Eye of Faith

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The eye of faith trusts the Name to save beyond what visual sight can see but awakens its own kind of seeing, wisdom, that sees the glory of God in Christ.  The eye of faith trusts wisdom that turns awareness round and beholds the glory of grace.  So the eye of faith transcends ordinary sight but sees as wisdom sees, which is God’s insight into the glory of saving grace.   That is why the Apostle Paul preaches the Gospel rather than discuss worldly wisdom with the Greeks, but nonetheless does impart deifying wisdom, because seeing sees with wisdom’s eye of faith, awakening hearts to the uncreated light of glory (1 Cor 2:7).  The eye of faith sees the darkness that covers the face of the deep as dazzling, the Spirit’s hovering over the waters of creation as bewildering illumination, because wisdom sustains astonishing glorification, for the earth that unveils heaven is without form and void, ‘tohu wa-bohu‘ (Gen 1:3).  Jewish Kabbalah taught that formless tohu was divine unity and emptying boho was divine indivisibility, reminding Christian Kabbalah of familiar insights of Christian wisdom that see with the eye of faith, for faith sees the grace of the Name and wisdom discerns the glory of God’s reign.  

What worldly wisdom cannot see, the eye of deifying wisdom sees, as the Apostle saw and imparted to the saints.  To behold the earth, with Jeremiah the Prophet, ‘without form and void’, is to behold the earth as heavenly earth (Jer 4:23), which is to behold imminent destruction with the eye of faith.  Prophecy sees with the eye of faith so that prayer may assimilate glory and make it its own.  The coming reign of glory is already present for faith, which is why saints are transfigured with glory.  The missing link is wisdom, as the Apostle saw, and the Fourth Gospel imparted with its seven signs, its seven ‘I AM’ sayings with predicates and seven without.  Orthodox Hesychast wisdom springs from the wisdom of the Apostles that transmits the divine-human wisdom of Christ to saints, among whom some are elders, handing on Christ’s wisdom to following generations.  Saint Sophrony the Hesychast and his elder, Saint Silouan the Athonite, are recent examples of this transmission, witnesses to the mission of the Holy Spirit in our own times.

Holy elders not only see with the eye of faith but impart faith’s transfiguring wisdom, even though there were sometimes those who thought this wisdom was gnostic and therefore heretical.  Christ was accused of demonic delusion and crucified, so it was no surprise that Christian wisdom was accused of gnosticism and persecuted.  The same mistake was made again and again, whenever divisive ignorance of Christ and Christian wisdom mistook wisdom for heresy, but heretical mistakes do not destroy wisdom or pervert the glory of the Name.  Indeed, martyrdom bears witness to uncreated glory and false accusations refine holiness in the Name into a living flame, purifying the heart.  Genuine Christian wisdom does not crucify the Lord of glory but communicates his wisdom in every generation.  Trial by fire purifies the saints and inspires elders to hand on the insight of the eye of faith in every generation.  Saints differ in the manner of their wisdom, but transmit it nonetheless.  Saint Silouan’s writings communicate divine love that inspired them, inspiring Saint Sophrony to publish them with his own reflections on the Name ‘I AM.’  Both saints communicate Christ to a secular world but point to the insights of the eye of faith in very different ways.  Saints differ in wondrous ways but the wisdom of the eye of faith never wavers.