4 November 2006
In our course heading enter three technical terms, expositive, which should begin lecture today.
First, most often interpretable and revile word, is that of Theology. Although we wanted to enter directly into mystical terminology, we must insist that in this preamble, these three terms.
So, first, what is Theology from point of view of Saint Parents of Church? It’s easy to say that in terms of language, the word is accomodation after Old Greek, a translation to the letter and that means: Speech / word / discourse about God.
The term does not explain anything but the content of Theology. That is why it is interpretabil to peak. We have in the same time Roman Catholic theology, Muslim theology, Hebrew theology etc. Anyone who feels entitled, by deceit, of course, is to affirm that he makes theology.
From the Orthodox point of view, of orthodox accuracy, that is trenchant orthodox, without ambiguity [as we say up to this level] to make Theology or to write Theology means talking about the reality of God because you shared it. Theology, however, much attention!, is not rational, nor can be rationated.
As something to be rational, in common sense of the term means to have a connection with our way of thinking. If we see that something is recurrent, that something is repeated, that there are some laws in repetitive nature, in us and that there is something in a certain way, because all our human history has seen that work in that way, it means think that something in mind the limits of reason.
But God is not a reality, an object or a person to whom we can reach with our mind. If anyone imagined a God and begins to pray to what they think and believe that God is, we say to them that’s imagination. But God can not be imagined or understood with our mind. If it would be so, if knowing God with our mind through our own thoughts, would mean the knowledge of God, then Theology becomes literature, philosophy, a part of culture but not revelational foundation of the Church.
But this speech about God, which the word Theology proposes, does not mean: I read about God, so I know who God is and I think I am great, but speaking of God, who speaks with accuracy, clearly, in real mode about God, is the one who saw God. The problem sight of God is the subject of our discussion in this course.
But to reach to the essence of the problem and to pass through such ecstatic terminology we should discuss the reality of the word mystic. We already have a Theology, which is not a creation of our autonomous mind, but who is mystical. This Theology, which is a big secret to us at this time, is mystical, namely mysterious. Mystic is also a Greek word. In Old Greek, when something was μυστικος [we are dealing with an adjective] means that we are dealing with something that is mysterious, deep, kept in with something that is intimate. I prefer the title of intimate [a Latin word], which means the most deeply held from our being, our most deeply being.
If we make Theology or someone who makes Theology means that doing something which is his most deep love. Theology is mystical in Saint, in the spiritual man who writes Theology, because that is his most deep experience. And so, one that gives theological books to light, does nothing else but to give from the heart of the most beautiful and sacred love, feeling and thinking of him.
Hidden Theology, which is mystical. A speech about the God of those that you live in the depths of your heart. You say these of your life with God. You give testimony of those who are mysterious, intimate, inward, you discover from your God.
When we talk about Theology and put it next to her mystical adjective actually we talking about a personal knowledge of God, which comes to us from Saints, who have confessed their intimacy with God.
If St. Apostle Paul was pretending he didn’t had time and not writing any letter, and if St. Irineus of Lyon that it was not care or St. Simeon New Teologien did not confess anything to us about his mystical experiences, meaning hidden, we would not know anything about living Saints. We would have thought that these people feel like us, think like us, they act like us, and they are not doing too many things.
But we are talking today about the Mystical Orthodox Theology it was need that they, our Parents and Saints, that we love so much, write for us their mystical experiences. If they did not write, we would have lost the subject of our course. If all the Saints would be quiet and would have thought all of them that they are humble, sinful, incapable in everything, we would not know anything about God.
The work has not occurred and we are blessed with the most possible, because we have all the things in the computer, a giant library and we don’t know how rich we are, that we are very-very-rich.
We have Theology, this is mystical and we have a third unknown, namely the apellative of orthodox.
Again it’s easy to understand that ορθοδοξος in the Greek language, in ancient Greek, which means the one who glorifies / lauds right or rightfully. But the title of Orthodox does not tell us anything about what it means actually.
Mystical Theology, hidden, about whom we said it is also Orthodox, ie is full of right, it’s really exciting experience, or is the experience of one who is living right / holy, who has a deep-sea relationship with God, who can speak any time. Of course, if he want to talk about it. If anyone has it, can talk about it.
When we talk about ecstatic terminology, we refer to the terms that are designating our hidden experience, to our spiritual experience. One of the most current terms is the ecstasy.
And this word comes from Greek and means changing status / exit from itself. When we have a εκστασις, namely an ecstasy, something intimate is happening with us, so intimate, that what we see is totally different from any other experience we had before. Ecstasy is something that is-with-everything-otherwise, which we can not imagine it with all our efforts, if God doesn’t give us to have one.
Synonym with ecstasy and which means its contents is the word θεορια [also Greek], which means contemplation / sight. If ecstasy means, in the morphematicaly terms, left / besides στασις, namely state, the current state of human, θεορια means the sight of God, the sight of the glory of God. In the Romanian language, if you tell ecstasy or you say the spiritual vision, in definitive, you say the same thing.
Usually I prefer the sight/ vision, because it indicates that we have something that we’ve seen, that we have experienced, that it is a reality to which we arrived. Besides these two terms, we have αποκαλυψις [all Greek], which indicates a discovery / a revelation / a sight happened in our inner. If the last book of Scripture is called Revelation, this is because it is a book of divinely views, discoveries.
We have so far ecstasy, sight / contemplation and discovery: three words, to reach to talk about the purpose of God. When a Romanian says vision, it concerns the divinely sight, the ecstasy. But vision is not a halucination, an illusion, a phantom.Vision does not mean dream or unforeseen occurrence, in the form of specific apparence before us.
For us vision is a discovery of a capital truth from God. And especially, the vision does not come because I want, but because God wants this. We can not, therefore, to have scheduled visions or ecstases.
We, however, distinguish between vision and ecstasy. If when we talk about a vision, we talk of a series of ecstatic events, which God reveles to us (example: the vision of bones, cf. Eze. 37), but when we talk about ectasy or spiritual vision most often we indicate the view of divinely light, id the ecstatic sight.
But we have not reached to the exhaustion of the ecstatic terminology. Because not to turn our course into something boring (I refer to those who are not dealing all day with it), we will analyze other terms when we discuss the text as such, related to discoveries, ecstasis and visions.
Self-killing as life is the third point of today disertation and this part is, in direct mode, in relation with the mystical experience. In Mat. 16, 24, the Lord speaks about of renunciation, about disunion of yourself, about the old man from you, and about taking the cross, of askesis for the cleaning of passions, talking about the death of the man, that is ressurection for him. Cleaning from passions is own death, for our old self.
To become a new man, you must no longer be the one who you were. The cleaning we talk about, is not a random movement in our lives. Ascetic life, life involving fight with our passions can not be done unless you have the grace of God, if you do not stay in His Church and if you do not have in focus, in your prospective, the reaching to the light of God, to His sight.
Our killing of the old man, of our passinons is unique and is the only way to life, to view, to holiness. So, if you stay at the table with his hand to head and dream that to reach a well after dying, this does not mean progress. Progress means to die for the past, to be living by grace, to God.
If you do not die with your whole being to the passed then you have great problems of understanding the spiritual life. For instance, if we want to stop cursing today, but we do not want to start and fast today, then we shall observe that both virtues are in inner connection in our life.
If it seems to us that we should only fast and praye and make worship, but should not read spiritual books, to confess and to take Holy Sacrament then we are goind in retrogression, we think we have became very smart, we will look with the wicked eye to these who enjoy and we will be sad.
That is, if we do not want to die with our minds, and feeling, and willingness, and our body for past, we will not be able to fully enjoy, completely, the joy that God reserve one of those who are cleaning their heart from passions. And everyone knows that in Mat. 5, 8, only those with clean heart, only them, can see God.
The thing about death that makes us alive, it is not either so simple. In our belief nothing is as simple as it seems. In fact nothing is as simple as it seems. But the weight of looking at the reality, in appearance, is following the lectures.