The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [78]

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, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77.


2. 6. 3. The Holy Confession and the Interior Experience of Grace

Although we have tendency to evaluate only the Epistles 1 and 2 for to find the details related of the Mystery of Holy Confession in symeonian opera, however a detailed research of his opera demonstrates us, that Symeon presented not only the repentance as Mystery but and the repentance as component part of ascesis.

He speaks about contrition, about repentance as interior ghostual state both before, in and after the sacramental confession, antecedent to the impartation with the Holy Mysteries, present in us when impart us but and posterior of this real union with the Lord.

Symeon cannot have a vague consciousnessof proper sinfulness and nor cannot stipulate an  emancipation towards the sacramental act of the confession of sins, as long as, for him, the sin was a mortal virus, which affected our entire being and without the cleansing of sins cannot reach at the sight of God.

In the Hymn 34 he says with sorrow, that „those who have sinned led to corruption not only the body, but and itself their soul and…we are corruptible and with the body and with the soul, as some what are kept, in the same time, of the corruption of death understood with the mind [tu noitu tanatu], as well as the sin”[1].

But those who have sinned are we all, entire humanity, from which Symeon not excludes noway, but he sees as the most sinful among all.

The universalism of sin reclaim the universalim of personal soteriology[2] and the sight of sins is not only a rememorization of our faults but and a charism: „the soul that has begun to be kindled of the divine [grace] sees first in himself the darkness of passions [ton paton zofon] rising as a fume in the fire of the Ghost and sees as into a mirror the blackness produced in him by fume and he laments and feels that thorns of thoughts and the brushwoods of prejudgments ignite and premake perfect in ash[3].

For that the sin is entered in every fiber of our being, the cleansing power of grace is felt through repentance as that what regenerates us in total mode.

Saint Symeon is attentive at the consciousness of sin that we must have. He knew that we cannot cleanse us from sins, if we do not feel in our being the sin, if we do not know why must cast from us in real mode.

For that the feeling of grace is an interior presence, Symeon insists all just as more and on the interior feeling of sins, which are interior realities, palpable for our consciousness and not are some inventions of our proper fantasies or reminiscences of a mentality of darkish middle age.

The sins are interior presences and therefore, our Father draws attention on the fact of not to be disregarded to these fatidical presences for the health and our life: „you know, that those who do not repent and not guard exactly and with much fear His commandments, they will not have any avail, but God will punish them with much worse than on the pagan nations and the unbaptized.

Not deceived, my brethren, and no sin does not seem small and not to be despised by you, as and how would not make a such great harm for our souls. Because the grateful servants [of the Master, ie the Saints] do not know any difference between a small sin and a great sin, but, even if they fall only with the look or the thought or the word, they reckon that they fell from the love of God, thing that, I am convinced, is and true.

Because the one what cogitates a small thing in outside of the will of God and does not repent immediately, banishing the attack of thought, but receives and keeps this thought, this is reckoned sin, even if he does not know that this is a bad thing  [to men en agnia tu cacon ine tuto loghizete]”[4].

The scrupulousness opposite of sins of Saint Symeon is a divine charism, for that only the Holy Ghost can show you which are your sins with true, which is the interior abyss of your decadence.

Even if we do not know which are the sins and what is the sin in front of God and we do not know that we sin, the sin deepens in us in continual mode.

Our Father asks to take act, through repentance, about the real interior world of our being and there to call the Ghost of God, Which burns in integrality, as a divine fire, says Symeon, all the darkness of our sins.

From the knowledge of sins and from the complaint for them begin our preparation for the sacramental confession.

In the frame of the Mystery of Confession we must come with the complaint for our sins, with the pain for them and with the feeling of the immense longing after the forgiveness of God.

The finale of Catechesis 3 presents the repentance as on a continuous victory of personal falling and as deifying state for us, which is at the opposite pol of desperation: „wound towards death is all unrepentant sin [ametanoitos] and unconfessed  [anexagoreftos], as and the fact of to fall someone into desperation [apognosin], thing that keeps of the choosing and our volition.

For, if we would not be surrendered on ourselves to recklessness and desperation, demons could not do nothing against us.

But even and after what we were wounded [of sin], if we want, we can make us more brave and more skilful through a kindled repentance.

For the fact of to rise and to fight again after what they were wounded and they died is a thing proper to those very brave and courageous, worthy and full of all admiration.

Because to preserve us unwounded does not keep of us, but to be immortal and mortal keeps of us”[5].

The repentance is, at our Father, the interior coordinate of our ghostual manhood, the continuous victory over the personal fallings.

The longing after the forgiveness of God, whereof I was talking, is expressed here best, for that any victory over us from the part of demons is a motive in plus of interior mobilization, of raising and more virulent against of proper passions.

But, above of this, at Symeon, the repentance and the sacramental confession of sins (for that he never separates them), make us immortal, ie keep us in the glory of God.

In the Catechesis 4 Symeon emphasizes the interior presence of grace in the frame of repentance and the role of tears in personal salvation: all those of the cleansing of passions „works them the divine fire of the puncture together with the tears or, rather, through tears.

But without tears…no thing from these has not made and nor will be made sometime in ourselves or in any other. […] [For] without tears and without unceasing puncture has not cleansed ever any man or has made Holy or received the Holy Ghost or saw God or knew Him dwelling in him or he saw on This ever dwelling entire in his heart, without to be foreruned the contrition and the puncture and unceasing tears, gushing always as from a fountain, as to flood and to wash the house of soul and to bathe it in the dew and to cool the soul comprised and kindled by the unapproachable fire [I Tim. 6, 16]”[6].

[1] SC 174, Hymns, XXXIV, 36-40, p. 430 / Ică jr. 3, p. 204.

[2] Father Duşe said, into an article about the sight of light at Saint Symeon, that this „surprises suddenly the ontological minus of the human being in his separation of God, [but] and his integrity through the conscious and loving relation with God through the deifying grace”, acc. Rev. PhD student Călin-Ioan Duşe, The Sight of Divine Light After Saint Symeon the New Theologian [Vederea luminii dumnezeieşti după  Sfântul Simeon Noul Teolog], in The Theology [Teologia] IV (2000), no. 4, p. 118.

[3] SC 129, The Ethical Discourses, VII, 526-531, p. 194 / Ică jr. 1, p. 296.

[4] SC 96, The Catechesises, III, 249-264, p. 300-302 / Ică jr. 2, p. 48.

[5] Idem, The Catechesises, III, 347-358, p. 308 / Idem, p. 51.

[6] Idem, The Catechesises, IV, 439-452, p. 350 / Idem, p. 65-66.

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