Pride and Grace

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When pride arose, Saint Silouan the Athonite was given self-condemnation to hell without despair, initiating Saint Sophrony the Hesychast into holy self-hatred with trust in the grace of the Name to save.  From the perspective of negative asceticism, wisdom appears to be pride and is condemned together with pride.  Whilst pride is arising, wisdom is indeed providentially hidden and so are the mysteries of glorification.  But to the extent that grace is trusted, the grace of illumination begins to cure vainglory and pride, freeing wisdom to discern the glory of grace and glorification humbly to partake in the glorification of Christ.  However, whilst negative asceticism is initially crucial to cure pride the grace of illumination must remain hidden, with the mysteries of glorification concealed in the Holy of Holies.  But self-condemnation to hell is not despair, which is condemnation to hell, but trust in the grace of the Name to save.  The Name saves by curing vainglory and healing pride, freeing the grace of illumination to empty the hells of pride.  The grace of liberating illumination opens the awakened heart to freedom in the Spirit, enabling wisdom to discern the glory of grace.

When the mysteries of wisdom and glory begin to be revealed, pride begins to dissolve as wisdom dawns, and vainglory liberates into right-glorification.   Wisdom is no longer confused with pride when vanity no longer defines glory by reducing glory to vainglory.  The grace of illumination clarifies confusion as it heals division, regenerating the mind in the heart by opening the eye of the heart.  Without this awakening, wisdom and glory are hidden with Christ in God, concealed from ambitious scrutiny.  Hidden mystery preserves the Name from being taken in vain, which vainglory does and cannot help but do.  Grace hides when pride is present, because pride is presumption that turns grace into self-inflation.  But if grace is humbly trusted, it illumines the heart, transforming pride into wisdom and glory into right-glorification.  Liberating vanity into glory, wisdom discerns the glory of illuminating grace, enabling wisdom, with glory, to be revealed.  Holy self-hatred is thereby completed by wisdom whilst trust in grace transforms vainglory by extinguishing its vanity and releasing its glory.

Pride is dissolved by the grace of uncreated light, as vainglory is cured by the grace of uncreated glory.  Realms of grace and glory heal vainglory and pride to the degree that the mysteries of wisdom and glory are unveiled.  It is not self-interested asceticism that cures pride but the grace of illumination, which liberates asceticism from self-interested pride.  Self-condemnation to hell is self-obsessive pride if it refuses the grace of genuine illumination, because it has confused it with pride.  What purifies the heart is the uncreated light of genuine illumination that restores wholesome right-glorification.  So, to the degree that grace is embraced without presumption, wisdom is humbly welcomed without pride.  The witness of Saint Silouan the Athonite is the wisdom of unselfish love, embraced by Saint Sophrony the Hesychast as the wisdom of love’s ineffable glory.  For both saints, vanity and pride transmute into wisdom and glory when the grace of illumination is trusted, transfiguring despair.  Glory cures vanity by releasing wisdom from concealment, regenerating hallowing right-glorification at the heart of Holy Orthodoxy.