Mystical Union in Hesychasm

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God the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father to abide in the Son, so the union of the Father and the Son, which is the mystery of the Holy Name, is opened to us in God.  It is not something we observe from without; it is revealed through God, in God, from within.  Orthodox tradition sees the Patriarch Enoch as the prototype of theosis, the first exemplar of glorification, which the tradition calls an angelic estate.   EnChrist , Mt.Athos, 13th centuryoch is transmuted into an enthroned angel, vested with garments of glory, granted God’s knowledge of God, in God, through the Name.  In the Holy Spirit, we become one spirit with the Son, through whom we are one with the Father.  The Name ‘I AM’ is unveiled to us by the Son, who bears witness as ‘I AM’ to the Father, awakening us in the Spirit to ‘I AM.’  The Name is one, for ‘I AM’ is one, whether it be the ‘I AM’ of the Father, the ‘I AM’ of the Son, or the ‘I AM’ of the Holy Spirit.  The mutual reciprocal abiding of the Father and the Son is unveiled in the Holy Spirit as a co-inherence of ‘I AM’ in ‘I AM’ through ‘I AM.’  Holy Trinity is like a circle of perfect completeness, three hypostatic spheres reciprocally co-inhering as unifying completeness.  The graced metaphor of the sphere or circle is very important in Patristic wisdom because it informs the formless experience of divine filiation which lies at the heart of glorification.  “Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Psalm 2:7).  For here God says, I am I AM thy God.  Turn and see, for I, even I, am He who is, ‘I AM.’  The Father says: ‘I, I AM,’ inspiring prophecy of prayer as Logos.  The Son says, ‘Before Abraham was, I AM,’ (John 8: 58), opening prophecy to pure prayer as Logos.   The Spirit bears witness to ‘I, I AM HE,’ aniy aniy hu, unveiling three I’s, one ‘I AM.’  The Cherubic Hymn enthrones ‘I AM’ on high, for angels bear witness to aniy ehyeh at the heart of elohim, ‘I, I AM ‘ in the midst of gods by grace, who bear witness to God, revealed in his Name.

Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, revealed by the Son, received in the Spirit, because it is the Kingdom of ‘I AM’ enthroned in the midst, male conjoined with female, paradise come home, heaven on earth, spirit made visible, God made man.  Saint Maximus sees this unio mystica everywhere, for the epiphany of the glorified Son of Man bears witness to the theophany of God made man at every level of manifestation.  ‘I AM’ is alpha and omega, embracing Adam and Eve in paradise first and last, wedding heaven and earth, and formless with form from beginning to end, unveiling God in God through God.  Union with God is a name of the Name, for the ineffable oneness of ‘I AM’ is unveiled in the midst.  The light of ‘I AM’ is uncreated recreation of creation and the glory of ‘I AM’ is uncreated restoration of creation.   This is the foundation of Hesychasm, the experience of Saint Symeon the New Theologian, the legacy of Saint Gregory Palamas.  But it is the legacy of wisdom and the Name whenever hearts awaken to God, whenever truth is lived as wisdom’s way of eternal life, whenever the Name unveils its glory.  The ocean of ‘I AM’ is sheer release, unbinding what is bound into heaven’s boundless enlightening expanse, opening glory to glory.  But ‘I AM’ never sinks into confusion or disintegrates into division, holding steady in the midst.  If seeing is to see and live, the Name preserves the soul from drowning even as it opens beyond the soul into light and glory.  ‘I AM’ with names opens to all in God, holding steady in ‘I AM’ beyond names, in God beyond all.  The Name points back into God’s saving energy of glory, inspiring trust in the Name to save, imparting a practice of seeing which fulfils all ways and means.

Poverty of spirit opens to unceasing prayer of the Spirit in the awakened heart.  In the Eucharist we partake of God who partakes of us, ‘I AM’ co-inhering ‘I AM,’ for there is communion but not confusion, and there is real union but we are not consumed.  The Son is of one substance with the Father, and the Spirit incorporates us into this divine union by grace without confusion, absolving us of all division.  Between the ‘no way’ of confusion and the ‘no way’ of division, communion bears witness to union.  There is annihilation in union, but it is the annihilation not of difference but of division, the annihilation of confusion not of communion.  Prophets bear witness to union so that prayer can assimilate communion, rooting prophecy in glorification of patriarchs, fulfilled in deification of priests and kings.  Prophets and Apostles, elders and saints, appear to be male in a Patriarchal age, but all these male symbols are female in wisdom’s symbolism of the Church, the New Jerusalem, Bride of the Lamb.  The Shekhinah is wisdom, mother and bride of patriarchs and prophets, spouse of God’s Name, always already present within the Name itself as ‘AM,’ conjoined with God’s ‘I,’ when wisdom unifies the Name.  The Name ‘I AM’ is firstly a mysterium tremendum as the mystery of glory is unveiled to wonder, then a mysterium fascinans as wisdom raises wonder into glory, the extraordinary that is quite ordinary once wonder sustains wisdom.  The mystery is Cherubic in the Bridal Chamber of the Holy of Holies, unveiled in the Song of Songs.  Then it is Seraphic as the uncreated fire of the Holy of Holies consumes confusion and dissolves division in the living flame of the Spirit, piercing the heart with purifying fire, transfiguring the spirit with uncreated light, restoring creation to the glory of its original angelic estate.  Mystical union is wisdom’s sphere, the radiance of the Name, purifying the heart for glory, making brides of us all in the Holy of Holies.