The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [69]

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, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68.


The treating of sacramental reality of Baptism is not at Symeon one sweetish or relativistic from point of view dogmatic-theological.

The contrary, the realism of Baptism, the living experience of the real act of our union with the Ghost, is a characteristic of our whole life.

Symeon does not report at his personal past as to speak about Baptism. He reports at the Ghost from him, that attests the fact, that in his childhood he was baptized in Christ, that he was united with Christ and with the Ghost through Baptism.

The consequences of Baptism are quotidian for Symeon. In the same discourse quoted anterior, in the ethical Discourse 10, in the frame of polemic in going with a certain mentality incitizenly then and now in Church, Symeon says something surprising for those who see in fixed mode, non-dynamic, the action of the Holy Mysteries in our life.

He says that „not all the baptized receive through Baptism on Christ, but only those who have safe faith [veveopisti] and have prepared themselves in the perfect knowledge [en gnosi telia] or into an anterior clearing [procatarsi] and thus they came at Baptism”[1].

The instinctual reaction at the hearing of a such theological statement, based on the premise of static evidence of Baptism is an error, if we do not let Symeon to explain us until at end what he has to say in definitive about the feeling of the Ghost at Baptism.

For Symeon, the Baptism is not an act ended once with the otpust of service and the evidence of grace received then is interior one, overwhelming.

For our Father the Baptism is a real receiving and conscious of the Ghost in our being, ie of the interior dynamism overwhelming, that makes us extreme of enthusiastic and of vigorous in the experience of the ghostual life.

After how we have seen anterior, Symeon is not against the pedobaptism, but he confesses, without denial, the receiving of earnest of the Ghost through Baptism.

The phrase aforesaid of Symeon does not refer at the Baptism of the babes but at those who have matured in faith and who have received on the Ghost into consciousness, in ecstatic mode.

In the support of the conscious experience of the Ghost in our being, he brings right testimony A. Ap. 8, 14-17[2].

His commentary at this lucan text and at Gal. 3, 27 is that „just received the Holy Ghost, [those] have received on the Lord Jesus. For is not one Christ and something else the Ghost”[3].

Symeon does not propose us a renunciation at Baptism but a consciousness and a reliving of union with Christ through the Ghost.

The sight of light that emanates, gushes from the divine-human person of Christ, ie the ecstatic sight, is a reliving fully assumed, a direct reconfirmation, coming from part of God, of the earnest of Baptism.

The ecstasy does not replace the Baptism but acknowledges its extraordinary latencies, on the measure of power of faith, of the increase in faith and holiness of the believer.

But, in the measure in that the Baptism was received by us in babyhood and we parted without knowing, through our sins, of the feeling of the Ghost, the sight of divine light is not only a reconfirmation of the earnest received but it is refelt in personal mode as the first true knowledge of God.

Symeon emphasizes this thing of many times and we have shown this. Just therefore, he folds on the lucan text aforesaid, he emphasizes that the receiving of the Ghost into consciousness, in ecstatic mode, means of fact the full awareness, firm, that we have received on Christ and on the Ghost, that we have received the grace of Trinity.

And after what we have said all these, our underlinings at the text from 10, 324-328 its find their total ghostual transparency, because, as says here, only „those who have safe faith [veveopisti] and have prepared themselves in the perfect knowledge [en gnosi telia] or into an anterior clearing [procatarsi]”, fell, in evident mode, that they are inhabited by the glory of the Trinity.

The increase in grace and the ecstatic sight represent the safe faith, proven ecstatic, of which speaks us Symeon and the perfect knowledge is a fruit of the ecstatic sight, of entrusting, re-entrusting from part of God, that the earnest of sight and of eternal union with Him is in us.

From the moment when Symeon enters on evangelic terrain in the ethical Discourse 10, we assist at a tour of force citational in the support of conscious indwelling of Christ in us.

He cites Jn. 1, 1-5, for to show that God is everywhere through the light of His glory[4]. From Lk. 10, 22 results that the Son discovers Himself to anyone He wills[5] and from Jn. 1, 12-14 results that we become in real mode the sons of God through faith and Baptism, and that we can see the glory of God in our being[6].

[1] SC 129, The Ethical Discourses, X, 324-328, p. 282 / Ică jr. 1, p. 332.

[2] Idem,  The Ethical Discourses, X, 330-336, p. 282-284 / Ibidem.

[3] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, X, 342-344, p. 284 / Ibidem.

[4] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, X, 370-379, p. 286 / Idem, p. 334.

[5] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, X, 401-403, p. 288 / Ibidem.

[6] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, X, 419-425, p. 290 / Idem, p. 335.

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