Ascetic Name-Hallowing

      No Comments on Ascetic Name-Hallowing

The Lord’s Prayer bequeaths to desert ascetics the prayer of Name-hallowing, God’s God-centred glorification of God in Holy Trinity, lived as the self-emptying of God through God in God and as the self-emptying of the created into the uncreated in deification.  This Name-hallowing is the desert’s ascetical, reciprocating response to God’s self-emptying of the uncreated into the created in his holy incarnation.  The Lord’s Prayer frames the desert’s invocation of the Name of Jesus in the Jesus Prayer with Name-hallowing that glorifies God in realms of uncreated light in his Kingdom of glory.  The self-emptying of God, through God, in God the Holy Trinity inspires the ascetic practice of self-emptying glorification of God, right-glorification of God which is the living heart of Holy Orthodoxy.  Spiritual athletes or ascetics in the desert practice self-emptying glorification as Name-hallowing, taught them by the Lord’s Prayer.  The Name is mercy poured out in divine self-emptying, divine grace emptying into created being to deify it.  The Magnificat and the Beatitudes, together with the Lord’s Prayer, give glory to God as they deify us by hallowing the Name, awakening wisdom in the midst of glory.  They train in Name-hallowing as their ascetic path, their ascetic training, uncovering the truth of the Name by living a life of Name-hallowing, God’s God-glorifying glorification of God in Holy Trinity.

Jesus bequeaths Name-hallowing as his path of ascetic glorification of God, transmitting Orthodox right-glorification lived as ascetic practice and as mystical theology, revealing that there is no separation in right-glorifying Orthodoxy between mystical theology and ascetic practice.  The Path of Holy Orthodoxy is a Name-hallowing path for which the Name is the way as well as the theological truth and the hallowed life of God in his saints.  Desert elders, trained in Name-hallowing, bear witness in their self-emptying to the deified life of Orthodox right-glorification, lived in the image and likeness of God’s self-emptying glorification of God in Holy Trinity.  The wholeness of the Catholicity of Holy Orthodoxy is the wholeness of this integral ascetical and mystical theological life.  This Catholicity is far more than external universality and this spiritual asceticism is far more than negative ascetical rejection or renunciation, being the divine life of the hallowed Name at the heart of the Holy Trinity.  The wholeness is the wholeness of God lived divinely in God as right-glorification, God’s self-emptying glorification of God, which is the deifying life of Holy Orthodoxy.  The reason Holy Orthodoxy inspires an ascetical and theological path of self-emptying glorification is that this union and communion is the holy completeness that doxological Orthodoxy actually is, not an external religious institution with ancient imperial accoutrements, but Name-hallowing deification lived as glorification, hallowing God’s Name on earth with the doxological completeness that angels and saints hallow God’s Name in heaven.

Elders who let the Lord’s Prayer teach them what is involved in the Jesus Prayer, learn that invocation of the Name of Jesus is self-emptying glorification in the image and likeness of God the Holy Trinity.  They live the wholeness that the prophets and apostles handed on to the saints by practicing the ascetic discipline of Name-hallowing glorification.  They use words and concepts to communicate what Name-hallowing glorification is like, although they know words fall far short of wisdom’s vision of glorification.  They bear witness to wisdom renewing the degenerated imagination through prophecy and restoring glory to God through spiritual prayer.  The Lord’s Prayer hallows God’s Name with wisdom that gives profound insight, through the Jesus Prayer, into God’s self-emptying glorification of God in Holy Trinity.  The insight of wisdom sees as a whole what clumsy words can express with only the vaguest hints, which means that Holy Orthodoxy profoundly transcends its verbal creeds and doctrinal formulas as well as its outward ecclesial forms.  But wisdom’s insight into mystical, Orthodox Catholicity calls for the ascetic practice of insightful wisdom, without which its mysteries remain merely verbal formulas, not icons translucent with the transfiguring light of deifying glorification.

Name-hallowing glorification of God is God’s hidden life of Thrice-Holy glorification, glimpsed in Holy Liturgy and lived as Orthodox right-glorification of God in self-emptying love of God and neighbour.  The glory of love sustains a wisdom that discerns what words and concepts cannot comprehend, transcending external forms whilst including the completeness they express through glorification.  The ascetical practice of Name-hallowing glorification is God’s way of sharing the grace of Holy Trinity with his saints, some of whom function as elders who share the fruits of their ascetic training in the grace of the Name, imparting the principles of that ascetic training to spiritual athletes imbibing the ethos of Name-hallowing.  The spiritual path of Name-hallowing takes the Lord’s Prayer seriously, rather than merely repeating it by rote.  The invocation of the Name of Jesus deepens as it begins to hallow God’s Name in the midst, living the Spirit’s insight into Christ rather than holding Christ at a safe distance from the heart with mere belief.  The Catholicity of whole-hearted trust cures doubt by transmuting delusion into communion freed from confusion, freeing the heart from crippling fears of delusion, fears which fixate on avoidance of delusion instead of exercising liberating freedom from delusion.

The Lord’s Prayer, Magnificat and the Beatitudes turn Name-hallowing into an ascetic path of wisdom, wisdom that welcomes the reign of glory hidden in the Name.  This wisdom is neglected when wisdom is driven into exile, with the result that demonic fear moves in, keeping Name-hallowing at a safe distance by repeating the words of the Lord’s Prayer without heeding what they mean.  This occurs when the prayer of the Holy Spirit in the heart is overlooked and hallowing recognition, sustaining the remembrance of God, is disdained.  Hesychast elders remind the desert that such neglect is not a neutral occurrence but a deadly virus that spreads whenever the Lord’s Prayer is prayed by rote but not in the heart.  The fact that the Lord’s Prayer is a profound wisdom and an ascetic path is overlooked when it is prayed without attention to the Name-hallowing mysteries it enshrines.  The Name is re-veiled in preference to its revelatory unveiling whenever Hesychast wisdom is ignored and trampled underfoot.  The Lord’s Prayer is taught to children and repeated by adults without awareness of the mysteries of Name-hallowing, with the inevitable result that spiritual paths, if sought at all, are found elsewhere.

It is possible to possess a belief in God the Holy Trinity without any awareness that Holy Trinity is the truth and life of the way of the Name.  The Holy Trinity as way and path of the Spirit of Truth is overlooked when wisdom is despised.  A search begins elsewhere, anywhere but where the truth was lost, anywhere but where the truth is waiting to be found.  Even when elders point out the uncreated presence that the Name reveals and point to the uncreated awareness that abides as wisdom in the glory of the Name, the wisdom of the Lord’s Prayer still remains hidden, perhaps because its grace dazzles the analytic mind, perhaps because its self-evidence is too obvious for the grasping mind to notice.  The frenzy of the dissipated mind looks feverishly elsewhere, seeking the next seductive distraction, rather than turning round to see who sees.  Of course, nobody bothers to speak ill of the Lord’s Prayer because such disdain is already redundant when its wisdom mysteries are presumed to be non-existent.  Various varieties of oriental religion are assumed to be superior in every way, leaving the Lord’s Prayer neglected, a forgotten item on the shelves of nostalgic, childhood memories.

Name-hallowing wisdom is patient and kind, waiting in the hidden recesses of the heart to reveal its radiant secrets.  But without self-emptying glorification of God, brief glimpses of union are not followed up but permitted to become memories along with the clutter of the past.  Post-modern gurus offer quick-fix substitutes, deliberately rendering ascetic life redundant, turning spiritual eldering into a thriving business venture with enormous financial rewards.  The humble spirit of the Lord’s Prayer is usurped by competing commercial spiritualities, each of which eagerly strives to become addictive God-substitutes replacing the humble wisdom of Name-hallowing awakening.  None of this actually corrupts the wisdom of the Lord’s Prayer or undermines the saving veracity of the Holy Name, because the wisdom of blessing is revelatory and never ceases to partake in the grace of Christ unveiled by the Spirit.  Training in the discipline of Name-hallowing may be almost universally forgotten, except by the Magnificat, but the living asceticism of self-emptying glorification continues to bear witness to the humble wisdom of the Name, which empties delusion of its vacuity and cures fear of delusive falls with wholesome trust in God.  Name-hallowing ascetic glorification empties God-substitutes of their seductive lure by releasing them into hallowed blessing, as in the Beatitudes, freeing hearts to thrive in God’s humble self-emptying glorification of God, which is wisdom’s vision of the uncreated glory of beatifying love.