The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [32]

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, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.

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2. 4. 2. 2. The Ecstasy During His Noviciate[1]

The text that we find in Catechesis 16, 78-107[2], which relates the sight of a young brother of the monastery, it constitutes in the second ecstatic description, that we analyze here.

Saint Symeon anonymizes again his own experience, he had at 28 years, as a novice at Studion, putting it on account of a young man. Niketas will describe it in Life, 19, as the third of his ecstasy[3].

The confession begins with the habit of the young man to pray. He fulfills the commandment of his Holy abbot to pray with the prayer: „Holy God” [78-79 lines].

The fulfillment of the commandment to pray is immediately rewarded by God, for that the young Symeon was moved „towards tears and towards divine longing”, the fact that brought to him an interior joy (cara,n) and a pleasure (h`donh,n) immense [80-82 lines].

The antechamber of the sight is again the prayer. But at this time the prayer is joined with a state of joy, the spiritual impetus and confidence in God, namely is animated by a sensation resulting from the atmosphere of repentance, that we found it and in the ecstasy previously analyzed.

It is seen the increase of young novice in this description.

The young man, being with his face to the ground [82-83 lines], into a state of adoration of the Trinity, is again invaded by the divine light.

Introduced by the adverb ivdou. – that expresses, in this case, the huge surprise, the unexpected ecstatic – the symeonian confession tells us, first, about a fw/j polu. (more light), that shines his mind, taking the mind wholly to it, along with the soul [83-85 lines].

This divine light shines upon him as and the first description.

Symeon used e`pila,myan, ie the same formula as the first time, showing that the light which shone upon him, this immense divine light was seen by his mind and the sight of it nailed the mind and his soul in its contemplation.

Using the verb lamba,nw into a such context, with the meaning of rapture, seizure, taking is strategic for Symeon.

The insinuation in text of this verb keeps to clarify the fact, that the soul prepared by longing and love by God does not oppose resistance to the divine light, at its sight, but, rather, it is captured to the full by its presence, then when it is revealed by God.

A false-spiritual discussion, better said an intellectualisttheological one, of the report between grace and freedom in the frame of the ecstasy, ceases to exist by itself in the symeonian theology.

One who expects with longing God’s mercy, namely His sight, does not think in terms of equity, of the counter-value the God’s presence in his life, but the divine condescension as light is received with an impressive opening, beingly, by his own person.

The light is not violent with Symeon’s freedom but it guarantees the authenticity of its beingly expression, for that the perception of the light in his being is more than he could have ever imagined, that means the divine mercy.

The light reveals not a rationalist, atheist or gnostic mind,  who prefers a God built by the computer of mind or the absence of the Being creative, but a mind full of longing, of waiting to the Loved One.

Symeon confirms into all this direction of thought, because, he says: „the unexpected of wonder filled me with wonder and made ​​me to be like into an ecstasy” [85-86 lines].

The sight filled Symeon not with disorder but with wonder, the supreme admiration that human beings can achieve.

That the light was perceived as a miracle is a evidence in the opera of Saint Symeon. From the symeonian theology resulting in express mode the fact, that did not exist a greatest miracle in his life than the sight of the divine glory.

The e;kstasij was real for Symeon. Particle w`j, from the phrase anterior regiven, has not at Symeon the dubitative character but, we believe, rather that he puts, through the intermedium of it, the equal sign between sight and ecstasy.

The sight of the light which he lived it is an ecstasy, is an output by itself, ie that state, evoked more above in other words, when the soul was captured by the sight of the Most Holy Trinity’s light.

[1] We punt in this context on the emphasis that makes the Metropolitan Basil Krivochéine in the starting note to Catechesis 16: „Dans la vision de la Cat. 16, il s’agit par contre d’un novice, vivant avec son père spirituel dans le meme monastère” [But in the vision of Catechesis 16, it is rather a novice, who lives together with his spiritual Father in the same monastery], acc. SC 104, p. 238, n. 3.

[2] Acc. SC 104, The Catechesises, 78-107, p. 244-246 / Ică jr. 2, p. 193-194.

[3] Acc. OC 12, II, 19, 13-23, p. 28-30 / Life, II, 19, ed. Iliescu, p. 34-35 / Life, II, 19, ed. Koutsas, apud. Ică jr. 4, p. 257.

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