The heart of living Orthodoxy is alive in the light of love, renewing the tradition from within as vibrant joy. Love of God is the way to God’s light of love, which is the reason elders transmit the mystical theology of the Song of Songs. Without the light of love, Holy Orthodoxy shrivels up, reduced to its external forms and nominal surfaces, incapable of anything more profound than ethnic cohesion. Indeed, in conventional orthodoxy, this cohesion sometimes even usurps the mysteries of Christ, leaving a religion of consolation bereft of transforming love. Love burns with a living flame that gives birth to light and glory in the Name, transcending conventional religion with purifying fire. Restraining regulations, however, can help to contain the uncreated energies of love when, for some, they burn too hot to bear, but more often they resist the light of love so that it is prematurely strangled at birth. Elders are obliged to manifest great discernment in this regard, given that the conventional centre of gravity normally threatens to drag them down to loveless outwardness. Saints who discern the light of love at the heart of Holy Orthodoxy, perceive a Song of Songs alive in the Holy Eucharist, freeing love to enlighten hallowing glorification of God. Love’s uncreated light enlightens Holy Orthodoxy so that, by grace, it is profoundly regenerated from within.
Holy love is sacramental in that whilst it embraces form, its glory radically transcends form. Hidden in the recesses of Holy Orthodoxy, this glory is actually God in act as uncreated energy, inspiring glorification of God that glorifies the saints. Without love, Holy Orthodoxy loses its light and becomes external form, bereft of inner transformation. So when love descends, as uncreated grace, to complete what ascending light was reaching for, but falling short, it transcends regulated form in ways that call for brave yet humble freedom. Monastic saints read Patristic commentaries on the Song of Songs, opening them to the experience of the Beloved Disciple in the Fourth Gospel, the Epistles of Love and the Book of Revelation. In more recent times, the Johannine tradition has rediscovered itself mirrored in the very ancient Odes of Solomon, where early Christian Hymns bear witness to the light of love as a Song of Songs. The Beloved Disciple remains hidden even though ‘his’ / ‘her’ wisdom has never ceased to nourish the heart of Holy Orthodoxy.
Uncreated light is, in fact, love, illumining the hearts of saints, leading way beyond the limitations of conventional human loves. Love empties all limitations as it transfigures from ascending light into descending glory, love’s glory unveiled in the Holy Name. Wisdom guards love’s glory, which is illumined glorification, until, by grace, saints begin to open to the glorious completeness of the stature of Christ. The Beloved Disciple bears witness to the stature of love’s glory in the Fourth Gospel, three Epistles of love and the Book of Revelation, inspiring countless saints over more than twenty centuries. Remaining hidden, yet revealing love’s glory in uncreated light, the Beloved Disciple bears witness to what love really means, what being ‘Beloved’ means and what ‘Discipleship’ really is in the light of the glory of love. Nothing intervenes between wisdom and the glory of love, because there is no separation when love unites without confusion or division. Both human yet by grace divine, saints live in Christ through the Spirit, to the glory of the Father. The light of love unfolds as created energies of love are deified, when the mysteries of glory are realised, when uncreated love descends to raise them from light to glory. Descent of glory weds ascent of light when the Holy of Holies unveils its hidden mysteries in the glory of the light of love.