Philokalia is love of the beauty of goodness and the goodness of beauty, but in our times nihilism divorces drab goodness from beauty and seductive beauty from goodness, having lost all sense of the beauty of truth or holiness. Separation of goodness from beauty spawns ugliness, whilst division of beauty from goodness spews vacuous glitter. But beauty tempts only when beauty is cut off from glory, as in a fallen world that has forgotten truth and holiness. There is an original wholeness for which beauty and goodness are one, for which beauty is the radiance of glory. When glory reigns, there is no separation between beauty and goodness. When holiness reigns, there is no antagonism between goodness and beauty. There is nothing more beautiful than the beauty of holiness, and the goodness of holiness is always beautiful even when besieged by ugliness. Truth also is good and beautiful, which is why beauty saves when it is the beauty of truth. The Name is both good and beautiful because it saves and illumines all who hallow it, hallowed by it on earth as it is hallowed in heaven. Heavenly beauty crowns angels and saints with uncreated light, enthroning those who hallow the Name with uncreated glory.
Philokalia was the name given to a revered collection of Patristic and Hesychast texts from the fourth to the fourteenth centuries that recognised the beauty of goodness and the goodness of beauty in the holiness of glorified saints. The voice of holiness was heard whenever the beauty of holiness was loved and known, healing all rifts between goodness and beauty. There is still union of goodness and beauty in wisdom, prophecy and prayer, as there is in the radiance of glory in prophets, priests and kings. This hallowing union breaks hardened hearts so that they may begin to open, turn and see. Goodness is truly dazzling in its ineffable beauty just as beauty is wholesome in its inexplicable goodness, when original goodness is beautiful and primordial beauty is glorious. Benighted anguish falls from glory but the grace of timeless well-being restores glory and mends our wounded world. Wisdom makes all things new, disempowering the power of evil powers, restoring glory to God. The doom of freedom lies in the choices we make with regard to the beauty of goodness and the goodness of beauty.
Love of goodness can indeed be very beautiful but not all love of beauty is good. There are many enigmas and ambiguities that cluster around philokalia, some of which are satanic, threatening to invert beauty into ugliness and goodness into evil. The place of grace is perilous because there are many powers that seek to subvert the glory of grace, reducing glory to vainglory. Our very longing for completeness can be subverted into perversions like parodied completeness. Philokalia points us forward to eschatological glory and back to original glory, gathered in the presence of present glory that stands steadfast when parodies pervert, enabling wisdom to acknowledge human incompleteness whilst cleaving to divine completeness. Humble trust heals the benighted anguish of perversion without pretension, sharing the goodness of beauty without reserve. Beauty and goodness need truth to be wholesome in their completeness, just as they call for holiness to be able to embrace their truth. Trust hopes even when there is no hope, just as love loves even when there is no love. Love of Beauty is wholesome and good when hope hopes in the Name of truth, when trust trusts in the Name of holiness, when the Holy Name shines forth with the ineffable wisdom of radiant glory, full of the beauty of holiness and the grace of truth.