Way of glory: truth and life

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Wisdom bears witness to the way of glory, inspired by the Spirit’s insight into luminous truth, glory of undying life.  Desert wisdom has always known that the pure heart sees nothing but God in the midst, embracing transfigured creation off centre.  Both Testaments unveil the Name but it is wisdom that unveils glory when the Name is hallowed.  The kingdom of God is a reign of glory in Old Testament prophetic theophanies,  illumining the heart.  The New Testament revelation of the saving Name opens the eye of the heart to ‘I AM’ in glory, apostolic tradition imparted from elders to saints inspiring glorification.  Ethnic religion narrows the scope of revelation to shallow conventions which distance glory and dumb down wisdom, sustaining cultural identities in place of transfiguration.  But Holy Scripture cries out to hearts, “Turn and see,” renewing prophecy in elders that awakens saints to the Name.  

Wisdom awakens to the way of glory, truth lived as transfiguring grace.  Wisdom’s way of glory is direct, transcending conditioned ways and means, which cannot help leading out and away.  Wisdom opens directly into God through God at centre, transfiguring awareness of transfigured presence, wisdom directly aware of glory present in the midst.  Separation refuses to embrace the divine immediacy of this, rejecting the fire of presence and the light of awareness, preferring dualistic beliefs and binary thoughts that preserve confusion and conserve division.  But fallen powers of separation cannot stifle the wisdom of awareness, nor quash the glory of life-giving presence.  

Worldly powers try to interfere between wisdom and glory, desiring to obstruct their union and communion, but wisdom beholds glory without interference, upholding without obstruction the glory of God.  Wisdom is aware of the presence of glory wherever the Holy Name is hallowed.  Awareness is always aware of the glorious presence of ever-present awareness even as wisdom is always aware of glory in the midst.  The way of glory is living truth handed on from elders to saints to restore all worlds in God through God.  The Name is glory’s way of opening truth to eternal life in God through God, restoring all life to glory by the grace of God.  Light from light restores true God to true God, even though conventional Christianity has not yet caught up.  The kingdom is at hand until glory comes and darkness bears witness to light.  The light of life is communicated by the Spirit of Truth, transforming partial glory into the expansive glory of ineffable completeness.  God is light, so this light is uncreated, as is the glory which illumines saints.

The light of glory is the very heart of the Gospel, not the juridical interpretations that define  different theories of atonement.  At-onement is complete as way of glory beyond all our attempts to catch up.  Our versions of truth and our attempts to live it both fall short of glory and fail to match up to glory’s way of truth and life.  Wisdom is witness to transfiguration at the heart of Holy Orthodoxy, an ineffable wisdom which transcends sense and reason, transfiguring all liturgical forms and icons with translucent glory.  The synoptic gospels purify the eye of the heart with parables whereas the Gospel of John illumines the heart with signs and ‘I AM’ theophanies, opening to the mysteries of glory and glorification.  

Wisdom imparts a disciplina arcana of sacred mystagogy which conceals what it reveals and reveals what it conceals.  The Name is unveiled but not profaned, transmitted but not violated.  Abundance of glory does not lead to presumption, nor profundity of wisdom to pride, because the Name undoes confusion and cures delusion.  It is the Holy Spirit who reveals true wholeness by opening hearts to the Paraclete, unveiling the light of glory in living flames of love.  Pentecost always reveals the mysteries of the way of glory to be mysteries of light and love, mysteries unveiled in kenotic self-emptying.  Christ empties himself in the midst always and everywhere, turning sight into insight when Pentecost opens light to glory, consummating illumination with glorification.   Glory transfigures by emptying us into Christ, who disappears from sight to awaken insight into his theophanies of glory in us.  There is no end to this Christly self-emptying, this turning or to this seeing, to wisdom’s insight into glory in the Kingdom come.

The remembrance of God is unceasing when the Spirit prays in the heart, but prayer of the heart was not originally confused with verbal prayers read out in church or cell.  Since not all had received the grace of unceasing prayer, audible prayers became the norm but were never intended to replace prayer of the heart or be a substitute for the remembrance of God.  Prophecy was never lost in the desert tradition of stillness because when elders spoke inspired words from God, the ineffable Word of God was welcomed and received.  Unceasing prayer remained the living inspiration of prophecy, grounding transmission of the Name in ineffable glorification.  Stillness welcomes the Name on the Day of ‘I AM,’ transforming silence into living prophecy and ordinary sight into vision of glory.  But when God’s wisdom comes to unveil Christ in glory, prophecy is silent and stillness sings.  The way glory sings unveils truth as light and life, prophecy stilled and ineffably luminous, awakening hearts to ineffable glory.

Yesterday, Wednesday November 27th 2019, the Feast of Saint Gregory of Sinai, Saint Sophrony the Hesychast was canonised by His Holiness, Bartholomew, Patriarch of Constantinople.  The canonisation of Elder Sophrony is an occasion of deep rejoicing among those who knew the elder and who have long known that his loving prayer for them was very far from dead and buried.  All who love Saint Sophrony’s elder, Saint Silouan the Athonite, give grateful thanks to God for the witness of both saints, whose inspiration we have witnessed and whose lives bear witness to the mysteries of grace that hallowed them.