Friday, September 26, 2008

Pt. 6 HYMNS OF DIVINE LOVE by St. Symeon the New Theologian

"Consider then carefully about what kind of light I am speaking to you.
I do not mean the light even of faith nor that of works,
nor of repentance, nor at all of fasting,
nor of poverty nor of wisdom nor of knowledge,
not even that of teaching.
None of these is the light or the radiance of the light
of which I speak.
Nor is it exterior piety nor a humble and poor attitude.
For all of these are actions and the fulfillment of the commandments,
if they are done properly and carried out as
the Creator Himself orders.
Tears pour forth in many different ways
and they are either very profitable or rather even harmful
to such a point that they in themselves are totally without value...
And this is why we say that nothing of all of these virtuous actions
is called the light.
Even all taken together as one, all the actions
and virtues in a block are not the divine light...
they are like a lamp having no light.
For just as we cannnot say that the coals alone are the fire
and even more so that the wood is the live coal or flame,
so likewise neither the complete faith nor works
nor actions nor the observance of the commandments
are fire, flame, or the divine light.
For they really are not these things.
But that they are able to receive the fire,
approach the light and be illumined by an unspeakable union,
all of this is praise and glory of virtues.
And for this reason all asceticism and all these actions are
accomplished by us in order to share in the divine light as a lamp does.
For like a single candle, so the soul projects all of the virtuous actions
towards the unapproachable light,
or rather, as a papyrus is plunged into the burning candle,
so the soul, bulging with all the virtues,
is completely set on fire by the light,
insofar as it is capable totally of seeing it,
as it has a place to lead it into its house.
And then the virtues illuminated from intimate communion with the divine light
are they themselves called also light,
or rather, they themselves are the light, having become melded with the light.
And they reflect brilliantly the light on the soul itself
and also the body; and they illumine truly first him who possesses them
and then all those others living in the darkness of life.
Enlighten us in Your Most Holy Spirit, O Christ,
and make us heirs of the Heavenly Kingdom
with all Your Saints, now and forever, amen."

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