The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [21]

Here, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.

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Translating the expression into the next phrase, Symeon says that the pauline verse is an encouragement for those who see in themselves the Ghost, which burns and gives light to them[1], and not a moral exhortation without coverage in our being or a reference to an inner reality, that is only a mental projection.

But his opponents consider the theological confession of Symeon right a blasphemy, because, in their conception based on Jn. 1, 18, ​​God is unseen to the faithful[2].

The symeonian citations lead to a contrary result, reaching to the conclusion that the Gospels speak about the sight of God and the sight of God is on the measure of power (dunato.n) of man to see Him[3].

Proper with Mt. 5, 8, Acts 5, 4, Jn. 14, 21 and I Jn. 4, 20, Symeon shows that where is the purity and the exactness keeping of the commandments, there is and the sight of God, where comes the perfect love[4].

Because we have a section where we analyze the relation between Baptism and ecstasy, where we will achieve the distinction – more evident at Symeon – of what we receive in Baptism and what we receive in ecstasy, we will remain in the sequence of our work only to substantiate the spiritual reality of our birth in Christ.

In the Ethical Discourse 8, taking into account the indwelling in us of Christ and of the Ghost, of the Trinity at Baptism, Symeon presents our spiritual birth conscious, produced by a dro,soj ouvra,nioj (heavenly dew)[5], namely the love of God united with an ineffable light (avrrh,tw| fwti.), that is falling in spiritual face, alike a lightning in our hearts and becomes a beautiful pearl[6].

The pearl of God’s love will grow in us daily, by renunciation of ourselves and by fulfillment of the commandments, so that it will become a miracle of miracles (qau/ma qauma,twn)[7].

In the allegory of the prisoner, where Symeon shows the difference in degree between ecstasy and the indwelling in Kingdom of God, he states that the ecstasy, „this rapture of mind  (a`rpagh. tou/ noo.j) is not of the perfects (telei,wn) but of the beginners (avrcari,wn)”[8].

The output to the light (from the prison of the God’s  unsight) or the sight of the first ecstasy means the first making contact with the glory of God.

But to see the light is not perfection but the beginning of perfection, because perfection means sitting unceasing in God’s glory.

Exactly therefore, Symeon is talking about increasing the opening in this allegory, of ovph.n, the increasing light that begins to see that which purifies the passions, situation in that „the growing habit (h` sunh,qeia) with the light’s sight erases that small wonder[9] of the initial ecstasy.

The spiritual growth supposes the experimental understanding of the fact, that „there is something else more perfect and higher than the state (katasta,sewj) and this sight (qewri,aj) [10], than the first ecstatic that we’ve had.

The sight of light ever more increases our inner repulsion towards the dark prison (th.n fulakh.n) of the mind, which does not see the light and, in this situation, we support with great heaviness the conviviality with our deprivation of His glory[11].

But the first ecstasy that we had is the foundation of spiritual life, is the beginning of the spiritual life, as personal relation, conscious with God.

In the absence of ecstasy, any self-moniker that spiritual man or charismatic father is a fictionalisation of our own interiority and an insolent and disgusting personal affirmation, in the face of those who know, in authentic mode, these divine realities.

Just therefore Symeon called the first ecstasy „a beginning of those what are introducing in piety and that now  (a;rti) were stripped (avpodusame,nwn) for the struggles of the virtue”[12].

 The adverb a;rti, which uses it Symeon in the phrase cited above, translates, without equivoque in romanian language, with: right now, just now.

Symeon used it intentionally in phrase, because, in our opinion, he wanted to indicate the concomitance between the incipient purification of passions and the ecstatic sight.

When we get in real mode, and not imagined, cleanse us from passions in some degree, we come to see the light of God, as a fast ecstasy, unexpected.

Our erminia is not an enforcement of the symeonian text. Because Saint Symeon continues by saying, that after this qewri,an, after our spiritual birth into consciousness (for that we to be proper to the symeonian style) follows „[long] years without return (avnepistro,fwj) at that sight”[13].

[1] SC 129, The Ethical Discourses, V, 82-83, p. 86 / Ică jr. 1, p. 250.

[2] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, V, 83-90, p. 86 / Ibidem.

[3] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, V, 106-107, p. 86 / Idem, p. 251.

[4] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, V, 108-135, p. 86-88 / Ibidem.

[5] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, VIII, 79, p. 206 / Idem, p. 301.

[6] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, VIII, 79-82, p. 206-208 / Ibidem.

[7] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, VIII, 82-92, p. 208 / Idem, p. 301-302.

[8] SC 122, The Ethical Discourses, I, 12, 338-339, p. 296 / Idem, p. 160.

[9] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 12, 365-369, p. 298 / Idem, p. 161.

[10] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 12, 375-377, p. 300 / Ibidem.

[11] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 12, 413-415, p. 302 / Idem, p. 162.

[12] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 12, 416-417, p. 302 / Ibidem.

[13] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, I, 12, 418, p. 302 / Ibidem.

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