Poetics of Prophecy

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When Jesus imparted the Name to the Apostles, he fulfilled the Logos of the prophets, revealing glory without vanity, glory free of self-interest.  In the Mosaic theophany of the Burning Bush, the Logos of God unveiled the Name, EHYEH, ‘I AM,’ and on Mount Sinai, EHYEH ASHER EHYEH, ‘I AM who I AM.’  The Johannine ‘I AM’ sayings, both with and without predicates, bear witness to the timeless truth of this primordial Mosaic revelation, unveiled anew to Elijah in theophanies on Mount Carmel and Mount Horeb.  Uncreated fire descended upon the altar to consume confusion on Mount Carmel whilst the whispered stillness of the Name dissolved division on Mount Horeb, so that when Elijah transmitted the Name in the desert, it was not profaned.  The sons of the prophets renewed prophecy and prayer on Mount Carmel, bequeathing the mysteries of the Name to saints over many generations.  On Mount Tabor, both Moses and Elijah bore witness to the theophany of glory unveiled in Jesus’ revelation of the glory of the Name ‘I AM.’  The transfiguring light of glory opened the disciples to God’s eye and God’s ear in the illumined heart, grounding Hesychasm in the primordial unveiling of the hallowing Name.  This transmission was renewed through the Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat, imparting the legacy of the prophets to the apostles.  The prophetic poetics of hesychia regenerated Orthodoxy by submitting to the uncreated fire that consumed confusion and breathing in the Name which healed division.  This hallowing legacy wedded uncreated with created energies in mysteries of glory, sustained by the wisdom of stillness.

The poetics of living prophecy never died, but was passed on from elders to saints from generation to generation, preserving the legacy of Moses and Elijah at the heart of the Prayer of Jesus.  This opened prophecy to the Name and prayer into the light of glory in each epoch, so that no age was left bereft of wisdom’s living witness.  Orthodox tradition was renewed at these living springs of glory in each generation, glory which deified the saints in every age.  The tradition was handed on within the Logos, as wisdom discerning glory, not by mere repetition of Scriptural texts and Patristic formulas.  It was transmitted as hidden wisdom which eye cannot perceive nor ear hear, wisdom that discerned in the Name inexhaustible dispensations of glory.  The primordial destiny of glory is nearer than near, because God in the midst is closer than close.  There is no way to Christ, because the Spirit, has never been anywhere else.  Grace unveils what was always already present and unceasingly awake in the Name.  No mystery of glory was ever acquired or achieved by ascetic effort alone, but no mystery opens without whole-hearted trust in the saving Name.  The mystery of synergy is intrinsic to every mystery, as is uncreated light of glory, without which no heart is illumined.

The poetics of prophecy is mystery also, co-inherent in the glory hidden with Christ in God.  The culture of glory is not sustained by theological reasoning but by poetic evocation, wisdom song that sustains the vocation of invocation in the desert cell.  The poetics of prophecy in the wilderness is not to be confused with poetic composition, although some poets do draw close to poetic prophecy on occasion.  The work of the Hesychast is not literature or poetry, but pure prayer, and the vision of awakened seers is not metaphysics but wisdom.   Meditation, or lectio divina, is a support for this vision, theoria, which is not confused with it but nevertheless is nourished  by it.  Metaphysics is dualistic even when it speaks of unity, which is why the desert steps back from metaphysics to abide in wisdom.  

Desert poetics is grounded in hesychia, stillness, because the Logos of the Name is not  theological definition but divine self-revelation, baffling the mind, plunging the heart into luminous silence.  Pregnant silences arise within as well as between words, just as pure prayer arises within as well as beyond verbal prayers.  If academic theology is not usually practiced in the desert, it is because mystical theology replaces it, breaking open to direct vision what the academy was thinking in the city.  The desert was not addicted to language although it never forsook the written word to show forth what was hidden in the Logos.   Hesychasm unbound the bonds of dualistic extremes, curing extremism that obstructed wisdom.  The desert did not divide time and eternity but lived the timely timelessness of the Name, completeness embracing incompleteness in every moment.   Elders addressed the issues of their day but did so within a vision that discerned the timelessness of eternal life in God.  The historicist character of most secular preoccupation with the times, is transmuted in the desert into a timeless care for all times.  Far from being a dualistic flight from time, the timeless in the desert was ever-present, the only time there ever was, embracing time past and time future.   Timeless contemplation purified the heart so that purity of heart sustained glorification.  To this day, prayer assimilates what prophecy transmits.  Prophecy employs a poetics of glory so that prayer can appropriate the foundational theophanies of Hesycahsm.  The dispensation of glory is wisdom’s form of life.  Wisdom is ultimately concerned with glory, which is her horizon and her home.  ‘What’ glory is, wisdom does not define.  ‘That’ glory is, wisdom beholds.