Rest in Peace

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Rest in peace usually refers to life after death but stillness, hesychia, even now rests in peace in the midst of life, transfusing it with the undying, resurrecting energy of uncreated grace.  The Spirit rests in peace in the Son, who rests in peace in the Father, revealing that rest in peace is the uncreated light and glory of the Holy Trinity, purifying, illumining and deifying the saints.   Life after death turns round into life in death to which saints bear witness and elders prescribe to purify the heart.  Eternal life is not future, everlasting life but ever-present, timeless life that rests in the peace of enlightening glory.   It is the life of grace that lives the resurrection, ascension and glorification of Christ by abiding in the Spirit that proceeds from the Father.  It is the life of holiness in which the saints participate by grace when they imbibe the grace of God in Holy Trinity.  Rest in peace is ever-present glory transfiguring everyday life, turning the temporary house of light into a timeless home of uncreated glory.  It is the grace of Great Peace revealing glorious completeness in the midst of temporal incompleteness. 

Saints abide in the peace that passes all understanding, for their rest is not soporific distraction but living wisdom that steadfastly abides in the completeness of glory.  They love wisdom in their incapacity and incompleteness because wisdom opens their heart to what lies beyond them, but is already present in the glory that inspires faith, hope and love.  They live between the ‘times’ of chronological temporality and timeless completeness, holding them in wholesome tension as lived paradox, as transfiguring paradise.   Without peace, opposites are at war, tearing us apart.  With peace, they co-inhere in the glory of timeless completeness.  Genuine turning, metanoia, is far more that a change of religious opinion, just as seeing, theoria, transcends contemplation as conventionally understood.  To turn is to awaken to wisdom and to see is manifold wisdom beholding the manifold glory of the Kingdom come.  Less than this, falls short of the glory that communicates completeness in the midst of incompleteness.

Elders are saints who hand on the wisdom of glory to saints, ensuring the renewal of the tradition of stillness that communicates abiding rest in peace.  Orthodox Hesychast elders transmit wisdom in many different ways because the realms of glory take many different forms.  Wisdom and glory are not subject to determinate, monochrome monotony, because there is infinite difference among divine names and energies.  There are many mysteries of glory, which is why wisdom is truly manifold.  Rest in peace is participation in infinite difference, not dissimilar to angelic difference, because both integrate difference without trace of division.  It is no surprise, therefore, that no two saints are the same, and that monotonous sameness is unheard of in heavenly realms.  Illumination and glorification generate endless variety, just as manifold wisdom discerns unbounded difference in the ways glory manifests.  Rest in peace is delight in infinite difference that never strays from differentiated unity, never falls from indivisible union as it embraces God’s inexhaustible variety, his countless names and qualities.  It is no surprise, therefore, that when wisdom rests in peace, there is no monotony.