Wisdom and Insight in Desert Hesychasm

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The Apostle says God makes his mysteries known to the saints in all wisdom and insight (Ephesians 1:8).  Insightful wisdom reveals the union of all things in heaven and earth in Christ, the fulfilment of consummate completeness sealed by the Holy Spirit for the glorification of the saints.  Desert Hesychasm is a silent witness to the Spirit’s unceasing prayer of glorification, interceding ‘Abba,’ ‘Father’ in the midst.  Blessing the saints with God’s Name, wisdom keeps their hearts safe in the saving Name whilst insight unveils God’s enlightening presence in the midst, God’s unveiled Face of grace, unveiling the Face of Great Peace in the hallowing Name (Numbers 6:24-27; John 17;1- 26).  Desert elders impart the wisdom of the Name to purify and illumine the heart, raising hearts into the radiant presence of God’s unveiled Face, glorifying hearts in uncreated grace, revealing Great Peace in consummate completeness.  

Desert stillness lives wisdom’s hallowing of the Name as Christ’s hour of glory, opening profound insight into glorification ( John 13:1; 17:1).  Elders glorify God and God glorifies the saints in the completeness of this hour of glorification.  Hearts are sealed and illumined with the Name when Baptism lives the death of death and Chrismation beholds light from light and knows as it is known by God, blessing saints with Christophanies of glory.  Elders intercede for the saints but recognise that it is the Spirit’s unceasing intercession in the hearts of the saints which is decisive for glorification.  Insight into the Spirit’s ‘Abba’ sighs and groans is crucial if wisdom is to be full of grace and truth.  Insight sees deeply into the Spirit’s ineffable prayer of intercession and founds wisdom on the hallowed ground of the Holy of Holies.

Desert Hesychasm always remains grounded in the stillness of Great Peace, which is the hallowing glory of ineffable completeness.  It is this stillness that consecrates the heart and opens love’s awareness to the Father’s love of the Son and love’s presence to the glory of the Father in the Son.  It is God’s ineffable grace that shares the throne of glory with saints enthroned by glory, a throne-sharing which lies at the heart of the mysteries of glorification.  Christ became human so that saints may be deified, as Orthodox Fathers never tired of saying.  The reciprocity of Christ’s incarnation and hallowing deification is unveiled by the Name but it is the insight of wisdom that discerns the glory of the Name and sees with increasing insight into the Spirit’s ineffable intercession which makes glorification possible.  

The Name communicates God’s actual presence but objectifying language cannot grasp this, so is silent in the Face of the completeness its glory.  This is what makes Hesychasm truly ‘hesychast,’ marked by stillness, silent with awestruck wonder that the Name is ineffably revelatory.  Those who know and are known by Name are silent, because they know the Name cannot be spoken about like something that can be defined, observed or described.  The Name ‘I AM,’ ‘EHYEH,’ is not spoken of because to those who do not turn and see, it sounds and looks like blasphemy (John 8:58; Thomas Logion 13).  Stones are thrown when unconscious confusion projects confusion onto those who see.  Desert Hesychasm is still and silent because revelation of the Name demands it.  In order to hallow the Name, silence withdraws into stillness so that the Name is not profaned or taken in vain.

Nevertheless, Hesychast stillness is silent out of ineffable joy, not from fear of being misunderstood.  The Name is unutterable joy because the Name reveals God and by it, God is truly known.  To know God is to be known by God, which is ecstatic joy of eternal life.  Elders give thanks that the Name saves by God’s saving presence in his Name, not offering nominal or verbal salvation but actual, active release.  Wisdom is their joy, insight their delight, about which they cannot speak but for which they give unceasing thanks.  Elders glorify and are glorified in silence.  Saints know as they are known by Name.  They abide in stillness like a Sabbath Rest from accumulated information and self-interested ideology (Hebrews 4:14-16).  They abide in the glory of grace, the glory of the first personal Name, the glory of deifying presence, silent because speech cannot grasp what glory reveals.  

The Name reveals the Father through the Son, but insight into the wisdom of the Name is the Spirit’s glory, which the Spirit reveals through the Son, to the glory of the Father.  The Name is ineffable presence, presence of glory awakening ineffable wisdom.  Stillness is silent out of unutterable joy and inexplicable gratitude, not because the completeness of wisdom lacks anything.  Elders are silenced by the glory of the Name, although wisdom’s insight into glory deepens to the degree that glorification yields up its mysteries.  The ‘powers that be’ contest the reign of the Name, so elders pray that the Name will save from the deceptions of confusion and separation.  Wisdom endures because insight discerns union from confusion and communion from collusion, blessing all who abide in the Name of glory.  Hesychast silence speaks in the midst of stillness, unveiling the beauty of holiness.

Desert Hesychasm preserves many mysterious ways to communicate what cannot be said, many ways if showing what speech cannot grasp.  This is wisdom’s culture of graced insight, without which the tradition would be utterly bereft of wisdom.  Heart vision is throne vision without which glorification would be deaf, dumb and blind.  The grace of the Name unveils the oneness of all who awaken to the Name.  The Covenant of the Name is the Covenant of Great Peace, awakening hearts to the bond of peace that holds hearts together in God.  The Name contains a Covenant Oath that God will abide in all who abide in God.  Its glory promises presence will wed awareness as glory conjoins with wisdom.  The promise at the heart of the Name is always faithful and true.  

Wisdom turns and sees the still point at centre, the heart of the co-inherent dance of uncreated and created energies as the frenzied world flees from distraction to distraction, grasping at dissipation as it tries to avoid the uncreated void.  Glory in the beginning and glory at the end are always present here at centre where the Name as glory weds wisdom.  The Name is glory before the beginning and after the end, here, where revelation opens created humility to uncreated simplicity, God’s simplicity to God’s humility, which can always be trusted.  Stillness is most eloquent when its silence enfolds all opposing energies as it crowns all glory and crowns open glory to God. 

The Covenant of Great Peace holds differences together so that they do not degenerate into divisions.  The Name keeps safe those whom it saves, dissolving the division between safety and salvation.  The insight of wisdom confirms the wisdom of true insight, rooting the wisdom of the Name in the glory of presence.  The holiness of the Name ensures the ineffable union of all who abide in the Name.  Desert Hesychasm abides in the wisdom of insight, so as to hallow the Name aright in sound glorification, renewing insight with wisdom and wisdom with insight in the glory of ineffable completeness.