The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [27]

Here, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.

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For Symeon, the faith can not be a real one if it has not a touch with the grace. He says, in trenchant mode, that „can not [even] be called faithful in accomplished face (pisto.j telei,wj)…[that who] does not receive the Ghost of God”[1].

Bringing in support of this assertion Jn. 4, 14, Jn. 7, 39 and I Pet. 2, 22, Symeon shows that the Lord Himself testified the presence and the interior sensation of the grace in our being, in so that, „if That one says that the Ghost is given (dido,nai) those who believe in Him, all those who have not (mh. e;contej) the Ghost are not believers from the heart[2].

Symeon asks the sensation of the grace, sensation that means a personal relation, real, of the orthodox faithful with God.

The personal faith must to be the interior foundation where experience occurs the glory of God and where the spiritual growth is a personal evidence and not a simple supposition with traditional character.

Faithfulness to God, for Symeon, is not measured in ascetic deeds and not in acts of the exterior presence in the Church of God, but in revelation of God to us, in ecstatic revelation, as an expression of our right living in His face.

Just therefore, „if anyone says that each of us, the faithful, received Him [the Ghost] and has Him in insensitive face (avnaisqh,twj labei/n), that one blasphemyes (blasfhmei/)”[3] against Christ, Who said that we feel the grace of the Holy Ghost in our being[4].

The sight of the divine light is the beginning of the sensation of the grace.

In symeonian theology, the sight of the light, as beginning of our relation, conscious and real, with God, is the foundation of the spiritual life, without thereby to diminish somewhat the Holy Sacrament of Baptism.

The Baptism presupposes the ecstatic sensation of the grace.

It is not contrary to the personal ecstatic experience, but this is a personal actualization, absolutely necessary, of the grace received at Baptism.

Light of the Trinity is a divine reality perceived by the believer, the believer that cleanses himself from passions.

Symeon says in express mode that thing: „no one from people could not ever see it before being cleaned, [and] can not receive it before seeing it. For many people saw it, but they have not acquired it (ouvk evkth,santo) [in stable mode], exactly with those who are worthy to see a large treasure in the royal treasures, but they go there with empty-handed.

Because, at many times, those who repent ardent (tou.j metanoou/ntaj qermw/j) it makes itself to them at beginning a divine brightness and a lighting (e[llamyij qei,a kai. fwtismo,j), but that quickly passes.

​​And if they give themselves entirely, up to death, and they will seek it with tiredness, depicting the Lord as worthy by it and without reproach in all, they will receive it again, in perfect face, when it will return”[5].

There is therefore a confirmation of repentance and of faith of the beginners from part of Trinity, then when they see the divine light and when they begin to feel in them, living and working, the Holy Ghost but there is and an increasing filling of our by Ghost, until the return of the divine light in us, as a quotidian presence.

The initial ecstasy makes us to see the endless treasure of the divine glory but this we does not have as stable wealth in our being.

Symeon uses the aorist kta,omai, preceded by negation, for to show that light does not enter into our definitive possession only because we saw it once or several times, and emphasizes through the adjective a;xioj, that the sight is not a gift of God, at which we have no personal contribution, but it is a worthiness/ a worthy gained by doing with longing of all His commandments.

But the most important message of the text quoted is, that the ecstasy is a confirmation from God of our faith and it is not an ensign that we put ourselves alone on the chest.

We are not those who declare ourselves believers, but God is the One who confirms our zeal and our faithfulness to Him.

The ecstasy is the first captured letter, the first shattering email from God, how that He saw our sincere zeal for Him.

But His sight must to turn into a living longing, acute in our being, for His sight in continuous mode, into a running full of love and hope, for only He is the single fulfillment and the eternal rest of ours.

[1] SC 129, The Ethical Discourses, X, 488-489, p. 294 / Ică jr. 1, p. 337.

[2] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, X, 448-500, p. 294 / Ibidem.

[3] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, X, 501-502, p. 296 / Ibidem.

[4] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, X, 502-506, p. 296 / Ibidem.

[5] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, X, 522-532, p. 296-298 / Idem, 338.

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