Sound grace is normative and pours out its wholeness freely to all without exception, but demonic deception seeks to undermine this from within by demonising what is sound, playing on fears of demonic deception in order to confuse what is clear and to misconstrue what is wholesome. But wholesome grace is sound and it is normal for grace to turn the light of awareness round and to unveil the light of glory in the midst. The demonic seeks to make out this is presumptuous pride by deceiving the saints into thinking they are special if grace turns their hearts and illumines their minds in the awakened heart. The demonic then tries to delude them into thinking that all who awaken to grace are actually presumptuous and proud, that they are deceived if they acknowledge the light and glory of grace. Elders always knew that demonic delusion is all lies, a scam from beginning to end, that demonic accusations are all designed to confuse and deceive, that demonic humility is sham complacency, that distrust of grace is demonic cynicism. But in an age when demonic scam is everywhere, it is impossible to discern truth from scam without wisdom, without the Spirit of truth, which is not sophisticated cleverness but sound discernment. Sound grace remains normative even in times of scam, because it is God who creates all that there is. The demonic can only confuse and divide, invert and deceive; it can never create or recreate.
Sound wisdom loves to share the glory of grace with all, restoring sound trust in what grace restores. Demons are trapped in unmitigated despair because they know that their deceptions are unable to undo sound grace and their accusations of demonic deception are unable to deceive anyone who loves the Spirit of truth and listens to wisdom’s voice. They live in terror of the wisdom of the Cross, fleeing its uncreated light and shunning its uncreated glory. Elders are aware it is desperately depressing for demons when the Cross of the Slaughtered Lamb embraces turned hearts and illumined minds, uniting mind and heart in the light and glory of God. But this is what sound grace does, and does for all who surrender to its blessing. This is not a special exception but normal for all who co-operate with the mysteries of grace. It is tricky for demons because all they can do is to lie and deceive, invert and confuse, for sound grace is always actually calling the tune. This trickiness does not, of course, stop them penetrating monasteries and churches, as the lives of saints decisively prove, because they are full of accounts of demonic attacks and the insinuations of demonic deception. But it would be quite wrong to think that demonic deception is the norm, because it is in fact always held in check by the Cross of uncreated grace. Fear of deception does not agree, of course, because it conceals jealous envy of those who turn and see. This may sometimes wreak havoc in monasteries but never extinguishes the efficacious energy of sound grace.
Sound grace calls the tune even when demonic deception is accusing grace of being demonically deceived, even when demonic confusion is causing diabolical division. Monastic gossip loves to spread rumours of falls from grace and falls into deception, which is why saints like Theophan the Recluse withdrew into solitude to retain sound trust in the wholesomeness of grace. Gossip and envy can wreak havoc in monastic communities but grace remains grace, grounding the glory of grace in sound wisdom. There have always been temptations due to demonic insinuations and accusations, but saints bear witness to the vanity and vacuity of these subtle strategies and parodies. In the end, grace wins through, because the Cross of Glory is decisive, which is why the Cross is hated by all spirits of darkness. There is nothing new about any of this, nothing original about the subtlety of pride. In fact, demonic spirits are not only utterly boring but are themselves utterly bored by their own inability to come up with anything real, anything actually new. Demonic scams scam bored scammers as well as the scammed, endlessly repeating lies that lie about lies, supporting lies with lies. By contrast, wisdom renews all things, because the uncreated is always creative, always surprising in its wondrous capacity to make all things new. Sound grace grounds renewing wisdom by sharing the glory of grace with all, dissolving the confusion and division which the demonic spawns. This wisdom exposes the pretensions of demonic deception, ensuring that the Spirit’s openness of wise insight embraces the sure foundations not only of sound glory, but also of sound grace.