open a wicket gate for us, so that we also may see Christ Who suffered for us, and so hope in His mercy that we’ll die no more when we once have seen Him. Open up to us, you who became the door allowing Him to be made manifest in the flesh.

Love, you who’ve forced the unforced and abundant compassion of our Master to bear the sins and infirmities of all people, do not reject us by saying, “I do not know you”. Be with us, so that you may come to know us, for we are not known to you.

Dwell in us, so that, for your sake, the Master may visit even us, who are lowly; go before us to meet Him, since we are wholly unworthy. So that He will pause on His way, to converse with you and will permit even us sinners to fall at His unblemished feet.

You’ll intercede on our behalf and plead with Him to forgive the debt of our sins, so that through you we may again be found worthy to serve Him, our Master, and be sustained and nourished by Him.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): In Praise of Those Who Have Love in Their Hearts @ Pemptousia.

Symeon the New Theologian: When I recalled the beauty of undefiled Love, its Light suddenly appeared in my heart Thursday, Feb 20 2014 

SYMEON-iconLet us therefore follow one and the same path, Christ’s commandments, which elevate us to heaven and to God.

Even though the word shows us many paths and many ways for people to reach the kingdom of heaven, these paths are not, in fact, many, but one, though they’re divided into many, according to each person’s ability and disposition.

While we may begin from many and varied works and actions, just as travelers depart from different places and many cities, the destination we are attempting to reach is the same: the kingdom of heaven.

The actions and ways of godly men must be understood as spiritual virtues.

Those who begin to walk in them must head towards one goal, just as those who come from various countries and places come together, as we have said, to one city, the kingdom of heaven, where, together, they will become worthy to reign with Christ and become subjects of one King, our God and Father.

By this city, which is one, not many, you should understand the holy and undivided trinity of virtues, faith, hope and love, especially that virtue which comes before the others but is also mentioned as the last, since it is the goal of all good things and greater than them all- love.

All faith comes from it and is built on its foundation; on it, hope is based. Without love nothing has ever taken shape, nor ever will Its names and actions are numerous. Even more so are its distinctive features; its properties are divine and innumerable.

Yet it is one in nature, wholly beyond the ken of angels or men or any other creatures, even those which are unknown to us. Reason cannot tell of it; its glory is inaccessible; its counsels unsearchable. It is eternal and beyond time, and beyond sight, though it may be perceived.

How many are the delights of this Holy Zion not made by human hand. Those who have begun to see it no longer take any pleasure in perceptible, earthly objects; they become indifferent to the glory of this world.

Permit me, for a short time, to address myself to this love, to fulfill my desire for it, insofar as I can. When I recalled the beauty of undefiled love, its light suddenly appeared in my heart.

I was ravished with its sweetness and lost my senses; I lost all perception of this life and forgot all the things of this world. But then – I don’t know how – it departed from me and left me to lament my weakness.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): In Praise of Those Who Have Love in Their Hearts @ Pemptousia.

Symeon the New Theologian: Clothed with Christ Saturday, Oct 12 2013 

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).

Symeon the New Theologian: The commandments of the Master were given as guardians of God’s ineffable graces and gifts Friday, Aug 23 2013 

SYMEON-iconConfession is nothing other than the admission of our debts and, therefore, a deep awareness of our falls, that is, a decrial of our poverty and foolishness.

[…] Listen now to what it is that we have received from Him…:

deliverance from condemnation, sanctification from defilement, advancement from darkness to His ineffable light,

the possibility of becoming His children and sons and inheritors through divine baptism and to be clothed with God Himself, and to become His members and to receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us.

[…] He makes us like Himself and crafts us into His brethren and co-inheritors.

To those who are being baptized, all these things are given directly by baptism, which are called by the divine Apostle “divine riches and inheritance” (Col. 1:12; Eph. 3:8; 2 Cor. 4:7).

The commandments of the Master were given as guardians of these ineffable graces and gifts and they encircle the believer all about like a wall, creating a safe haven for the treasure hidden in his soul.

And they sustain it and make it inaccessible to all enemies and thieves.

However, we think that it is we ourselves who labour under the burden of keeping the commandments of a man-loving God; but we are unaware of the fact that it is we, rather, who are guarded by them.

For he who keeps the commandments of God does not sustain and guard them but guards himself from visible and invisible enemies, the innumerable entities which the Apostle Paul spoke of: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spirits of wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12), in other words, which are found in the air and are always invisibly arrayed against us.

Therefore, he who keeps the commandments is himself protected by them and cannot lose the riches, which God has entrusted in him. But he who disdains the commandments stands exposed before the enemies and is easily defeated by them.

And having lost all these riches, he is in debt to the King and Master for all the things we spoke of which are impossible for man to pay back or even to find. For these are heavenly and He came from heaven. And He comes every day and brings them and distributes them to the faithful.

Where could those who had once received them but also lost them possibly find them again? Truly nowhere.

Just as neither Adam, nor any of his sons, was able to restore himself or remake his relatives, it would have been impossible had not God, Who is above all being, become Adam’s son according to the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, and come and raised up both him and us from our fall by His divine power.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): Epistle on Confession, full translation and introduction @ Discerning Thoughts, from Saint Symeon the New Theologian: The Mystical Life, volume III (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Popular Patristics Series).

Symeon the New Theologian: God’s compassion and Adam’s foolishness Saturday, Mar 23 2013 

SYMEON-icon“And God said to Adam [after he disobeyed], Adam where are you?” (Gen. 3:9).

Why did the omnipotent Creator ask this? Certainly desiring to help him understand his mistake and lead him to repentance.

“Adam, where are you?” It is as if He was saying: Examine yourself; take a look at your nakedness! Consider the cloak and the glory of which you have been deprived.

“Adam, where are you?” It is as if He was pleading with him and urging: Please, come to your senses, you poor man. Please, come out of your hiding spot. Do you think you can hide from Me?

Say, “I have sinned!” Unfortunately, Adam said no such thing. Instead, he said, “I heard You walking in Paradise, and I realized that I am naked and I hid.”

How did God reply? “Who told you that you are naked? Did you perhaps eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Do you see, beloved reader, God’s patience? When He asked, “Adam, where are you?” Adam did not confess his sin straightaway, but said, “I heard Your voice Lord, and I realized that I am naked and I hid.”

Even with such a dishonest response, God did not become mad, He did not immediately and definitively turn away from him; on the contrary, He gave him a second chance to admit his fault.

“Who told you that you are naked? Did you perhaps eat from the only tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Take note of the depth of God’s wisdom and words. “Why are you announcing your nakedness, but concealing your sin?”

He says to Adam. “Do you think that I am able to see only your body but unable to see your heart and thoughts as well?”

Adam…was hoping that God would remain unaware of his sin, and he thought…:

“If I say that I am naked, since God is unaware, He will ask me why I am naked? Then I will tell him, ‘I have no idea.’ Thus, I will elude Him and I will enjoy my original garment once again. Even if He doesn’t give me another garment, at least He will not expel me; at least He will not exile me!”

[…] God, however, did not want him to become any more blameworthy, so He asked, “How did you realize that you are naked. Did you perhaps eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

It is as if he was saying: Do you really believe that you can hide from Me? Do you think I am unaware of what you did? You don’t want to say, “I have sinned”?

You poor man! Say, “Yes, Lord. Indeed I have transgressed Your commandment…. Have mercy on me!”

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD); fuller version @ Discerning Thoughts and St Nektarios Monastery.

Symeon the New Theologian: The mind should guard the heart in the time of prayer Wednesday, Oct 12 2011 

(Although the author is unknown, the following text has traditionally been attributed to St. Symeon the New Theologian.)

The mind should guard the heart in the time of prayer and always stay inside it.

From there, from the depths of the heart, it should then lift up the prayers to God.

For once it tries inside the heart and tastes and is soothed – as the Lord is good! – then the mind will never want to leave the place of the heart.

It will there repeat the words of Peter the apostle: “It is wonderful for us to be here!” (Matt 17:4).

Then it will always wish to look inside the heart, remaining there and pushing aside and expelling all the concepts which are planted by the devil.

To those who have not realised this work of salvation and remain unaware of it, this will most of the times seem very hard and unpleasant.

But those who have tasted its sweetness and enjoyed the pleasure inside the depths of their hearts, they all cry together with Paul: “What could ever come between us and the love of God?” (Rom 8:38-39).

Our holy fathers have listened the Lord who said that from the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, slander (Matt 15:19-20) and how these are the things that make a man unclean.

Further, they have listened to the part of the gospel where we are ordered to clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well (Matt 23:26).

They therefore left aside any other spiritual work and concentrated exclusively on guarding the heart, being confident that through this they would easily achieve all other virtues, whilst without it no virtue can be preserved.

This practice was called by some fathers “serenity of the heart”, whilst others named it “attention”, others “sobriety” and “detainment”, others “examination of the thoughts” and “guarding of the mind”.

[…] It is for this that the Ecclesiastes says: Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart blameless and clear, and prevent your heart from thoughts (Eccl. 11:9 [LXX]).

The same is said in the Proverbs: if the devil makes an assault on you, do not let him enter your place (Eccl. 10:4 [LXX]) where “the place” means the heart.

The Lord Himself tells us in the Gospel that we must not worry (Lk 12:29) – in other words, not to scatter our minds here and there.

Again, in a different passage He says: Happy are those poor in spirit (Matt 5:3), meaning that happy are those who never acquired any concern of this world in their hearts and are free from all earthly thoughts.

Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022 AD): [traditional attribution] The Three Ways of Attention and Prayer Translated from Greek by Demetrios S. Skagias @ Myriobiblios.

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